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How to Quickly Create New Google Documents with a Shortcut or Hotkey

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If you’ve switched over from Microsoft Office to Google Docs, you’ve probably noticed there’s just one problem: creating a new document takes far too many steps. Here’s how to create new documents with single click—or even a shortcut key.

Note: you can use these shortcuts to create Documents, Spreadsheets, and Presentations, but we’ve not yet figured out how to make a shortcut for a new Drawing. If you figure that out, please let us know. Thanks to Ed, we even have the shortcut for a new Drawing.

Create a Windows Shortcut

Start by clicking anywhere on the desktop, and choosing New -> Shortcut from the context menu.

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Now you’ll want to paste in the full URL for creating a new document in Google Docs, Spreadsheets, or Presentations into the Location box, and then give it an appropriate name. If you’re using standard Google Docs, you’ll be using one of the following URLs:

  • http://docs.google.com/?action=newdoc
  • http://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?new
  • http://docs.google.com/?action=new_presentation
  • https://docs.google.com/drawings/create?hl=en

If you’re using Google Apps, you’ll want to use one of these URLs, replacing YOURDOMAIN with the actual name of your domain—you’ll probably notice that these URLs have HTTPS, which you can choose to use, or not.

  • https://docs.google.com/a/YOURDOMAIN.com/?action=newdoc
  • https://spreadsheets.google.com/a/YOURDOMAIN.com/ccc?new
  • https://docs.google.com/a/YOURDOMAIN.com/?action=new_presentation
  • https://docs.google.com/a/YOURDOMAIN.com/drawings/create?hl=en

Make sure that you’ve created the shortcuts that you want, and named them correctly, so we can add some nice icons.

Assign an Appropriate Icon and a Hotkey

To change the shortcut, just right-click on it and use Properties from the context menu, then flip over to the Web Document tab if you’re not already there. From here, you can customize the shortcut key to something that you’d like, and assign a different icon.

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If you want some good icons that match, you can download this set of Google Docs icons from Softpedia, which will make your resulting shortcuts look like this:

It’s important to note that if you want the shortcut keys to work for these shortcuts, you’ll need to either have the shortcut on your desktop or in the Start Menu—the hotkeys just don’t work elsewhere.

Creating a Web Browser Shortcut

If you’re already in your web browser and have Google Docs open, you can just use the drop-down menu to create new shortcuts—but personally I find this quite tedious, especially since I rarely have the Docs screen open already. This means to create new document I’ve got to sign into Docs, and then wait for that page to load, and then click the drop-down menu, and then wait for another page to load.

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Instead of all that, you can simply drag one of the following shortcuts up to your Bookmarks bar—if you’re using regular Google Docs, at least, and not Google Apps.

If you’re using Google Apps, you can create a new bookmark, using one of the URLs from earlier.

If you are using Firefox, you could have entered an alternate keyword as well, to create new documents using the location bar, but Google Chrome users don’t have that option in the bookmarks system. What you’ll have to do instead is right-click on the location bar and go to Edit Search Engines.

From there, you can add in a new “search engine”, but instead, just use the URL to create a new Google Document. This way you can simply enter the keyword into the location bar, and it’ll create a new document.

If you’re wondering why the last screenshot is different… yes, I started writing this article on Windows and then switched over to my MacBook Air so I could watch the football game in the other room.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 11/22/10

Comments (15)

  1. Project Management Tools That Work (Bruce)

    I’d been thinking about this for some time now – thanks for the hint. Great as a browser shortcut.

  2. Bob

    This is great. Thanks! Congrats for getting noticed by Lifehacker.com.

  3. Ed

    Would this work for the drawings? https://docs.google.com/drawings/create?hl=en

  4. The Geek

    @Ed: You are awesome!

  5. Ron

    Another quick way in Chrome:

    open new page (or spreadsheet, etc)
    open “Tools” in Chrome
    choose “Create application shortcuts”
    choose where to place shortcuts (use checkboxes)
    choose “create”

    I pinned mine to the taskbar (Win 7) and it pinned the appropriate icon automatically.

  6. Bjarnovikus

    Very Nice found :)

  7. Bill

    Thank you, it’s just what I needed. To load the most current version of Google docs, try below.
    https://docs.google.com/document/?action=newdoc

    Bill

  8. Bill

    scratch that, didn’t work

  9. Tom

    Ron is on to something. However, if you create the application shortcut as listed above it will create a unique document identifier and therefore will not be a “New” doc each time you try to access it. However, this method is great for pulling down the correct icon for the shortcut and with a little tweak to the properties of the shortcut you can create a “New” doc shortcut. Just add this Chrome\Application\chrome.exe –app=”https://docs.google.com/?action=newdoc” to the last part of the target. It will launch Chrome and start a new doc.

  10. UmaMaheswaran

    Nice. Thanks dude :-)

  11. Ron

    Thanks for the correction, Tom–works great!

    Ron

  12. Tom Murphy

    I’ve added this – http://docs.google.com/?action=newdoc – to my toolbar… but would like it to open in a NEW tab. Ideas how to do that?

    Tom

  13. Christopher

    Somehow “http://docs.google.com/?action=newdoc” uses the old version of docs for me. I’ve come up with: “https://docs0.google.com/document/d/new” and it seems to be working correctly. Using chrome apps with linux.

  14. Tom

    Tom, Don’t know if it is the best way, but if you hold ctrl while clicking on the toolbar link you created, it should open in a new window. Assuming you are using Chrome.

    Tom C

  15. Alexander

    To simply search through the Google Docs from the Chrome omnibar add this URL as a new search engine as described in the article and add an appropriate keyword, such as “docs”: https://docs.google.com/#search/%s

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