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If you’re working on a Google Docs document with others, then you don’t need to rely on a third-party service to communicate. While you could add comments, another way to send messages is to use the built-in editor chat.

You can also use this feature in other Google products, including Google Sheets and Google Slides. The steps below will work across all three services.

RELATED: How to Add Comments in Google Docs

As the name suggests, editor chat can only be accessed by other Google Docs users if they’re able to edit the document. If they can only view the document, they won’t be able to access this built-in chat system.

When two or more editors are editing a document, you’ll be able to see their profile icons in the top-right corner, next to the “Share” button. To the profile icons is the “Show Chat” icon—you’ll need to tap this to open the editor chat panel.

In an open Google Docs document with multiple active editors, press the "Show Chat" icon in the top-right corner.

Clicking the button will bring up the editor chat as a panel on the right. The panel allows for real-time communication between editors.

To begin chatting, type a message in the “Type Here To Chat” box at the bottom of the panel, and hit “Enter.”

To send a message in the Google Docs editor chat, type a message in the box at the bottom of the panel, then hit enter.

The message will be sent to other active editors in the chat. If they don’t have the editor chat panel open, a notification pop-up will appear below the “Show Chat” icon in the top-right corner.

A new editor chat message notification pop-up in Google Docs

In the editor-chat panel, user messages are linked to their full account names. When an editor leaves the chat or reenters it (by closing the document then returning to edit it later, for instance), a notification will appear in the chat panel.

Example notifications in the Google Docs editor chat, showing an editor closing and re-opening a document.

Messages in the editor chat are stored locally. If you decide to close the document and return to it later, the editor chat will be empty. You can prevent this by keeping the Google Docs document open. The chat messages will remain saved until you close or refresh the page.

If you want to stop chatting and close the panel, press the “X” icon in the top-right corner.

To close the Google Docs editor chat, press the cross icon in the top-right corner.

This will close the panel, although you’ll remain active in the chat until you close the document.


While the editor chat is for communication between editors, you might prefer to ignore messages entirely. If you decide to ignore any messages, don’t worry—there are no read receipts using this system, so other editors won’t know when (or if) you’ve viewed a message.

Ben Stockton Ben Stockton
Ben Stockton is a freelance tech writer from the United Kingdom. In a past life, he was a UK college lecturer, training teens and adults. Since leaving the classroom, he's been a tech writer, writing how-to articles and tutorials for MakeUseOf, MakeTechEasier, and Cloudwards.net. He has a degree in History and a postgraduate qualification in Computing.
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