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Google Docs is well-known for being a comprehensive text editor, but it also provides some basic, built-in drawing tools that allow users to create basic designs in their documents and give them that special touch.

Note: Google Docs’ drawing capabilities aren’t available for the iOS or Android Google Docs app. You can view drawings in the app, but to create them, you’ll need to use the desktop browser.

How to Draw on a Google Doc

Accessing Google Docs’ drawing feature isn’t as obvious as, say, Microsoft PowerPoint’s, which has all of the drawing tools in the ribbon. To access Google Doc’s drawing tools, click “Insert” on the menu bar, hover your cursor over “Drawing” in the drop-down menu, and then click “New” in the sub-menu.

Once selected, the Drawing window will appear. The drawing tools are found in the menu bar, which include, from left to right:

  • Actions: Displays a menu with different actions, such as downloading the image, showing version history, copying, pasting, and rotating the image, and inserting Word Art.
  • Undo (curved arrow pointing left): Undo the most recent action.
  • Redo (curved arrow pointing right): Redo the most recently undone action.
  • Zoom (magnifying glass): Zoom in or out on your drawing. You can insert a ruler or guidelines from the drop-down menu.
  • Select (cursor): Select a shape in your drawing.
  • Lines (slanting line): Choose between several different line styles to draw.
  • Shape (circle overlapping a square): Allows you to insert several premade shapes, including arrows, callouts, and equation symbols.
  • Text box (box with a “T” inside): Insert a text box to add text to your drawing.
  • Image (box with a mountain inside): Insert an image from your computer or Google Drive, or search for one on the internet.

The drawing tools in the Drawing menu.

The process for using the drawing tools is more or less the same. Select which tool you’d like to use, and then click and drag your cursor across the drawing board to create your shape or image. The following video demonstrates how to use the Lines, Shape, and Text tools, as well as rotate a shape from the Actions tool.

When you want to insert an image, you’ll need to choose which location to pull the image from. Google Docs lets you use an image from your local machine:

Select a photo from your local device.

From Google Drive:

Select a photo from Google Drive.

Or from the built-in Google Search feature:

Select a photo from the built-in search engine.

The selected photo will appear on the drawing board.

Depending on what you insert into the drawing, different formating tools will appear. For example, if you insert a text box, several text formatting tools will appear which allow you to bold, italicize, underline, change or resize the font, and so on.

Text formatting tools in the menu bar.

Similarly, by adding shapes or lines, you can adjust the color, weight, and dashes, as well as depict the start and endpoints of the lines. To draw a line or shape, select it from the menu bar and then click and drag your cursor on the drawing screen.

Line formatting tools.

Once you’ve created your drawing, you can insert it into your Google Docs document. To do so, click the blue “Save and Close” button in the top-right corner of the Drawing screen.

Save and Close button.

The drawing will appear in your Google Docs document in the location of your cursor.

The drawing in Google Docs.

That’s all there is to it. The drawing tools are pretty basic in Google Docs. If you find yourself needing a tool that Docs doesn’t provide, consider using a Microsoft app, such as Word or even OneNote, instead.

RELATED: How to Draw in Microsoft OneNote

Profile Photo for Marshall Gunnell Marshall Gunnell
Marshall is a writer with experience in the data storage industry. He worked at Synology, and most recently as CMO and technical staff writer at StorageReview. He's currently an API/Software Technical Writer based in Tokyo, Japan, runs VGKAMI and ITEnterpriser, and spends what little free time he has learning Japanese.
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