How to send a message on Google Docs

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Bernard Perron
@bernardperron
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Google Docs gives teams and colleagues around the world the ability to collaborate on an online project seamlessly and efficiently. Work alone or simultaneously at any time of the day, regardless of time zone.

“That's pretty cool. What about the ability to communicate with each other? Are you subject to just leaving comments? »

It's a way of doing it. Not a very good way though. You can still chat using an app or social media platforms like Slack or Facebook Messenger. They work and most likely everyone has a Facebook account. However, you can skip all that third party, jump around and chat directly in the Google doc.



“Google Docs also has a chat function? »

It does! Open it and start typing. Prefer text-to-speech to the clicking sounds of your keyboard? As long as you have a microphone setup on your PC, a few simple steps are all it takes to get you started.

Read on to find out how you can chat in a Google Doc.

Communicate in Google Docs

Communication within a Google Doc is very easy to achieve without using any external source or application. While simultaneously working with your coworkers, you can open a chat box, type the message, and send it. Anyone currently working in the Doc will receive the same message as the chat function is used for open communication.

To start using the chat feature:

  1. Open the Google Doc in front of you.
  2. You'll also need someone else currently working on the Doc at the same time or the feature won't be there to use. Anonymous viewers will not count as the chat is only available to those whose document was specifically shared.
  3. Located at the top right of the window, click Discuss.
  4. Enter the message you want and press the Send button or just press Enter.
  5. When you no longer need the chat function, click close in the upper right corner of the chat window.

When you close the chat window, you are not yet removed from the chat itself. Messages will always be received as conversations continue. Users currently in the document who do not have their chat window open will have a red dot appear on the Discuss icon. This will tell them that someone sent a message that they haven't read yet. Those with the chat window open will receive messages as they are typed.



Anyone currently logged into Google Doc can see the messages. The only exception is anonymous accounts. They can't see the chat or who is currently in a conversation.

Once you close the Google Doc or sign out of it, they are automatically removed from the chat. If they were to return to the document, all the chats received as well as all the messages sent in their absence will not be visible.

Chats will not be saved and there is no way to export them. If you want to keep an archive of previous chat sessions, you will need to do so by taking screenshots of the chat. For those collaborating via a mobile device, all you need to do is open the file. You can already chat without any additional steps.

Use Speech-to-Text

In Google Docs, all you need is a working microphone and a PC to ditch basic chat for the more hands-free speech-to-text option. You will be able to pause and resume dictation at any time through the use of verbal commands.

Before you start:

  1. Make sure your microphone is set up correctly and is fully operational.
  2. Currently, text-to-speech is only available for PC users and does not work from your mobile device.
  3. The feature works best when your voice is clear, so make sure your work environment is free from unnecessary background noise.

What you need to do to start using text-to-speech:

  1. Open the Google document in the Chrome browser.
  2. In the top menu, click Tools and Voice input…
  3. A microphone box will appear if active. You will need to click on it to allow your microphone to start dictating speech to text.
    • Speak clearly and at a normal pace so that speech is picked up easily and without error.
  4. When finished dictating, click the microphone case again to close it.

If at any point in your speech you feel like you made a mistake or stumbled on your words, you can use the mouse to correct it. Simply move the cursor to where the mistake was made and fix it before turning off the mic.



Once the error has been corrected, to continue dictating, you can return the cursor to where you left off.

Voice commands and punctuation

The use of voice commands is only available in English. Account language and Google Doc language must also be set to English, otherwise it won't work. To see a full list of all available commands, you can visit the official Help Center article page or say “voice command help” into your microphone while voice typing.


The commands available to you can help you edit and format the Google document when using text-to-speech. You can also pronounce the punctuation to place it in the correct place. A list of punctuation marks and commands that can be used:

  • Period
  • Comma
  • Exclamation point
  • Interrogation point
  • New line
  • New paragraph

Unable to use chat function

You and another user are both in the Google doc and trying to communicate, but for some reason the Chat icon cannot be found. This can be due to different reasons:

  • Starting with the most unlikely possibility that you are underage. Yes, you read that right. If you are currently under the age of thirteen (detectable through your Google Gmail account profile), the chat feature is automatically disabled.
  • As stated above, anonymous users cannot view or participate in discussion on Google Docs. You may not be logged in to your Gmail account (or the wrong one) or you may have been removed from the project. Check the first one out before you go crazy over the owner of the Doc for booting you off without warning.
  • An administrator can disable chat functionality if you currently work with G Suite. Will have to take it with whoever manages your system security at work to activate it. It's also possible to be invited to view a document by someone who is currently using G Suite when their administrator has also disabled chat.
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