How to use the new Google Docs Pageless feature (and why you might want to)





Google is never one to sit back and watch the competition zoom by. With that in mind, the company is always experimenting with new features to push its products ahead of the competition. It also realizes that many modern use cases do not hold tight to old-school methods and needs. Case in point is the new Pageless feature found in Google Docs.

Think about it this way: Modern documents don’t always need to conform to the tried-and-true structure that has been a part of content creation for decades. Because so much of what we do is now online and in the cloud, we don’t have to worry so much about documents being broken into pages. Even more to the point, we are always adding new elements to documents that sometimes need to break free of the boundaries placed on them by conventional documents. 

For example, you might insert a table or an image into a document that’s wider than the typical margins. When you do that, things can get a bit wonky and you might find yourself struggling to get things to be presentable.

That’s precisely why Google added the Pageless layout to Google Docs, as it allows you to break free of the standard constraints and add the elements you need exactly as you need them.

The Pageless layout was announced over a year ago and is only just now making its way into Google Docs. With Pageless you can make use of every bit of space available to a document (instead of dealing with margins). In simplest terms, it just gives you more room in your documents. It’s also a much cleaner (more modern) way of approaching documents. 

So, how do you make use of the new layout? Let me show you.

Requirements

The only thing you need to use Pageless layout is a Google account. That’s it. Let’s see how this works.

Enabling the Pageless layout

The process for enabling the Pageless layout is very simple. Open a new (or existing) document in Google Docs (or from Google Drive) and click File > Page setup. In the resulting pop-up (Figure 1), click the Pageless tab.

The Google Docs document Page Setup window.

The Page Setup pop-up window for Google Docs.

Image: Jack Wallen

In the Pageless tab (Figure 2), you can set a background color for the document (or leave it as the default white) and click OK.

The Pageless layout option in the Page Setup popup window.

The Pageless setup offers only a single configuration option to change the background color of the document.

Image: Jack Wallen

When you click OK, the document will switch to the Pageless layout (Figure 3).

A sample document using the Pageless layout.

The Pageless layout for a Google Docs document.

Image: Jack Wallen

You’ll immediately notice your margins for text remain the same. However, if you add a very wide table, you’ll find it extends beyond the text margins (Figure 4).

A sample of a wide table inserted into a Pageless Google Document.

A wide table was added to a Pageless document in Google Docs.

Image: Jack Wallen

And that’s the gist of the new Google Docs Pageless layout. Although this might not be perfect for every use case, you will find some types of documents that will greatly benefit from the new layout. 

Give Pageless a try and see if it doesn’t become your de facto standard layout for Google Docs.

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