Google Workspace users can now enable a feature in Docs that will let them write in basic Markdown syntax instead of using keyboard shortcuts.
“In Google Docs, you can now select ‘Automatically detect Markdown’ from Tools > Preferences to enable auto-correcting for Markdown syntax, a lightweight markup language for applying formatting using plain text,” a new post to the Google Workspace Updates blog notes. “Currently, Google Docs supports some Markdown syntax.”
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That syntax is, as noted basic. Once you enable this feature, you can use Markdown tags—instead of keyboard shortcuts–for things like headings, italic and bold formatting, strikethrough, links, bulleted and numbered lists, and checkboxes. Or, as Google puts it, “you can create rich text documents faster without having to learn keyboard shortcuts.”
Which, sure. But you will still have to learn Markdown syntax. It’s just another way to do the same thing.
Here’s an example. In Google Docs, as in every rich text editor on earth, you can use the Ctrl + B keyboard shortcut to apply the bold style to selected or coming text. In Markdown, you place two “*” characters in front of and behind the text you wish to bold. So now, if you use that syntax in Google Docs, it will change the text **this is bold** to this is bold.
This new feature is off by default, and there is no administration control, Google adds. And yes, it’s available to non-Workspace (Gmail) users too.