How to make text display larger in Google Docs

You don't have to adjust the font size to make a Google Doc fill up more of your screen in Chrome or in Google Docs mobile apps.

How to make text display larger in Google Docs

When you create a new Google Doc--either in a browser or in a Google Docs mobile app--the default font size and font are 11 and Arial, respectively. The default size typically produces lines that are relatively readable, with between 80 and 100 characters per line. Arial, the default font, remains widely used for both digital displays and printed pages.

With just a few tweaks, you can make the text display larger, without any adjustment to the actual font size. The following adjustments will make your document look larger in Google Docs in Chrome on the web, as well as in the Google Docs apps on iOS (on both iPhone and iPad) or Android. 

Note: The following changes only affect how text displays in Google Docs. For other adjustments you might make that affect overall system appearance and display settings, check out How to adjust your settings to make your screen easier to read.

SEE: G Suite: Tips and tricks for business professionals (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

How to display larger text in Google Docs in desktop Chrome

By default, a new Google Doc displays at 100% zoom in Chrome. On most systems, with the browser maximized, this leaves relatively large margins. Change the zoom setting with the drop-down menu from 100% to Fit. The page resizes to fit the width of your browser (Figure A).

Figure A

Inset of Zoom menu; Right: Screenshot after adjusted to Fit option

With your Chrome browser window maximized, modify the Google Doc zoom setting from 100% to Fit. On most systems and in most cases, this will significantly increase the displayed size of text.

You might also consider two additional tweaks to display more lines of text. First, select View | Full Screen to hide the Google Doc's document name, menu items, and formatting icons (Figure B). 

Figure B

Inset: View > Full screen menu. Right: Screenshot with Doc name, menu, and format bar not displayed.

Choose View | Full screen to hide the Google Doc name, menus, and formatting bar.

You'll still see browser tabs and your system taskbar. A message, such as "Press Esc to show controls," will display in the top-middle of the screen to indicate how to re-display the Google Docs controls.

Next, in Chrome, select the three vertical dots menu in the upper right, then select the full-screen icon, which is indicated by the icon with four corner-indicators, to the right of the word Zoom (Figure C). 

Figure C

Inset: Three-vertical dot menu ("More") with full screen setting; Right: Screenshot of full screen Google Doc

Select the vertical three-dots menu, then the four corner-indicators icon to make Chrome full-screen. This hides system elements, as well as Chrome tabs and other elements, to maximize the number of lines in a Google Doc displayed on screen.

This adjustment hides browser tabs and system items, such as the system tray or taskbar. Again, a message will display that tells you how to exit this display mode. For example, on a Windows system "Press F11 to exit full screen" appears near the top of the screen.

How to display larger text in Google Docs mobile apps

In the Google Docs app on both Android and iOS, text either wraps lines as it does in a browser or reflows with a bit of margin on both the right and left side.

To make text display larger in Google Docs on Android or iOS, use pinch to zoom: Place two fingers on the screen close together, then separate them as you might do to zoom in on Google Maps. If you're in edit mode, you may edit text while the document is in this zoomed-in state. The focus of the screen will move to display text while you type and edit. To return the document display to the default size, reverse the process with a two-finger pinch-in. 

Optionally, you also might turn your device to landscape orientation and use an external keyboard to maximize the text displayed.

How to change the normal text style in Google Docs on the web

You also may change the default font and font size in Google Docs on the web. For example, you could adjust the default font size to 14 instead of 11 if you want text in every new document to be larger by default. 

  1. Select some text. 
  2. Change the font size (and/or font, if you like) to your desired default.
  3. In the format bar, select the arrow next to Normal Text, then place your cursor over Normal Text and choose the Update Normal Text To Match option (Figure D).

Figure D

    Screenshot of the menu selection describe in caption.

    After selecting some text, choose the drop-down menu to the right of Normal Text, and then Normal Text | Update Normal Text To Match.

Finally, choose Format | Paragraph Styles | Options | Save As My Default Styles (Figure E).

Figure E

    Screenshot that shows menus open as described in caption text.

    To make your current format options the default, choose Format | Paragraph Styles | Options | Save As My Default Styles.

Now, when you create a new Google Doc, the default font and size will display the font and size you selected and saved.

Your practice?

What zoom level do you typically choose when you create a new Google Doc in Chrome? Do you use the pinch-to-zoom feature in the Google Docs app on mobile devices at all? If so, what do you think of the feature? Let me know what you think—either in the comments below or on Twitter (@awolber).

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