Google updates Docs with merge cells

The search giant has addressed a small but, for some, annoying limitation in Google Docs.

Google has fixed a limitation in Google Docs that meant there was no simple way of merging cells within a document.

Until now, users could insert a table into a Google Docs document, but after doing so, there was no way to natively merge cells.

As some have discovered, the workaround involved merging cells in Drawing and pasting the result into a document. The catch, as one teacher noted recently, was that after pasting the Drawing, the cell wasn't editable — which wasn't useful for collaboration with students, or other users. Regardless of this, the workaround meant unnecessary extra work for a feature that has been available in Sheets for some time.

As Google announced today on its Google+ Drive account: "In Docs, you can already customise tables with different colors and line thicknesses, and now you can also merge cells together to get your table just right."

To lighten up the message a little, Google created a merged cell gif, inspired by the Dutch artist Piet Mondrian, showcasing all the new features updated today.

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Image: Google

To merge cells, the user simply highlights the cells they want to merge and then, under the Table tab, selects Merge cells. Alternatively, a right click on Windows will bring up the option.

The other feature update for Docs includes the ability to customise images inside the document, for example by recolouring them, or changing the transparency and brightness.

The update rounds out a number of new features and appearance changes Google has introduced to its Drive apps this year, including the recent Material Design update, which introduced the new Plus icon to create a new document and editing Office files with a new Chrome extension. The other tool it's recently released to bridge the gap between Drive documents and desktop software such as Adobe is a new Chrome extension enabling the user to open files from Drive directly into the compatible desktop software package.

Read more on Google Docs

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