How to Change the Formatting for a Google Document and set it as Default

If you are working on Google Docs, there are chances that you would want to change the formatting of the document. By default, the settings for Google Documents are set at Arial as the Font and 11 pt as the Font Size. Sometimes people would require other fonts or font sizes which they would also want to apply as a setting for the rest of their work on Google Docs as well. You can change the default settings to your preferred settings so that whenever you open Google Docs the next time, the formatting does not need to get adjusted. This will help many people save so much time, which they otherwise would have to spend on formatting every document according to their desired formatting.

Follow the steps as mentioned below to set your preferred formatting as the default formatting on Google Docs.

  1. Sign in to your Gmail account and open Google Docs by clicking on the Grid-like icon as shown in the image below, and scroll down the dropdown list, and find Google Docs Blue colored tab here, which is highlighted by the arrow in the image below.
    Open Google Docs from your Gmail Account
  2. You can either open an already existing file on Google Docs or start making one from scratch. Either way, all you need to set formatting as default is a line long sentence. This is the sentence you will select on your document.
    Start writing a document. Or, you can open an already existing file on Google Docs
    Select the first line or any line on the document to format.
  3. Once you have selected a sentence, you need to change the formatting for this line. Change the font, the font size, the color, and the paragraph spacing. The format you want to see on the entire document, you need to edit this one line with that. Use the toolbar that is visible on the top of the screen where you can see all these settings as mentioned.
    Basic formatting for font, font size, font color
  4. Once you have edited the line, un-select the line, you can notice the change in the formatting for this one line and compare it with the rest of the document.
    The formatting for the line you selected has been changed
  5. Now, to implement all of the editings you made to this line, as the format for the whole document, you need to keep this line selected. Once it is selected, you should click on the tab for ‘Format’, which is on the top toolbar for Google Docs. A dropdown list will appear with various options for formatting.
    On the top toolbar, click on Format, Paragraph Style
  6. Bring your cursor to the tab that says ‘Paragraph style’. This will open another extended list of options. From which you need to bring the cursor on ‘Normal Text’.
    ‘Update normal text to match’, this will implement the formatting for this one line on the whole document

    To implement the formatting you did for the selected line on Google Docs, then you need to click on the option that says ‘Update normal text to match’. This will make the ‘normal texts’ formatting according to the changes that you made. And now, the entire document will look something like this.

    This is how the document will now look like. But this setting is only for this current document that is open.
  7. For making this format, as the default settings for your Google Documents, so that you don’t have to change the settings every time, you need to go back to Format and then Paragraph styles. On this dropdown list, at the end of the list, you will notice the tab for ‘options’. The minute you bring the cursor on ‘options’, you will find a tab for ‘Save as my default styles’. This will make the current settings that you made as the default formatting for all the documents that you will make on Google Docs from now onwards.
    To make the formatting default, that is, making the document as per your preferred formatting

    A notification bubble will also appear at the top of the document, which will say ‘Your default style has been saved.’

    Once the formatting has been set as default, Google will show you a message, confirming the changes that you just made.

    You can double check this, by opening another document on Google Docs and typing on this document. Now, the document will be in the formatting as you wanted.

    To recheck, you can always open a new document, and start typing. Notice that the settings you made on the previous document are now visible on this document as well.

This is a very helpful tool in saving time for people who do not want to waste so much time on formatting every document. This will be an easier tool to format a document by default.


Habiba Rehman

Major love for reading, but writing is what keeps me going. Dream to publish my own novels someday.