How to change google docs default format settings

Use existing content as a template for changes to default settings

How to change google docs default format settings

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What to Know

  • Format the text how you like it, highlight the text, then go to Format >Paragraph styles >Normal text >Update “Normal text” to match.
  • Save your new default settings: Select Format >Paragraph styles >Options >Save as my default styles.
  • Reset to the Google Docs original styles: Select Format >Paragraph styles >Options >Reset styles.

This article explains how to change the default settings in Google Docs for formatting. Instructions apply to the desktop version of Google Docs.

Changing Default Formatting in Google Docs

After you change the defaults, all documents you create thereafter will reflect these settings. You can still change the formatting of any individual element within a document, of course, but the default format provides a consistent starting point.

To change the default settings for Normal text in Google Docs, follow these steps:

Open a document.

Highlight the text you want to change.

How to change google docs default format settings

In the bar above the text, select the font, font size, paragraph spacing, text color, background color, or any other aspect you’d like to change.

Select Format.

How to change google docs default format settings

Select Paragraph styles.

Click Normal text.

Choose UpdateNormal text” to match.

How to change google docs default format settings

Click Format.

Click Paragraph styles > Options > Save as my default styles.

How to change google docs default format settings

You also can change the default format settings for other elements such as headings, titles, borders, and shading using the same process.

Instead of choosing Format > Paragraph styles, select the formatting option you’d like to set in place of paragraph styles. Update the style to match the selected text and save as your default styles, and these styles will be applied to every document you create from now on.

If you’d like to reset to Google Docs’ original styles, select Format > Paragraph styles > Options > Reset styles.

Why Change the Default Formatting in Google Docs?

When you create a document in Google Docs, the default settings such as font style, line spacing, and background color are applied automatically to the document.

Changing any of these elements for part or all of your document on a case-by-case basis is easy enough—but if you consistently use the same settings across most or all of your Google docs, you can save yourself a lot of time and trouble by changing the default document settings.

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. How to change google docs default format settingsOpen 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. How to change google docs default format settingsStart writing a document. Or, you can open an already existing file on Google Docs How to change google docs default format settingsSelect 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. How to change google docs default format settingsThe 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. How to change google docs default format settingsOn 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’. How to change google docs default format settings‘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.

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

How to change google docs default format settingsOnce 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.

How to change google docs default format settingsTo 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.

Word processing applications like Microsoft Word and Google Docs include a handful of options that are set as default. This includes a default paper size which, in most cases, will be either Letter or A4, depending on your geographic location. But if you want to change paper size in Google Docs then you may be wondering how to locate that setting.

When you create a new document in Google Docs, it uses the default settings for the application. In many cases, this means that the default paper size will be the Letter paper size. But not every document that you create will require that specific page size, so you may find yourself looking for a way to change it to Legal, or some other size.

Google Docs provides you with a way to change the page size, along with several other document attributes. Our guide below will show you where to find and change the paper size setting in Google Docs if your current document requires something other than the currently selected page size.

How to Change Paper Size – Google Docs

  1. Open your document.
  2. Click File.
  3. Choose Page setup.
  4. Click Paper size and select the desired paper type.
  5. Click OK.

Our article continues below with additional information on changing the paper size in Google Docs, including pictures of these steps.

How to Use a Different Paper Size in Google Docs (Guide with Pictures)

The steps in this article were performed in the Google Chrome Web browser. These steps should also work in other Web browsers as well.

Step 1: Go to your Google Drive at https://drive.google.com/drive/my-drive and open the document for which you would like to change the paper size.

Step 2: Click the File tab at the top of the window.

How to change google docs default format settings

Step 3: Select the Page setup option near the bottom of the menu.

How to change google docs default format settings

Step 4: Click the Paper size dropdown menu then choose the paper size that you want to use. Click the blue OK button when finished to save your changes.

How to change google docs default format settings

When you click the File tab at the top of the window and select the Page setup option, you will note that there are some other options on that menu which you might wish to use to adjust your document settings. This includes things like the margins, page color, and page orientation. You can even click the Set as default button before you click the OK button if you would like future new documents to use the settings that you have selected.

Would you like to include the total number of pages in your header along with your page numbers? Learn how to add a page count in Google Docs and provide your readers with additional information about the size of your document.

Additional Sources

How to change google docs default format settings

Matthew Burleigh has been writing tech tutorials since 2008. His writing has appeared on dozens of different websites and been read over 50 million times.

After receiving his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Computer Science he spent several years working in IT management for small businesses. However, he now works full time writing content online and creating websites.

His main writing topics include iPhones, Microsoft Office, Google Apps, Android, and Photoshop, but he has also written about many other tech topics as well.

While Google Docs is growing in popularity, you may still need to work with Microsoft Word. Fortunately Google Docs can save as DOCX. Use these steps to save a Google Docs file in the .docx file format.

  1. Open your Google Docs file.
  2. Click the File tab at the top-left.
  3. Choose Download, then Microsoft Word (.docx).

Our guide below continues with more information and pictures for these steps.

Google Docs is great for online collaboration because you can easily share a file with other Google users and edit the document together.

But you may need to submit the file for work or school in a specific file format, such as .docx.

The .docx file format is the default one used by newer versions of Microsoft Word. If you have a .docx file you can open and edit it in Microsoft Word.

Because Google Docs uses its own proprietary online format, you aren’t able to open the original file in Microsoft Word. However, you can easily download the Google Docs file in the .docx file format so that it is compatible with Word.

How to Save a Google Docs File as a DOCX File

The steps in this article were performed in the desktop version of the Google Chrome Web browser, but will also work in other desktop browsers like Firefox or Edge.

Step 1: Sign into Google Drive and open your Google Doc.

Step 2: Select the File tab at the top-left of the window.

How to change google docs default format settings

Step 3: Choose the Download option, then click the Microsoft Word (.docx) file type.

How to change google docs default format settings

Depending on your browser settings, you may then be prompted to choose a file location. If not, then .docx version of the Google Doc will download to your default Downloads folder.

You will still have the original Google Docs file in your Google Drive. This method simply creates a copy of the file in the Microsoft Word file format.

See also

  • How to change margins in Google Docs
  • How to add strikethrough in Google Docs
  • How to add a row to a table in Google Docs
  • How to insert a horizontal line in Google Docs
  • How to change to landscape orientation in Google Docs

How to change google docs default format settings

Matthew Burleigh has been writing tech tutorials since 2008. His writing has appeared on dozens of different websites and been read over 50 million times.

After receiving his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Computer Science he spent several years working in IT management for small businesses. However, he now works full time writing content online and creating websites.

His main writing topics include iPhones, Microsoft Office, Google Apps, Android, and Photoshop, but he has also written about many other tech topics as well.

How to change google docs default format settings

Google Docs uses a standard font when you create a document. If you aren’t happy with its appearance, here’s how you can change the default font instead of manually adjusting it each time.

Fire up your browser, open a Google Docs file, and then change the font. Click the drop-down box and make sure the Style is set to “Normal Text,” as well. This refers to the main text style (excluding titles or headings) used throughout your document.

How to change google docs default format settings

Note: Certain formatting can also be applied to the default font, such as size, bold, underline, color, and highlight color.

Type out a few words or lines in the font of your choice, and then highlight them with your mouse.

How to change google docs default format settings

Next, click Format > Paragraph Styles > Normal Text, and then select “Update ‘Normal Text’ to Match.”

How to change google docs default format settings

Before you save your changes to Normal Text, you can change the default font for titles and headings, as well.

To do so, select one of the options from the drop-down menu, and then begin to type in the font you want. We’ve chosen “Title” for this part, but you can change any of the options listed below.

How to change google docs default format settings

Then, just as before, head to Format > Paragraph Styles > Title, and then click “Update ‘Title’ to Match.”

How to change google docs default format settings

To save this as the default style every time you open a new document, click Format > Paragraph Styles > Options, and then click “Save as My Default Styles.”

How to change google docs default format settings

If you ever want to reset the font back to the original defaults, go to Format > Paragraph Styles > Options, and then click “Reset Styles” to revert them.

How to change google docs default format settings

That’s it! Next time you open a new document and type, your text will be in your chosen font by default.

Google Docs is one of the most widely-used word processing applications on the internet. It offers a range of features, is incredibly simple to use, and is completely free.

If you’re a heavy user of Google Docs, you’re probably well aware that the default font in Google Docs is Arial. It’s also set at size 11 and has a line spacing of 1.15.

Arial is good for most of the professional use-cases that Google Docs is typically used for – like drafting letters, making lists of things, or creating guideline documents. But for some use-cases, Arial might not be the best font to go with, as it can be a bit too drab and ordinary-looking.

How to change google docs default format settings

Google Docs, like any typical word processor, allows you to easily change the font while working on your document. But if you plan to use a different font multiple times, it can get cumbersome changing the font every time you open a new document.

Hence, it makes sense to change the default font in Google Docs once, to suit your liking and save precious time. You can always play around with different default font styles once you know how to do it.

Table of Contents

Top Reasons to Change the Default Font in Google Docs

There are several reasons why you might need or want to change the default font in Google Docs, such as:

  • Standardization: Your organization might require you to use a particular font style for all documents for standardization purposes.
  • Branding: For sharing Google Docs documents with others outside the organization, you need to make sure that you use a font that matches your organization’s branding.
  • Personal touch: Changing the default font gives all your Google Docs documents a ‘personal touch’. Moreover, Google offers so many fonts that are great-looking and free to use.
  • Stand out: Not many people change the font when they use Google Docs, so you can stand out among the crowd if you use a different font. This becomes especially important for job applications – you can get noticed by creating an out-of-the-ordinary resume.

So, interested to know how to change the default font in Google Docs? Follow this simple step-by-step guide.

How to Change Default Font in Google Docs: Step-by-Step Guide

Step 1. Open a Google Docs document (You can also use a document that you’ve already created).

Quick Tip: If you want to open a new Google Docs document, just open a new tab in your browser and type ‘docs.new’ in the address bar, and hit ‘Enter’.

How to change google docs default format settings

As seen, this Google Doc has the default font set as Arial, with size 11, and line spacing 1.15.

Step 2. Select the text and set the font format and style that you want. You can change the font, font size, and line spacing, and many more.

(Note: If you’re opening a new Google Docs document, just set the font style on the empty text).

How to change google docs default format settings

In the above example, the font has been changed to Merriweather, with font size as 12, and line spacing as 1.5.

Step 3. Select a few lines of text in the new style by dragging it with the cursor.

How to change google docs default format settings

Step 4. Click on ‘Format’ → ‘Paragraph Styles’ → ‘Normal Text’. Select ‘Update Normal Text to Match’.

How to change google docs default format settings

Step 5. Click on ‘Format’ → ‘Paragraph Styles’ → ‘Options’. Select ‘Save As My Default Styles’.

How to change google docs default format settings

That’s it, your new font settings have been set as default. From now on, whenever you open a new Google Docs document, it will automatically contain the new style that you set.

Try it out. Open a new document:

How to change google docs default format settings

. And you’ll see that your new font settings will be the default.

How to change google docs default format settings

FAQs: How to Change the Default Font in Google Docs

How to reset the default font on Google Docs?

If you want to reset the default font to the Google Docs original font, follow these steps:

Step 1. Open a new or existing Google Docs document.

Step 2. Click on ‘Format’ → ‘Paragraph Styles’ → ‘Options’ → ‘Reset styles’.

How to change google docs default format settings

You should receive a confirmation box stating that the default style for that document has been reset.

How to change google docs default format settings

Step 3. Next, just follow Step 5 of the previous section. I.e., Click on ‘Format’ → ‘Paragraph Styles’ → ‘Options’. Select ‘Save As My Default Styles’.

How to change google docs default format settings

The default font style and settings have now been reset to the Google Docs original.

Is it possible to change the default font in Google Docs mobile version?

Unfortunately, it is not possible to change the default font in the mobile app versions (iOS/ Android) of Google Docs. It is only possible to change in via the web-based app on PC.

However, your chosen default font will load even on the mobile version of Google Docs.

I use Google Docs for typing up a lot of work, and I like to type it up in Garamond. However when I add line-breaks sometimes Google Docs decides to revert to Arial 11pt (the default style for a new document, but not used anywhere in mine). Is there a way to stop it doing this?

How to change google docs default format settings

3 Answers 3

Seems to be possible now (4th September 2012, 13:50 GMT-6):

Open a new document or an existing document,

Type some text (or select some existing text).

Change the size, style, and font to what you want.

Open the Format menu.

Point at “Paragraph styles”, then at “Normal Text”.

Select “Update ‘Normal Text’ to match”.

Future new documents should then default to your settings for ‘Normal Text’. Note you may also have to update the style settings for ‘Title’, ‘Subtitle’, and headings one through six, if you want them to match.

You may also be able to change default styling from the toolbar, by selecting some text, clicking where it says the name of the current style (usually ‘Normal Text’), pointing at “Options”, then clicking “Save as my default styles”.

Not currently possible in the new Google Docs interface.

You can still, however, use the old Google Docs interface, where you can set a default font.

  1. Create a document in the old docs interface: https://docs.google.com/?action=newdoc
  2. Open the Format menu
  3. Select Document Settings.
  4. Set the font etc. the way you want
  5. Check “Make these the default styles for all new documents”
  6. Click OK

I don’t know for sure if this will carry over to the new Google Docs interface. This feature is something they’re apparently looking to re-add (relatively) soon.

We all have a ‘favorite’ font. Most of us like to use a particular ‘special’ font in every document, spreadsheet, and report.

For example, I’m personally fond of the ‘Georgia’ font, and when in a lighter mood, I like to use ‘Comic Sans’ font (yes, I know a lot of people find it cheesy but I like it).

Most word processors and spreadsheet software come with their own default fonts. Most of the time it is either the ‘Arial’ or ‘Calibri’ font. Every time you create a new document, the default font is selected, until you change it.

Of course, you do have the option to change the font to whatever you like, but for practical reasons, you might want to have a preferred font pre-selected every time you open a Google Sheet.

In this tutorial, I will show you two ways to change the default font in Google Sheets.

Table of Contents

Why Change the Default Font in Google Sheets?

Here are some reasons why you might need to or want to change the default font in Google Sheets:

  • You might not like the appearance of the default ‘Arial’ font.
  • Your company might use a particular font as part of its branding.
  • There may be requirements of a particular format or layout for all the documents in your company.
  • You might like to give all your documents and spreadsheets a personalized touch with your own signature font.
  • You might want your documents and sheets to stand out from others.
  • Sometimes changing the default font may help inspire in you a renewed sense of motivation!

Changing the default font helps get your work done quickly so that you don’t have to select your preferred font every time you open a document.

Two ways to Change the Default Font In Google Sheets

If you select the Font option from the Google Sheets toolbar, you will find that the ‘Arial’ font is selected as the default font in Google Sheets.

How to change google docs default format settings

This will become clearer below… keep reading!

There are two ways in which you can change the default font in Google Sheets:

  • By using Custom Theme settings
  • By using a template spreadsheet

Method 1: Using Custom Theme Settings

Themes are a new addition to the Google Sheets tools. It was provided to help users create their own settings and customize the look and feel of their spreadsheet.

And this means that you can create your own theme with your own default font in Google Sheets. So the next time you use this theme, the font would be what you want it to be.

Below are the steps to create your custom theme and set the default font:

  1. Fire up your browser and open a new Google Spreadsheet.
  2. Click on the ‘Format’ option in the menu.
  3. Select ‘Theme’ from the sub-menu. This will open the ‘Themes’ side panel in the right where you can see the Themes box. In this box, you will see previews for each Theme, that you can quickly select and edit.How to change google docs default format settings
  4. Since we want to customize our own them, click on any theme (except the default ‘Sheets Classic’ theme) and then click on the ‘Customize’ button.
  5. You can see options to change the font, text color, chart settings, etc. Select the font that you want to use as your default from the drop-down. In this example, I’ve chosen the ‘Georgia’ font.How to change google docs default format settings
  6. Click on ‘Done’.How to change google docs default format settings

If you check the font tool now, you will find your chosen font as the selected default.

  1. Save this spreadsheet with the name ‘My Custom Theme’. This theme will have all your customized fonts, colors, styles, and other settings.
  2. Every time you need to use this layout, simply:
    • Open the file ‘My Custom Theme’
    • Make a copy of the file with a new name and use it as any regular Google Sheet.

You will find the default font set to your favorite one!

Method 2: Using a Template Spreadsheet

Templates let you create pre-formatted spreadsheets that you can re-use for creating new sheets. You can create templates with your choice of background colors, fonts, formulae, etc. for different purposes. For example, you can create a template for your budgets, one for your schedules, one for monthly sales, etc.

Every time you need to create your budget for a new month, you can simply open your budget template and enter new data into it, without having to bother about formatting.

Creating a font template is a great way to have a spreadsheet ready with your default font settings. It will add the same settings to new cells that you add to your sheet.

  1. Open a new Google Spreadsheet.
  2. Select all rows and columns by pressing Ctrl+A on your keyboard or selecting the gray square on the top left corner.
  3. Set the font, text color and size to one that you want to use as your default. I’ve chosen the ‘Georgia’ font.
  4. Save this spreadsheet with the name ‘My Font Template’.

Every time you need to use this template, simply:

  1. Open a new file Google Sheet from the template by navigating to File -> New -> from TemplateHow to change google docs default format settings
  2. Search for your saved template

If you have already set this file as the template, you will see it in the list. In case you haven’t set it as the template, the above steps would open the dialog box where you can submit the Google Sheets document as the template first and then use it after that.

When you open a new sheet with the template, it will have the default font settings that you had set.

What is the difference between a Theme and a Template?

A theme consists of a set of templates. Templates in Google Sheets are pre-made spreadsheets that are built for specific purposes, like budgets, schedules, etc. They may have a pre-set font structure, background color and a pre-set layout for charts, formulae, and highlighted areas.

A theme is a set format that is not necessarily specific to a particular task or purpose. It mainly customizes the look and feel of a spreadsheet with a particular color scheme, default font, and chart styles. Companies often customize their own theme to reflect their branding.

Currently, these are the two ways available on Google Sheets to change the default font settings.

You may also like the following Google Sheets tutorials:

In a Google Docs document, I would like to be able to specify the page margins (File → Page Setup) in millimeters instead of inches.

Is it possible to switch between imperial and metric units?

4 Answers 4

Go to Settings → Document Settings on the top right of the page and change the language to English (UK).

Rulers and margins will now both be in centimetres (cm).

You may need to log out and sign back in before you see the changes take effect.

Due to recent changes, the measuring system in Google Docs is now affected by your Google Account default language, not anymore by the document language as indicated in @Dominik’s answer.

More precisely it’s the country sub-setting that counts, but Google artificially limits country options per chosen language.

Go to myaccount.google.com/language. You can also reach it via the gear icon on the Google Drive or Google Docs main pages.

Set the language to “English – United Kingdom”. (If it’s currently “English – United States”, click the pen icon, then again “English”, then “United Kingdom”. Bit counterintuitive.)

Reload your Google Docs document.

Voila: rulers and the “File → Page Setup… → Margins” settings are in centimeters now.

How to change google docs default format settings

This is not possible in the current version of Google Docs with “English (US)” regional settings. Until they change this you can convert millimeters to inches using this Google query:

Or you could follow the tips in Dominiks answer, and change your language settings to “English (UK)”.

To change the margins one can use File –> Page Layout –> Margins but doing so does not (for me at 2018-10-18) offer a change of the unit-of-measure of the margins.

Earlier answers show that this is influenced by the user’s language. (1) It used to be the language of the doc (2) That was changed to the user’s Google Account’s language.

Well; I have set both to US English and have closed and opened the document but to no avail — it stays at cm for me.

Here, though, is a low tech remedy: There are 2.54 cm to the inch. There is 0.39 inch to the cm. If the unit-of-measure stays stubbornly at the one you don’t want, apply a conversion to get the desired margin. For example, I needed to have all four margins set to 1 inch, so set the value to 2.54 cm for each of the four.