Grammarly for Google Docs: Write, Collaborate, and Edit on the Fly

Brad Smith


I'm the creator of this site (Grammar Gang). I'm also the founder of Codeless, a long-form content creation company that's been featured in The New York Times, Business Insider, The Next Web, and hundreds more.

We produce around ~100 long, in-depth articles each month. So we're relying on these tools on a daily basis. Here, I break down the good, bad, and uuuuuuggggllllyyyy.
Brad Smith

Grammarly and Google Docs are the first two things that come to my mind whenever I get into my writer mode.

In one hand, you have Grammarly, which is user-friendly, accurate and provides a detailed report on your writing.

And on the other hand, Google Docs is one of the best writing apps that automatically saves your files, and is free for everyone.

Both apps are numero uno in their respective fields, and combining them is like merging the power of Ironman and Captain America in one character.

Yes, it’s that powerful!

And in this post, I’ll show you how to use both the software to make your writing smoother and more punchy.

How to set up Grammarly for Google Docs

Both Grammarly and Google Docs have no limitations when it comes to device compatibility.

While Google Docs is a web-based software, Grammarly requires you to download either the Chrome app or the desktop editor for Windows and Mac. This works on both the free and paid versions of Grammarly.

To do that, you just need to login to your Grammarly account and go to the “Apps” section where you can find the direct download links of all the available apps that is compatible with your operating system.

grammarly apps

I would recommend installing only the Grammarly Chrome extension if your sole purpose is to edit files online.

Otherwise, you can check out my Grammarly for Mac or Grammarly for Windows guide where I describe how to set up the Grammarly app on your computer step-by-step.

So go through the guides and once you have successfully installed the software, open any document on Google Docs.

You’ll see a tiny Grammarly icon (on the menu bar) with “BETA” written on it.

Grammarly beta

As you might have already guessed, the romantic relationship between Grammarly and Google Docs is still in its infancy. That’s why the working ability of Grammarly is limited with Google Docs (more on that later).

But as for now, click on the Grammarly icon and allow it to scan your docs and Grammarly is all set to tear your content and highlight lousy grammar.

How to check for grammar errors

Now, this is where the fun begins.

After activating Grammarly on Google Docs, you can use it to check either your pre-existing documents or create a new one by going to ‘File > New > Document’.

google docs new document

As soon as the new doc opens, start typing or import your content from desktop and Grammarly will start doing its job simultaneously.

And since Grammarly is yet to roll out its full version on Google Docs, at present, it only flags out the most crucial grammar errors that need to be taken care of immediately. It includes spelling mistakes, wrong punctuation, incorrect verb forms, missing articles, etc.

I like amending these blunders before taking on the more advanced issues. So, click on the word that is marked incorrect (underlined red) and choose the correct option displayed just beneath it.

grammarly basic errors

(How Grammarly pointed out an error in the article you’re reading now)

Once you’ve rectified all the marked errors on Google Docs, select the entire document and copy it.

It’s time to open the Grammarly site to go deeper into the rabbit hole.

Log in to your account and click on “Upload.”

grammarly homepage

Hit ‘CTRL + v’, to paste your content, and Grammarly scans the whole document within a few seconds.

Once the analysis is done, you’ll end up with a page full of mark-ups, and on the right-hand side, there’s a navigation bar aka Grammarly assistant that shows the overall score of your content and list out all the grammatical errors it consists.

grammarly overall score

My same document got the score of 86, that means it is better than 86% of the files uploaded on Grammarly by other users.

Clicking on the score presents a broader picture where you can see the average length of your sentences and words, readability score, and how many unique words you use in your writing.

grammarly overall score 1

The overall score is beneficial to get a general idea of how your writing ranks up and how you can improve it further, but right now, the most important part is to deal with the advanced grammar issues Grammarly points out.

These are mainly contextual errors marked with yellow lines and mostly consist of wrong punctuation, sentence fragments, overused words, passive voice, improper sentence structure, etc.

Click on any incorrect word or phrase, and you can see on the right side why Grammarly has flagged it wrong along with the correct alternative to use.

For example, when I clicked one of the phrases highlighted by Grammarly, it recognized it as a passive voice.

grammarly passive voice

And when I clicked “ellipses,” it further enlightened me about what a passive voice is and how I can convert it into active voice through examples.

grammarly passive voice 1

Similarly, when you click on a repetitive word, it suggests the appropriate synonymous that can replace that word.

grammarly synonymous words

This level of detailed reporting makes Grammarly the first choice grammar tool over other Grammar checkers.

And to sweeten the deal, it has a plagiarism checker on the bottom right corner that scans more than 16 Billion pages to find phrases and sentences that are identical to other pages.

plagiarism checker

It’s the most accurate plagiarism checker I’ve tested to date, and I always prefer using it after making sure my content is free from any grammatical or spelling mistakes.

Once you’ve checked the plagiarism part, select and copy the whole document again to go back to Google docs for some final touch-ups.

Check for previous versions

No doubt, Grammarly does an excellent job in helping you avoid the embarrassing mistakes, but the only issue I have with this tool is that it vanishes all your formatting.

So, when you take your content back to Google Docs, you won’t see that italicized phrase, bold word, bullet points, or sources you’ve linked to.

So, what I do is, I go back to the previous version of my content that contains all the formatting by going File > Version history > See version history.

google docs version history

On the right-hand side, it lists out all the older copies of your content in chronological order. Click on one, and it’ll take you straight to that version.

google docs version history 2

The current version is always on the top, and just below it is the previous version which is full of grammatical errors but with intact formatting.

Now, I go back and forth between both the versions a few times to restore the same formatting in my latest content.

And if you’re not happy with a specific portion, you can further edit it without fearing any loss of data because you always have the option to roll back your older copy anytime, anywhere.

Export and share your writing

Well, this is the easiest part of the job.

When you’re done with writing and editing, Google docs provides a variety of options to export your file.

You can choose to download your document (File > Download as) either as a Word, PDF, HTML, Text, RTF, Zip or ePub file.

google docs download as

However, I’ve found it more convenient to directly share the document link with my peers using the painless sharing feature of Google Docs.

Just hit the big blue “Share” button on the top left corner and enter the email address of the person with whom you want to share your writing.

google docs share 1

If there are multiple people involved in your project, you better go to the “advanced” section and check the “anyone’ with the link” option in the next wizard.

google docs share 2

Depending on the nature of your project, you’re also free to regulate the amount of control you want the other person to have.

You can limit them only to view your content, add comments to it, or give them the full monty freedom to edit the document.

google docs share 3

Conclusion

Grammarly and Google Docs complement each other beautifully.

It’s like a match made in heaven where one tool is made exclusively to make the whole writing process smoother, and the other tool is designed to take your writing a few levels ahead by making it free of grammatical errors and redundancy.

On a personal level, using these tools together have not only made my writing more impactful, but also shorten my writing time by a couple of hours giving me some extra time to binge watch my favorite shows on Netflix.

Now, it’s your turn to experience the same.

If you’re still on the verge of taking that big leap, read my in-depth reviews on Google Docs and Grammarly where I go through each of their pros, cons, and costs of each.