New Google Drive, Docs, Sheets, and Slides UI begins rollout

Something to look forward to: If you notice anything different while signing into one of Google’s cloud-based productivity services this week, you’re among the first to receive Workspace’s UI overhaul. All Workspace users should receive the update within the next few weeks.

Google started update the user interface for Google Docs, Sheets, Drive and Slides. The company integrates its productivity applications into its new Material Design 3 framework – a visual language that should make Google apps more comfortable and readable. Gmail received a similar update a year ago, which improved the integration of services such as Meet, Chat and Spaces. All users should receive the visual and functional improvements by March 25.

The changes to productivity apps are mostly visual, making some elements appear larger and others more compact. Google hopes the streamlined GUI will help users find frequently used functions faster. Improvements have also been made to comments, background rulers, and gridlines.

Google has added key inline actions on files to increase productivity and access speed. New drop-down menus allow users to quickly list and search files by type, owner, and last modified. The company has also added the ability to select multiple items simultaneously for batch actions.

Although the new interface retains all the features users expect, it reorganizes some elements. Those looking for information about a document’s status, such as its version history and most recent changes, can now find it by clicking the clock icon in the upper-right corner of the window.

In the coming weeks, Google will also be making improvements to Smart Canvas. The framework will make it easier for users to assemble templates for calendar invitations, invoices, contracts, and other forms. Collaborators can also vote and react to elements of documents with emojis.

Additionally, Google has begin Rolling out new features for Sheets to make it easier for users to extract data from other sources based on information in a spreadsheet. For example, right-clicking on a person’s name in a spreadsheet displays their contact information instantly when available. Cells mentioning places can also point directly to Google Maps. Updates to Sheets also make calendar and financial information more accessible. Some new features are available now, while others will arrive over the next few weeks.

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