Google introduces new Docs interface

Google has rolled out a new version of Google Docs to its users, significantly revamping the interface and adding a pile of new features in the document, spreadsheet and drawing applications.

The majority of the changes can be seen in the video above. The document editor gets the real-time editing seen in the spreadsheet - so when you're collaborating with someone you can see their work keystroke by keystroke. It also lets you chat to your collaborators in the sidebar while you're working.

There's also some improvements to formatting. The new editor adds better import/export fidelity, a new comment system, margins and tab stops and better image layout within documents. No more exporting your 3,000-page dissertation to Word to find that it's now 3,500 pages, thanks to iffy image alignment.

The spreadsheet editor has been given a speed boost - your spreadsheets should load faster and be more responsive while editing. There's also now a formula bar for cell editing, auto-completing drag and  drop columns, and easier navigation between sheets. The sidebar chat and ability to see which cells are being edited remain.

Lastly, the drawing tool has seen the addition of a collaboration function, and the ability to access drawings from the documents list. It's essentially now standalone, and can be used to create flowcharts, designs, diagrams and other graphics, says the company.

Unfortunately none of the new features are yet compatible with Gears, so aren't compatible with offline support, but Google promises to bring that functionality back in the future. If you'd like to use the new editors, but you're not seeing them yet, then head into your settings tab and select "New version of Google documents", under "Editing".