Google Docs: Explore Now w/Citations

screen-shot-2016-12-17-at-1-45-55-pmIn September of 2016, Google added the Explore tool to their suite of Google Drive apps (i.e. Docs, Sheets, and Slides). The Explore tool takes a look at the product that you are working on and then uses its vast resources to provide insights, additional design tools to enhance your work, and recommendations to help you make a better product. However, this also meant that the older Research Tool was removed from Docs. A critical feature inside of the Research Tool was the ability to generate citations based on MLA, APA, and Chicago formats that were then added to your Doc as footnotes. Many users, educators in particular, sent feedback to Google pleading with them to bring back the Research Tool and its citation capabilities. Google responded by keeping the new Explore tool for Google Sheets and Slides, but rolling back Docs and restoring the Research Tool in the process.

Fast forward to this month and Google has reintroduced Explore to Google Docs, and this time it has its own citation tool!

  1. Open a Google Doc.Screen Shot 2016-12-17 at 1.50.30 PM.png
  2. Locate the Explore tool, located in the bottom-right corner of the window.
  3. A sidebar will pop out from the right side of the window. Use the search box at the top to enter your keyword(s). Explore will search the web for sites and images, as well as any files from Google Drive that match your criteria.
  4. Notice that, when you click into the search box Explore will show you several of your past keyword searches. Then, as you type will suggest additional keywords that may be helpful.
  5. When looking at the results of your search, locate the three vertical dots (what my students call the Oreo cookies). Clicking here will allow you to select the citation format you would like to use (MLA, APA, or Chicago).
  6. When you find a resource that you’d like to cite, hover over the entry then click on the quotation mark tool in the top-right corner to generate a footnote citation. Remember to place the cursor at the proper location on your Doc prior to clicking on the Cite as footnote button.


For more information, please refer to the Google Docs Help Center and their post from the G Suites Updates blog.



One thought on “Google Docs: Explore Now w/Citations

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s