How to Check for Plagiarism in Google Docs

2 ways to check for plagiarism and ensure originality

What To Know

  • Search for and add a plagiarism Google Docs add-on, and scan the document for plagiarism with that add-on.
  • Use the Grammarly browser extension and a premium Grammarly account to scan for plagiarism issues.

Identifying plagiarism is very important whether you're a teacher or an editor. In this article, you'll learn several ways to check for plagiarism in Google Docs.

How to Check for Originality on Google Docs

There are multiple ways to check for plagiarism on Google Docs. The easiest is installing plagiarism add-ons that automatically verify the writing is original.

  1. To install a plagiarism checker add-on, you'll need to select Add-ons from the Extensions menu and select Get add-ons.

    Extensions and Get Add-ons in Google Docs
  2. Type "plagiarism" in the search field and press Enter. Review the available plagiarism checker add-ons and choose the one you prefer. Each listing includes a user review ranking that may help you select the best one for you.

    Plagiarism in Google Docs extensions search

    In this article, we're using the PlagiarismSearch add-on, so the individual steps to use the add-on may vary for you.

  3. Select the add-on you want and select the Install button. You may need to give the add-on permissions to access your Google account. Walk through each step until the add-on installation is complete.

    Install on the PlagiarismSearch page in Google Docs extensions
  4. Once installation is complete, you can open the new plagiarism checker add-on by selecting the add-on name from the Extensions menu. Select either Open or Start from the sub-menu.

    PlagiarismSearch and Open highlighted in Google Docs Extensions menu
  5. You may need to create a new account to use the plagiarism checker add-on. Make sure to use the registration link to step through that process, then return to Google Docs and log into the add-on. You should only have to do this once.

    Register for free under PlagiarismSearch add-on for Google Docs
  6. Depending on your add-on, you may or may not need to launch the plagiarism checking process by selecting a button. For some add-ons, this process may be automatic.

    Start Checking in PlagiarismSearch add-on for Google Docs
  7. After the scan finishes, the add-on will show you a list of results based on the content in the document. Any sentences that match other online content will receive a higher ranking and show up at the top of the list. Usually, you will also see an overall plagiarism score showing what percentage of the document appears to be plagiarized from web sources.

    PlagiarismSearch results in Google Docs
  8. Most plagiarism checker add-ons also offer a detailed report. These reports show the suspected text, a link to the potentially plagiarized online source, and a snippet of that source.

    Link to plagiarized source in PlagiarismSearch add-on for Google Docs

    Use the reports to investigate any matching text on the original sites and make a final judgment.

Check for Plagiarism With Grammarly

Another approach to checking for plagiarism in Google Docs is using Grammarly's Chrome extension. Grammarly is well known for helping writers and editors check for spelling and grammar issues. But many people don't realize that Grammarly's Chrome extension also offers a plagiarism feature.

  1. To install the Grammarly Chrome extension, visit the Grammarly page on the Chrome web store. Select the Add to Chrome button to install the extension.

    Add to Chrome on Grammarly page in the Chrome web store
  2. Once the Grammarly app is installed, you can activate the extension by selecting the small "G" icon at the lower-right corner of the browser window.

    Active Grammarly icon in Google Docs
  3. As you add content to your Google Docs document, the Grammarly icon will change to a number to represent the number of various issues (typically spelling and grammar) that Grammarly has identified.

    Grammarly icon changes in Google Docs
  4. When you select the Grammarly icon, a pane will appear on the right showing all results. You'll need to sign up for a paid Grammarly account to access plagiarism checker results. The free version only provides spelling and grammar issues.

    Premium suggestions in PlagiarismSearch add-on for Google Docs
  5. You can also check for plagiarism outside of Google Docs by downloading your document in Microsoft Word (.docx) format. To do this, select File, Download, and then Microsoft Word.

    Microsoft Word in File > Download in Google Docs
  6. Log into the Grammarly page with your Grammarly account, and select the New icon to upload the document you've just downloaded from Google Docs.

    New on Grammarly page
  7. Grammarly will scan the document and provide quality results across different categories on the right side of the page. You'll also see plagiarism results at the bottom of this pane if you have a premium account.

    Plagiarism in Grammarly plagiarism results
  • How do I avoid plagiarism in Google Docs?

    When using information from books, websites, or academic journals, always properly cite your sources. It's easy to set up MLA format or APA format in Google Docs.

  • Why isn't Grammarly working in Google Docs?

    You can't use Grammarly without internet access, so check your connection and make sure the Grammarly extension is enabled.

  • What are other Google Docs tools for teachers?

    Google Classroom is a tool for educators to share documents with students and allow students to collaborate together. Teachers can also make announcements, assignments, and quizzes.

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