How to Draw on Google Docs

Discover Google Drawings to create shapes, word art, and more

Drawing in Google Docs isn't immediately obvious, but it's a feature that you can use to add shapes, word art, create diagrams and more. If that's not enough power for you, you could also use the Google Drawings app, which provides more features. Both methods will work to help illustrate your Google Docs. Here's how to draw on Google Docs using both methods.

Adding drawings directly in Google Docs can only be done using Google Docs in a browser. That feature is not available as an app for iOS or Android devices.

How to Draw on Google Docs

The easiest way to draw on Google Docs is to use the Drawing feature. The capabilities of this feature are somewhat limited, but for quick shapes, word art, and simple diagrams it works just fine.

Neither the Drawing feature of Google Docs nor Google Drawing allows for the use of a stylus or pen for freehand drawing. You are limited to a few basic types of illustrations, all of which can be controlled using a mouse.

  1. Start by creating or opening a document in Google Docs. Then place your cursor in the document where you want the drawing to appear.

  2. Select Insert > Drawing.

    If you need to insert a signature into Google Docs, this is the option you will use.

    The Drawing option on Google Docs.
  3. Select + New.

    The New drawing option on Google Docs.
  4. The Drawing window opens. Here, you can select the type of drawing you would like to create from the Actions menu. For example, you could choose Word art from this menu.

    The Word art option in Google Docs.
  5. A text box appears in your drawing. Type the text you want to use for word art. When you have the text you want, press Enter to save it.

    The word art text box in Google Docs.
  6. The text appears in the drawing. The contextual toolbar at the top of the page also changes to give you font and color options. Adjust these options until the word art looks the way you want it to.

    The context toolbar for word art in Google Docs.
  7. You also have the option to add lines, shapes, text boxes, or images from the toolbar at the top of the window. For example, you could add a colored shape to your drawing to set off your word art. To do that, select the Shape tool at the top of the page, highlight Shapes, Arrows, or Callouts and then select the desired shape.

    The shape options in the drawing tool on Google Docs.

    There is also the option to add Equations in this menu. If you're creating a mathematical equation, this will be the option you use to insert it in your document.

  8. Once the shape is inserted into the drawing, you can adjust the appearance of it using the context toolbar at the top of the Drawing window.

    The shape context toolbar in Google Docs drawing feature.
  9. You may also need to push the shape to the background so you can see the word art you created. To do that, right-click the shape, highlight Order, and then select Send to back.

    How to send a shape to the background in the Google Docs drawing feature.
  10. When you've finished making the adjustments that you want to make to your drawing, click Save and Close.

    The Save and close option for drawings in Google Docs.
  11. The drawing will be inserted into your document at the point of your cursor.

    A drawing in Google Docs.

Insert a Drawing Using Google Drawings

Adding drawings from within Google Docs has some limitations. The most glaring of those is the limited capabilities of the Drawing function. To overcome that, you can insert a drawing that you create in Google Drawings.

If you're using a Chrome browser or the Chrome OS, you can access Google Drawings in the Chrome web store.

  1. Open Google Drawings in your web browser.

  2. Create your drawing using the menus and toolbars that are available. You'll see some options here that aren't available in the Drawing function of Google Docs. Those include tables, charts, and diagrams.

    The insert menu in Google Drawings.
  3. When you're finished, you can close the drawing and it's automatically saved into your Google Drive.

    A Google Drawing saved in Google Drive.
  4. Then, to insert it into your Google Doc, place your cursor where you want the drawing to appear in your document and select Insert > Drawing > From Drive.

    The option to insert a drawing in Google Docs from Good Drive.
  5. Select your drawing and it's placed in your document at the location of your cursor.

    You'll be prompted to choose whether you want to link to the source of the drawing or insert the drawing unlinked. If you link to the source, collaborators can see the link to the drawing. If you choose to Link to source you can always unlink it later.