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I love Google Docs. It's the way to write and share documents today.

Is Google Docs already capable for...?

  • Advanced scientific formatting
  • Advanced headers and footers
  • publishing as book, pdf, doc
  • other stuff which is required for this type of document


  • exporting to common file extensions (like doc) without breaking the format, so I can style the document after writing the content, due to gdocs limited styling features (I had a bad experience while working on a uni report with other students. In the exported doc-file all formating was lost. It still looked the same, but there were not "H1", "H2" annotations anymore. So word couldn't recognize headings anymore and couldn't style them.)
  • image captions with counting numbers (to generate a caption directory later)
  • image/text arrangement

Update 2

SCIENTIFIC WRITING WITH GOOGLE DOCS from Gabriel Wurzer, Technical University of Vienna

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migrated from superuser.com Dec 14 '10 at 23:19

This question came from our site for computer enthusiasts and power users.

For "advanced scientific formatting" (I assume you mean equations and the like) many people use LaTeX anyway. So if you're trying to evaluate Google Docs relative to offline word processors (which is the only way this might not belong on webapps.SE), I'd leave that first category out. – David Z Dec 14 '10 at 22:14
Ok, equations are also good but they are already supported in a simple way. I meant by "scientific" (maybe the wrong word) "university style". The uni prescribes a certain look of such a paper. (See update above for details) I buried the idea to make the layout in gdocs now, but still keep on using gdocs for composing the content (See my Update) – OneWorld Dec 15 '10 at 10:09
I had some recent Google Docs problems that I asked about here. If you'll only be working in one place on one computer, go for it. If you're planning on anything else, expect major formatting woes like the bad old days on Word. – boehj Jun 6 '11 at 19:38
up vote 6 down vote accepted


Advanced scientific formatting

Google docs does support LaTeX. Update: It sucks however. Pass C-

Advanced headers and footers

GDocs doesn't even support pagination, much less page numbers. Fail

publishing as book, pdf, doc

PDF: Yes, no options. Book: No. Doc: ish. Fail

other stuff which is required for this type of document

It's really designed to be simpler, not very scientific papers.


It's fine for actually writing (because of the LaTeX editing) but not so much for final formatting.
My recommended solution is to write a first draft in GDocs if you're traveling, then use something like Word, Publisher, or InDesign for the final draft.

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Interesting, I didn't know that LatexLab was based on Google Docs. But if I understand correctly, that's a third-party addition, not a part of Gdocs itself, so it's inaccurate to say that Google Docs actually supports LaTeX. (In a way it'd be kind of like saying that Notepad supports LaTeX) – David Z Dec 14 '10 at 22:31
Scribus? scribus.net – Linker3000 Dec 14 '10 at 22:32
@Linker I tried Scribus once and it was scary convoluted. – digitxp Dec 14 '10 at 22:37
"write a first draft in GDocs" that's the way I'd like to go. But many things like markied headers as H1, H2... arent exported to the doc file. (See update in my question) – OneWorld Dec 15 '10 at 10:14
Maybe something like ScribTex would work for you. Again, just as your first draft. – digitxp Dec 15 '10 at 12:49

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