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I don't have a printer and I need a document printed. Thus, I've shared a very basic Google Docs document with someone who does have a printer.

Over here the formatting looks fine. Tabs are correct, spaces are where they should be, etc. Over there the formatting is all out. We've all seen it before. Your once perfectly constructed document is now a sea of confusion.

Was I naive to think that such formatting issues would disappear 'in the cloud' so to speak? Shouldn't the way the text is displayed be OS/browser agnostic?

In any case, is there a way I can get my shared Google Docs document to appear the same way at both sites?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

It's a big problem with Google docs. The new version that the Google Apps team released last week is better with formatting, but for printing purposes, I usually just export to a Word doc and work from that.

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OK, thanks for your comments. Cheers. – boehj Jun 4 '11 at 5:06

I realise that this question is almost 5 years old, but since the problem still persists in Google Docs, I'll share the solution that works for me. Your best bet is to use the “print” feature within the Chrome browser.

Rather than exporting to a .pdf within Google Docs, click on the menu button in Chrome and select print. Change the destination to “save as .pdf.” Formatting with this feature should be preserved.

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The solution above works, but please note that if you have Bookmark formatting or other code-style formatting, that won't translate into a printed PDF. – Darren Burgfeld Mar 4 at 22:01

If the other person your sharing with is just printing and not working on the document, your best bet is exporting as a PDF. Your formatting will be maintained for the print.

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Exporting as a PDF in Google Docs is still broken. The character spacing and font size changes a tiny bit through the export process and you will have extra lines in your paragraphs. – JcMaco Feb 8 at 18:48

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