Web Applications Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for power users of web applications. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Just that. Is there any way to use Placeholders in Google Docs?

My {NAME} ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Aenean commodo ligula eget dolor. Aenean massa. Cum sociis natoque penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus. Donec {NAME} quam felis, ultricies nec, pellentesque eu, pretium quis, sem. Nulla consequat massa quis enim. Donec pede justo, fringilla vel, aliquet nec, vulputate eget, arcu. In {NAME} enim justo, rhoncus ut, imperdiet a, venenatis vitae, justo. Nullam dictum felis eu pede mollis pretium. Integer tincidunt.

share|improve this question
I think you need to explain what you want those Placeholders to do: if they don't do anything, then surely you can just type them in, as per the example? – MaryC.fromNZ Sep 11 '13 at 10:42
The document is commercial contract for my clients. Every time I fill the document I need to write the name, the address, id, etc. of my client several times in different places of the document. Since the document has 13 pages it is time wasting. Using placeholder would allow me to fill the data just one time. – chefnelone Sep 12 '13 at 6:03
up vote 1 down vote accepted

You could think of it as a mail-merge field: put merge fields in, and then each time you use the document to generate a contract, just have one row (the current client's details) in the data file. That said Google Documents don't directly support mail merge (yet -but I expect they will sooner or later). However there do appear to be some options - see this help forum article: http://productforums.google.com/forum/#!topic/docs/c6NBVY9xDDE

Another option is just to use a (or several) phrases that you are 100% sure won't appear anywhere else in the document (eg [CUST-NAME] ), and then use Edit > Find and replace > Replace all when you are ready to generate a document for a specific client. This is a little more work each time you set up the document, but easier to set up.

share|improve this answer

You could use the Script Editor to whip up an add-on that will do just that, or you could use an existing add-on, like Doc Variables.

share|improve this answer

I'm still looking for a better way, but this is my solution for extensive text replacing.

I used Autocrat to accomplish this:

  1. I created my Google Docs text files and analyzed what I needed to be replaced.
  2. Words that needed to be replaced became placeholders << placeholder1 >>, << placeholder2 >>, << placeholder3 >>,... (But with more significant meaning and without the spaces).
  3. I created a Google Spreadsheet, with column names representing the placeholders.
  4. I used Autocrat to create a merge, linking all columns to placeholders.
  5. Autocrat creates a new file with the replaced text.
  6. Have a coffee.
share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.