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Often, when I paste a link into a document in Google Docs, a pop-up will appear to allow me to replace the text of the link with a clickable "button". The pop-up says "tab to replace with..." and shows the gray button. If I press 'tab', the link is converted to a gray clickable button. The button is oval-shaped, with a light gray background, containing the title of the page that is linked to. For instance, this often happens when pasting links to another Google Doc or to a video on Youtube. However, the behavior is not consistent, and sometimes when I paste a link, it doesn't offer this option.

How do I force Google Doc to offer/create this button? Sometimes, when I paste a link, it doesn't give me the pop-up and there is no option to create the button -- but I want the button. I find the button looks nicer in my document. How do I get the button?

(Pasting links to some Youtube pages does offer a button, and pasting links to other Youtube pages doesn't, which I find weird.)

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The gray oval-shaped "button" is called a "smart chip". You might also learn about the new smart canvas features (links at the bottom).

Not all links can be converted to smart chips.


The documentation says "Other Google Docs, Sheets, or Slides files" (source: Google Docs Editors Help Center article "Insert smart chips..."), it doesn't mention Youtube videos, and the user interface doesn't include an option to do that.

Using the toolbar

The way to insert smart chips from the Google Docs editor toolbar is by clicking the Insert menu, then Smart Chips, then File.

Insert Menu
Google Docs editor - Insert menu > Smart chips

Smart chips options
Google Docs editor - Insert > Smart chips options

Smart chips file suggestions
Google Docs editor - Smart chips file suggestions

Typing

Typing the URL, then a space might show a popup offering to convert the URL into a smart chip or convert the URL into a link.

Pasting

Paste the URL without including extra characters, then add a space after the URL, then, a space might show a popup offering to convert the URL into a smart chip or convert the URL into a link.

Notes:

  1. Nowadays, there are several types of content on Youtube: videos and shorts. The option to convert the smart chip popup to convert a URL into a smart chip is not shown for shorts.
  2. The Youtube smart chips were announced a few days ago as a new feature for Google Sheets. It might be an "accident" that it's available in Google Docs or it's not yet ready for "prime time".

Using code

The Google Docs API and Google Apps Script don't support smart chips. There has not yet been an announcement or entry on the corresponding release notes announcing its addition.


References and Resources

Google Docs Editors Help Center articles
Google Workspace Updates
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  • This is helpful, thank you! Thank you for teaching me about the name of that feature. In my case, I'm looking to include a smart chip for a Youtube video. For most Youtube videos, if I paste a link to a Youtube video, it offers to create a smart chip for it; but for some, it doesn't work. I don't see an option to create a smart chip for a Youtube video in that menu, alas...
    – D.W.
    May 7, 2023 at 7:52
  • @D.W. : Thanks for your comment; I'm glad you find this answer helpful. Regarding using a Youtube video, this was mentioned in parenthesis as it wasn't the focus of the question; I think this makes the question too broad because the insertion of Youtube videos uses another feature. Considering this, please post a new question, including details of the cases that worked and didn't work so others can reproduce the problem. Include how you got the URLs if they are the full version or the shortened URL if they include parameters from your channel or others if this happens in the same doc, ... May 7, 2023 at 9:10
  • (cont.) ...if you are the document owner or not, if you are using a consumer account or a Google Workspace account if the doc is in My Drive, or in a Shared Drive, etc. May 7, 2023 at 9:11
  • This is my first answer on Web Applications using my alternate account that has been accepted. Thank you very much. I'll be documenting my progress in refining my Q&A process on my new blog (the link is my profile). May 7, 2023 at 17:32

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