Create grading shortcuts in Google Documents

Source: SmartBrief on Education in partnership with GreyED

More teachers are grading work online these days but many still prefer to grade writing assignments on paper because they can use abbreviations when they edit or quickly write in feedback. Good news: Google Documents includes a feature that teachers can use to create their own grading shortcuts.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Open a Google Document in the account you use for school.
  2. Click “Tools” at the top of the Google Document and select “Preferences.”
  3. Once the “Preferences” window pops up, teachers can create an abbreviation for a comment they use frequently when providing feedback or grading papers. For example, they can write the phrase “awk” in the empty box below the word “Replace” then they can write “awkward–rework for clarity” in the empty box below the word “With.” Every time the teacher types the phrase “awk” in a Google Document it will automatically become “awkward–rework for clarity” in the text.
  4. After teachers have set up their grading shortcuts, click the pencil icon in the upper right-hand corner of the document and edit student work in “Suggesting mode.” That way the grading shortcuts will appear in text as a different color, so they are easier for students to spot.

Teachers can add, delete or edit grading shortcuts at any time. Once a grading shortcut has been created in one Google Document, it will work with any Google Document associated with that Google account. Teachers can create as many grading shortcuts as they want, but it is important to avoid creating a shortcut using a real word. Instead, use abbreviations that teachers would not normally use in their own writing.
Grading shortcuts are an immense time saver. Some of my favorite shortcuts include:

  • con = No contractions in formal writing. Remove throughout.
  • punc = Punctuation error.
  • cap = Capitalization error.
  • inf = Informal language.
  • rr = Run-on sentence.
  • sp = Spelling error.
  • awk = Awkward wording. Rework for clarity.

This easy-to-use tech tip is perfect for any teacher using Google Documents with students. Grading is a time-consuming business and most teachers feel like there are not enough hours in the day. I hope this tip saves you some time as you provide feedback to students.

Catlin Tucker is an author, international trainer, ed-tech speaker and Google Certified Teacher. She currently teaches in Sonoma County where she was named Teacher of the Year in 2010. Tucker’s first book “Blended Learning in Grades 4-12” is a bestseller and her most recent book “Creatively Teach the Common Core Literacy Standards with Technology” was published in June 2015. Catlin writes the “Techy Teacher” column for ASCD’s Educational Leadership. Connect with her on Twitter or visit her blog,