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Tutorial: How to Import Google Docs Into WordPress Using Jetpack

Last Updated on June 5th, 2019

Published on March 23rd, 2017

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If you’re a blogger, there’s a good chance you have a love affair with Google Docs. It makes collaboration and storage of your posts so easy. Just write up a post, share the draft, reply to comments. Bing bam boom. Simple. And if you need to switch to another computer, your post is always right there in the cloud. Google Docs is the best.

But for a long time, it used to be a massive pain to import posts from Google Docs to WordPress. So despite how awesome Google Docs is to use, many people skipped it altogether because of how annoying it was when it came time to bring the post into WordPress.

Now, thanks to Automattic, that is no longer the case. As of March 2017, you can import posts directly from Google Docs while maintaining all the images and formatting. That is, your post in the WordPress Editor should look exactly the same as your post in Google Docs. All with the click of a single button.

Because this feature is brand spankin’ new, I thought it would be worthwhile to give you a tutorial for how to import Google Docs content into the WordPress Editor using Jetpack.

So, without further introduction, let’s get into it. I’m going through the process on a live site, so your experience should be exactly the same as mine. It isn’t too complicated, but there a number of steps you’ll need to go through to get everything working.

How to Import Google Docs to WordPress Using Jetpack

So right now, the only way to pull this off is by using the Jetpack plugin. I don’t typically run Jetpack on my sites because it has so many other features that I don’t need/want, but I’m going to change that because this feature is too helpful not to use.

So, the first step is to make sure you have Jetpack installed and connected to your WordPress account. If you already have Jetpack installed and connected, you can skip straight to Step 2.

Step 1: Install and Activate Jetpack

Here’s how you can get Jetpack installed and activated on your WordPress site.

how to import google docs to wordpress

Just click the button and either:

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Jetpack will try to get you to pay on the next screen, but you can just continue with the Free plan.

It’s up to you whether or not you want to activate the recommended features. Personally, I’m only interested in the Google Docs import feature, so I’ll skip the rest:

Step 2: Install the WordPress.com Add-on for Google Docs

Now that you’ve got Jetpack installed, your next step is to install the WordPress.com add-on for Google Docs. To do that, head to this link and click the + Free button:

On the next screen, give the add-on permission to run:

Then, give it permissions to use Google Docs (a window will pop up):

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Now, you can navigate to Add-ons → WordPress.com for Google Docs → Open to open the interface:

You should see a new window pop up on the right side of your screen. Now, you need to authorize your WordPress site:

When you click that button, you should be redirected to a page where you can see all of your connected WordPress sites. Just choose the site that you want to give it access to and click Approve:

Then log in to your WordPress dashboard (I know – so many authentication steps!):

And you should be done! Now, in Google Docs, you should see the ability to save your post as a draft to all of the WordPress sites you activated the feature on.

Step 3: Import to WordPress

Ok, now that we made it through those millions of authentication steps, let’s see if it works. I’ll create a draft with some header formatting, images, and links, and see if WordPress manages to properly import it.

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Here’s what my test post looks like:

And when I click the Save Draft button, let’s see what happens:

Success! Hallelujah. I’m so happy! Here’s how it imports your post:

  • Google Docs file name = Post title in WordPress
  • Google Docs body text / formatting = Body text in WordPress

It brings in links, formatting, and images perfectly. Any images you import from Google Docs will be automatically saved in your media library.

Best of all, you can also make more changes in Google Docs and then update the draft in WordPress:

Everything worked perfectly. Words cannot describe how much time this will save me – and you!

What Doesn’t Get Imported?

Ok, so the import feature is awesome, but it doesn’t cover absolutely everything. There are still a few formatting options you’ll need to handle manually. Here’s the list I came up with, but if you see anything I left out, it would be great if you left a comment:

  • Alt-tags on images. Alt-tags are a basic on-page SEO practice. With this import method, you’ll have to go back and add them manually.
  • Make external links open in a new window. If you make your external links go to new windows, you’ll need to manually add that attribute.
  • Add nofollow tags. Same deal for adding nofollow tags to links.

And, of course, if you use any shortcodes in your posts, you’ll still probably need to generate those directly from the WordPress Editor. With that being said, if you just need to input a static shortcode, you can throw that directly in Google docs and it will get imported just fine.

And obviously, this method won’t really place nice with page builders. So if you’re using page builders on all of your posts, you might run into trouble.

Finally, it only appears to work with the Post content type. So you won’t be able to easily collaborate on Pages.

Wrapping Things Up

All in all, I’m a massive fan of the new import from Google Docs feature. There were a couple third-party apps that could do this, but I love the reliability of knowing that this feature comes directly from Automattic.

Now, all I can do is hope that my freelance writing clients all install Jetpack!

Over to you now – will you use this feature? Or do you still prefer working directly with the WordPress Editor?

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Colin Newcomer is a freelance writer and long-time Internet marketer. He specializes in digital marketing, WordPress and B2B writing. He lives a life of danger, riding a scooter through the chaos of Hanoi. You can also follow his travel blog.