How to Use AI in Google Docs Step-by-Step Guide, Use Cases, Tips, Tricks, and Alternatives

How to Use AI in Google Docs: Step-by-Step Guide, Use Cases, Tips, Tricks, and Alternatives

Did you know the average employee spends about five and a half minutes drafting emails? It might not seem like a lot. However, considering most of us send about 112 emails a week, these five and a half minutes become 11 hours a week

That’s more than a workday wasted per employee; this is only the time spent writing emails.

Your employees may also be involved in other repetitive work, such as preparing reports, replying to memorandums, recording meeting notes, creating presentations, editing marketing copies, and so much more!

Wouldn’t it be better if there was an intelligent way to automate all this document creation and management?

Well, Google Docs has you covered with its latest innovation—Duet AI. Here’s a detailed look at how you can use Duet AI in Google Docs to make your work faster and more efficient.

Understanding Artificial Intelligence in Google Docs

Writing tools are the first to come to mind when discussing AI in Google Docs. However, Google Workspace has employed AI even before generative AI became mainstream.

AI has made Google Docs more intuitive and boosted the user experience. For instance, it automatically prepares hierarchical document outlines to simplify navigation. Similarly, AI has helped autocorrect misspelled words or highlight grammatical errors with recommended corrections.

Zoom out from the Docs environment, and you’ll find that Gmail supports Smart Compose to contextually predict and autocomplete sentences right as you type your emails. Google Chat sported something similar through Smart Replies, offering appropriate responses to incoming messages. Even Google Maps leveraged AI for smarter route navigation.

AI has been at the core of Google Workspace, and Duet AI is set to take it to the next level.

What is Duet AI in Google Docs?

Modules of Duet AI
Duet AI has five underlying modules

Announced in Google I/O 2023 as a ‘Help me write’ feature, Duet AI is the latest generative AI tool developed by Google Workspace Labs. Powered by a combination of generative language and imagery, this AI assistant can generate text or images based on the specificity of your prompts.

Duet AI is up to the task, whether you’re looking to create infographics or charts or generate summaries or decks. It can also share feedback and valuable suggestions to improve your creative process.

Its versatility is so vast and expansive that Google calls it a powerful collaborator that doubles as a coach, thought partner, source of inspiration, and productivity booster.’ And to retain this image, it comes with the following five modules:

  • Help me write: Will help with content creation from scratch
  • Help me organize: To create bespoke organization tables and schedules on Sheets
  • Help me visualize: Generates original and compelling visuals for Slides presentations
  • Help me connect: Can help you set up high-quality video calls over Meet
  • Help me create an app: For no-code development of apps using AppSheet

Since the ‘Help Me Write’ offering aligns more with Google Docs, we’ll primarily focus on it. So, moving forward, when we say Duet AI, we’re mainly talking about the ‘Help Me Write’ feature of Duet AI.

Advantages of Duet AI

The roaring success of generative AI tools like ChatGPT and Dall-E is a testament to how well such AI innovations improve business processes. Here’s an overview of what to expect with Duet’s AI-powered features:

  • As a powerful AI writing tool, Duet AI can generate high-value and meaningful content that matches your audience’s expectations while retaining your brand’s voice, tone, and style
  • The generated text is original, contextual, and unique. Your company enjoys absolute ownership of such creatives, which makes these assets a competitive differentiator
  • Automating the writing process frees up resources to focus on more complex or creative activities. Such strategic resource utilization heightens workforce productivity and improves employee morale
  • Apart from generating content, Duet AI can also review existing text, update or add more value to it, or convert content from one format to another. Such repurposing of content helps businesses stick to their marketing, relationship-building, and customer engagement goals without upending resources
  • The value alignment of generated text improves customer success, resource optimization reduces cost, and improves business performance and profitability
  • Seamless integration with Google Workspace will allow users to switch between Docs to Meets to Slides to Sheets and every other product or service without losing data or focus

Getting Started with Duet AI in Google Docs

Although Duet AI is part of Google Docs, businesses need a Google Workspace account to explore the depth and breadth of services offered. Formerly known as the G Suite, Google Workspace is a cloud-based productivity and collaboration suite containing tools like Gmail, Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, etc.

Note: Users with personal Google accounts can also experiment with the company’s AI capabilities, features, and products by signing up for Google Workspace Labs 
Google Workspace-Waitlist notification for Labs Program
Personal accounts are individually whitelisted

The Google Workspace is available in the following subscription plans (the cost indicated is for yearly commitments):

  • Business Starter: $6 per user per month
  • Business Standard: $12 per user per month
  • Business Plus: $18 per user per month
  • Enterprise: Custom pricing

Select a plan to get started with Google Workspace. While at the checkout, don’t forget to include the Duet AI add-on priced at $30 per user to access the AI assistant. 

Note: If you don’t feel like committing to the paid Enterprise version, consider signing up for a 14-day free trial first.

Once you’ve purchased, sign up to test new generative AI experiences on Google Workspace.

Congrats, you’re all set to use Duet AI!

How to Use AI in Google Docs to Write or Rewrite Text

Now that you have your trusty writing assistant enabled, here’s your guide on how to use AI in Google Docs:

  • Open a new Google Doc file
  • You will see a magic wand icon with a ‘help me write’ message floating on the top-left edge of the blank sheet
  • Click on this icon to open a dialog box where you need to enter your prompt
  • Enter the prompt and click on the ‘Create’ button
  • Within a few seconds, Duet AI will generate text based on your prompt
  • If you’re happy with the output, select ‘Insert,’ and this content gets imported into your Google Doc file
  • If you’re not satisfied with the response, then choose ‘Retry’ under the ‘Refine’ option to generate another draft or version
  • If you wish to adjust or tweak the generated text, select other options under ‘Refine.’ Adjust the tone, summarize, bulletize, elaborate, or shorten the generated content. You can even update the prompt or add context through custom refinement
Help Me Write feature in Google Docs
Help Me Write in Google Docs

The above steps are for creating content from scratch. If you wish to rewrite or edit existing content, here’s how you can do so:

  • Open the existing Google Doc file or copy-paste your content onto a new one
  • Select the sentences or paragraphs that you wish to edit
  • Right-click and hover on the ‘Refine the selected text’ option. Select the adjustment you wish to make, which is elaborate, summarize, etc.

Follow the above steps to use the ‘Help me write’ function on Gmail to auto-populate your email draft.

Help Me Write feature - email
Help Me Write is on email, too

Use Cases of Duet AI Writing Tool

Duet AI’s ‘Help Me Write’ combines speed, versatility, and accuracy. This blend makes it a highly scalable solution to create, edit, refine, and revamp written content across departments and organizations. 

If you need help firing up your AI-powered writing tools, then here are a few use cases to inspire you:

Marketing and sales

Marketing and sales are the most well-known applications of generative AI. Along the same lines, you can use Duet AI for:

  • Content creation and copywriting: Craft marketing copy, blog posts, social media captions, advertisements, and other marketing collateral at scale
  • Content optimization and repurposing: Optimize existing text for search engines to improve ranking. Update high-performing blogs and convert content from one form to another (for example, a case study into an infographic)

Customer support

Duet AI in Google Docs can help with the following customer support activities:

  • Compiling knowledge base: Prepare a library of helpful resources and FAQs to address customer concerns and enable self-servicing
  • Email draft responses: Prepare draft email responses to customer inquiries and support tickets

With Duet AI, highly regulated industries or operations can maintain compliance in the following ways:

  • Business reports and contracts: Generate detailed reports, contracts, or agreements —as a whole or in part—while highlighting key information relating to compliance, security, etc.
  • Accurate invoicing: Leverage Google Docs AI to pull data from Sheets and automate invoicing for increased speed, efficiency, and accuracy

Product development

Product developers can use the combination of Duet AI and Google Docs for the following uses:

  • Brainstorming and ideation: Since Google Docs is a collaborative document editing platform, bring teams together to brainstorm or share suggestions and use the collective ideas as prompts to fuel Duet AI
  • Documentation: Feed product specifications and other information into Duet AI prompts to generate user manuals, feature update announcements, product guides, and other such documents

Research and development

Whether you’re conducting market research or working on the development of a new product, Duet AI can come in handy, as illustrated below:

  • Technical writing: Prepare comprehensive technical documents for new products, processes, value chains, trends and patterns, and more
  • Condensed summaries: Summarize research findings into bare minimum extracts and key findings for external or internal discussions

Tips and Tricks to Boost Operations With Google’s Duet AI

With the above use cases of Google Docs AI writing tool, you may be eager to test its various skills, from note-taking to summary creation. Before you head on this journey, we have a few tips and tricks that can help you get more:

  • Rather than entering only keywords or hanging phrases, craft your prompts to read in natural language—the way it would if you were interacting with a person
  • Offer Duet AI context on what you wish to accomplish from the task. Such a background will enable it to help you better with more value-driven content outputs
  • Include your brand voice, tone, and style while sharing prompts with Duet AI. Also, include the level of expertise of the writer and the target audience for higher engagement
  • If you’re looking to create product or service-specific details, such as a how-to guide, user manual, etc., then share all the relevant information to get a more appropriate response
  • Break down your requests into smaller, separate parts for complex and layered queries. Doing so allows Duet AI to focus on one thing at a time and deliver more comprehensive solutions
  • Avoid using ambiguous or unclear language. Prompts with clear and precise instructions will get a better response

Limitations of Duet AI

Duet AI displays immense potential in unlocking a new plane of business productivity. However, this journey will be anything but smooth sailing due to the following roadblocks:

  • Google has priced Duet AI at $30 per month, which pegs it on par with its direct competitor Microsoft Copilot. Such an aggressive pricing model makes it inaccessible to SMBs, even though the company has indicated future price adjustments
  • Even for enterprises and businesses with deep pockets, Duet AI may not be as much of a steal deal as it currently only performs basic content generation with limited editing functionalities
  • As a fairly new technology, the entire Duet AI toolkit is still a work in progress, with about a year of real-world training. Expect it to make mistakes and remain unreliable until the technology stabilizes
  • Duet AI is currently not in the capacity to handle rare, unusual, or exceptional conditions (edge cases), which may cause it to misinterpret context, generate inappropriate outputs, and deploy model overconfidence
  • Duet AI is vulnerable to model hallucinations caused by a lack of grounding and factuality like any other AI technology. Such mistakes can quickly turn expensive in business applications

Despite its promising appearance, this lackluster performance is why users are looking for alternatives to Google Docs AI. After all, nobody wants to pay for unimaginative, boilerplate content with limited content editing capabilities.

Alternatives to Google Docs ‘Help Me Write’ Duet AI

Duet AI’s ‘Help Me Write’ has some good features but could be better. Fortunately, ClickUp AI is here to pick up its slack.

ClickUp 3.0 AI view general
ClickUp AI performs a variety of functions

Here’s a quick overview of what ClickUp AI has to offer:

  • Content generator: Create a variety of content assets, from blog posts to click-worthy email subject lines and more! Control content variables like brand voice, readability, style, etc. to maximize engagement
Using ClickUp AI to generate a blog post in ClickUp Docs
Use ClickUp AI to generate meaningful content
  • Edit and format content: ClickUp AI is your copywriter to breathe new life into your content assets to polish existing text until you get the best version of your draft. Format content to make it more readable, scannable, and on-brand
Reprompting using ClickUp AI
ClickUp AI can update the tonality of new and existing content
  • Summarizer: Generate summaries for meeting notes, task updates, comment threads, R&D reports, and much more. These summaries take as little as a few seconds and can be incorporated into ClickUp Docs in just one click
Thread Summarization GIF in ClickUp AI
Create summaries from documents, chat threads, and more
  • Action items: Convert running notes, summaries, and other documentation into hierarchical action items. Presented as interactive to-do lists and checklists, this list of tasks and subtasks helps measure and visualize progress
ClickUp AI Test Plan for Inventory Management Example
Convert plans into actions with ClickUp AI
  • Collaborative working: Whether you’re working with a team or individually in partnership with ClickUp AI itself, writing with ClickUp AI makes brainstorming and collaborative working easier and more creative
ClickUp AI Tools for Marketing Teams Write a Case Study Example
Every task is collaborative with ClickUp AI

Here’s where ClickUp AI trumps Google’s Duet AI:

  • It has more comprehensive content generation capabilities to elevate your writing
  • It is competitively priced, making it accessible to startups, SMBs, and enterprises alike
  • You get access to pre-built and pre-configured AI tools for specific industries and departments
  • It comes packaged in an intuitive mobile app that makes on-the-go working easier

Most importantly, ClickUp AI integrates with the ClickUp platform and its underlying modules like ClickUp Docs to translate any content into actionable tasks without switching platforms! Get ready, set, and write with ClickUp AI.

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