How to Switch Between Viewing Modes in Google Docs: A Simple Guide


Michael Collins

Switching between viewing modes in Google Docs is a simple process that allows you to change how you interact with a document. Whether you need to edit, suggest changes, or just view, you can easily switch modes with just a few clicks. This guide will walk you through the steps to change viewing modes and offer some handy tips and FAQs to help you along the way.

Switching Between Viewing Modes in Google Docs

Switching viewing modes in Google Docs allows you to control how you interact with a document. You can choose between editing, suggesting, or viewing modes. Follow these steps to effortlessly change the viewing mode in your document.

Step 1: Open Your Google Docs Document

First, open the Google Docs document you want to work on.

Once you have your document open, you are ready to switch between viewing modes. Keep reading to understand how to do it step-by-step.

Step 2: Locate the Mode Dropdown Menu

At the top-right corner of Google Docs, find the Mode Dropdown Menu.

This menu is typically set to "Editing" by default. It is represented by a pencil icon. Clicking on it will reveal other viewing options.

Step 3: Select the Desired Viewing Mode

Click on the dropdown menu and choose between "Editing," "Suggesting," or "Viewing."

"Editing" allows you to make direct changes to the document. "Suggesting" enables you to make suggestions that can be accepted or rejected later. "Viewing" lets you look at the document without making any changes.

Step 4: Confirm the Mode Change

After selecting the desired mode, ensure that the mode icon changes accordingly.

You will notice that the icon next to the dropdown menu will change to match the mode you have selected. This confirms that you’ve switched modes successfully.

After you complete these steps, your Google Docs document will operate in the mode you selected. For example, if you set it to "Viewing," you won’t be able to edit the document until you switch back to "Editing" or "Suggesting."

Tips for Switching Between Viewing Modes in Google Docs

  • Familiarize with Icons: Each mode has a unique icon. Editing has a pencil, Suggesting has a comment bubble, and Viewing has an eye.
  • Use Shortcuts: Press "Ctrl + Alt + Shift + Z" (Windows) or "Cmd + Option + Shift + Z" (Mac) to quickly switch between modes.
  • Check Permissions: Ensure you have the necessary permissions to switch modes, especially in shared documents.
  • Learn Suggesting Mode: Suggesting mode is great for collaborative work, as it allows others to see your changes as suggestions.
  • Use Viewing for Presentations: Viewing mode is ideal when you need to present without the risk of accidental edits.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of each viewing mode?

Editing allows you to make direct changes. Suggesting lets you propose edits without altering the original text. Viewing lets you read the document without making changes.

Can I switch modes if I am not the owner of the document?

You can switch modes if you have the necessary permissions. If you’re unable to switch, it means you only have viewing access.

How do I suggest changes in Google Docs?

Switch to Suggesting mode and begin typing. Your text will appear as a suggestion that can be accepted or rejected.

What happens if I accidentally switch modes?

You can easily switch back to your desired mode by selecting it from the dropdown menu again.

Can I see who made suggestions in Suggesting mode?

Yes, each suggestion is tagged with the name of the person who made it, making it easy to track changes.


  1. Open your Google Docs document.
  2. Locate the Mode Dropdown Menu.
  3. Select the desired viewing mode.
  4. Confirm the mode change.


Switching between viewing modes in Google Docs is a breeze once you know how to do it. Whether you’re working alone or collaborating with others, understanding how to toggle between Editing, Suggesting, and Viewing modes can greatly enhance your workflow. This guide provided you with a step-by-step tutorial, tips, and FAQs to ensure you’re well-equipped to manage your documents efficiently.

Remember, using the right mode for the right task can save you time and prevent errors. So go ahead and try switching modes in your next Google Docs project. If you found this guide helpful, explore more tips and tricks on our website to become a Google Docs pro. Happy editing!