Explore your files in Google Docs

Search & Navigate displays all your doc headings, bookmarks, links, images, and tables on different tabs in the sidebar. Its instant search filters data by keywords on all tabs at once. You can also see text search results on a separate tab to navigate to any part of the document.

Video: How to explore your file in Google Docs

How to work with Search & Navigate

Start the add-on

To begin with, open the add-on from Extensions > Search & Navigate > Start:
Run Search & Navigate from the Google Docs menu.
You will see the add-on sidebar with 6 tabs for you to navigate the document.

Browse the document by headings

Open the first tab, and the entire structure of your document will be shown in a tree view. Expand or collapse any heading to see all levels of content you have:
Navigate the doc by heading from its TOC.

  1. Point your mouse to any heading to see its level or click on it to jump to the corresponding chapter of the document.
  2. To see only headings of the first level (H1) click on the Collapse button. Click again to expand the list back.
  3. To refresh the list, press the Refresh button at the bottom of the sidebar.
Tip. You can also enable auto-update for headings in the Options.

Work with bookmarks

The Bookmarks tab contains a full list of bookmarks in the order they appear in the document. By clicking on the bookmark in the list, you will jump to the referred place in the document.

All bookmarks have the same name by default, each one displays the referred text so you could recognize where it leads:
Add, rename, delete, or get a link to the bookmark.

  1. The button with three dots will give you access to 3 ways to manage the bookmarks:
    • Choose Rename to change the name of your bookmark. Enter a new name in the editable field and confirm changes by pressing Enter on your keyboard:
      Enter a new name and save or cancel changes.
    • Choose the Show link option to get a link to the bookmarked place in the document:
      Get the link to your bookmark.

      Tip. Press Esc to close the link view.
    • Remove a bookmark by choosing the Delete option.
  2. To create a new bookmark, select the desired paragraph in the document and click on the Add button at the bottom of the sidebar.
  3. The Refresh button at the bottom of the sidebar will update the list of bookmarks.
Note. At the moment, this tab is available in the Doc Tools collection only. Coming soon to the standalone Search & Navigate add-on.

Under the Links tab you'll find a list of all hyperlinks your Google document contains. Click on any link to jump to it in the text.
Manage links in your Google Docs.

  1. The three-dots button will let you:
    • Open the URL of the link in the new browser tab.
    • Edit the link or copy it for other purposes:
      Change the required link.

      Tip. Press Enter on your keyboard to confirm the edits or Esc if you change your mind.
  2. The Refresh button will scan your document & update the list of all links.
Tip. To remove the link, click on it in the add-on to jump to it in the document and use the standard Remove the link option:
Unlink your text in Google Docs.

Manage images or tables

All the images and tables you have in the document are listed with their titles (the text above them) on their respective tabs.

Tip. You can switch to the text from under the images in the Options.

Select an image or table in the list and you'll jump right to it in the document:
Check the list of all images from your document.

Find text

The Search field at the very top comes in handy when you need to look for a specific text, bookmark, link, picture, or table quickly.

Once you enter a word there, the add-on starts looking for matches across all tabs, i.e. in all types of data, simultaneously:
Search for certain text within all elements of your document.
You can see the number of matches under each tab icon.

Tip. You can make the search case sensitive in the Options.

Switch between the tabs to see the results in context:

  • The first tab has the headings with the searched text highlighted in yellow. It will also let you see a list of found items within each section.
  • The tabs with bookmarks, images, and tables will show only those titles that contain the keywords.
  • The tab with links will show all URLs with the desired text.
  • To see all occurrences of the entered word in the document text, go to the last tab. You can navigate to any found sentence in the document by clicking on the result.

Set additional options

There are three additional options that let you adjust the add-on work a bit:
Extra settings.

  1. Check off the first one to automatically synchronize and update the list of headings, bookmarks, links, images, and tables from your document.
  2. Select the second option to take the case into account when entering the text you are looking for in the document.
  3. Tick off the last checkbox to consider the text from under the images (rather than above) as the titles that will appear in the list.


Thank you so much for creating the add-on.

I am not good with terminology.

The add-on displays a list of bookmarks with the text of destinations. Cool!

Is there a way to find all links opening or pointing to that particular bookmark, or that particular text, or that particular destination.

Or is there a way to find all so to speak go to top links in a google text document when it has five various "go to top" links? Like jump up and star reading here and please read it again from the beginning


I've been trying to get this to work for about 30 minutes, all my other add-ons work except this one. I've uninstalled and reinstalled a dozen times, and all that it says next to it is 'help', there is no 'start' or 'launch' option.

Hello Leigh,

Sorry you are having difficulties with our add-on.
First, please note that there is currently an issue on the side of Google Sheets that occurs when you are logged in under more than one account. I kindly ask you to sign out and log back in only under the account you used to grant permissions to the add-on. If this doesn't help, please specify what browser and operating system you use. We'll do our best to assist you.

I created several bookmarks in several documents.
I would like to find all these bookmarks from any other document.
It seems that bookmarks are associated with one and only one document, is it possible to share bookmarks for all my documents?

thank you

Christine Calhoun says:
December 16, 2018 at 9:28 pm

There is no start button for me to use this add on anymore. I had this in my google docs for free before. When I go into add ons and search for it it says manage next to the add on instead of free. Do I have to purchase it somewhere now? If so how? When I click on purchase it takes me to a page with a bunch of other things not search and navigate add on.

Thank you.

Thank you for reporting this problem, Christine.

If you see the green Manage button next to the add-on name, it means it's already installed to your Google Docs. You should see it directly under Add-ons > Search & Navigate > Start (not in the Manage add-ons section).

If it's not there, please try to reload the spreadsheet and see if the Start option appears in the menu.
Also, please try and go to Add-ons > Manage add-ons, click the Manage button next to the add-on name, and make sure the option to Use in this document is checked.

If this doesn't help as well, please email us to support@ablebits.com with the screenshot of what you see in the menu and specify what browser and operating system you use.
We'll do our best to assist you.

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