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Writing Full-Screen in Google Documents

full-screen-google-docsRead below to learn about gDarkRoom — a Google Documents tweak tailored to provide a full-screen writing console with these features:

  • Full-screen editing usable from any computer
  • Automatic backups of your documents
  • Write full-screen on the road and sync your document back up once you reconnect to the Internet

I have long used full-screen text editors for banging out fiction. Having the old-school dark full-screen — free from distractions — makes for the ideal writing environment. Some of the full-screen editors I have used in the past:

I like to store my writing in Google Documents. The portability can’t be beat (you can log in and read and edit your documents from any computer). And best of all, Google Documents provides built in version control so you can always go back and find old text you’ve (perhaps accidently) deleted. So in the past I’ve used one of the above software packages to write my fiction, and then pasted it into Google Documents after the fact.


Google has recently added a Full-Screen mode. (Hint: it’s under the View menu, or you can click Ctrl-Shift-F). They have also added a feature called ‘Edit CSS’ (CSS stands for Cascading Style Sheet — a feature to change the look and feel of web pages). This, combined with the Google Gears software allows you to write full-screen from any computer with or without Internet access.

How? By using the ‘Edit CSS’ feature, you can add CSS code.

Note this part in particular — this is monitor size specific. You may want to increase or descrease the “260pt” to change the side margins and make corresponding change to the “520pt” width until you get the settings right for you monitor:

.pageview body {
background-color: #000000 !important; /* Make the background color black */
width: 520pt !important; /* Page width */
padding: 0pt 260pt 0pt 260pt; /* Side Margins */
margin: 0;


To the right is the resulting look and feel. In full-screen mode you no longer have access to the menus, so it’s useful to know Google Documents’ keyboard shortcuts and to remember that Esc brings you back to the normal mode.

To style the search bar at the bottom of the screen black, you can download and install the NASA Night Launch Theme for FireFox.

Here is the full CSS code I use to achieve these font effects:

/* Full Screen Editing Style (for 1240x1024 resolution monitor) */
body {
background-color: #000000 !important;
font-family: Garamond !important;
font-size: 18pt !important;
color: #D0A000;

.pageview body {
background-color: #000000 !important;
width: 520pt !important;
padding: 0pt 260pt 0pt 260pt;
margin: 0;

h1 {
padding-top: 26px;
text-transform: uppercase;
font-family: Garamond;
font-size: 22pt;
color: red;
border-bottom: 3px double red;
h2 {
background: url(‘File?id=ad8wdwbvms_905cwjztrfc_b’) no-repeat top left;
padding-top: 12px;
padding-left: 32px;
font-family: Garamond;
font-size: 18pt;
color: #003300;
border-bottom: 2px solid #003300;
h3 {
background: url(‘File?id=ad8wdwbvms_906cb8g4mgj_b’) no-repeat top left;
padding-top: 0px;
padding-left: 32px;
font-family: Garamond;
font-size: 14pt;
color: #003300;
border-bottom: 1px solid #003300;


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