Google Docs has been updated with a major new feature from the world of classic word processing, with pagination finally unveiled for the cloud document editor.

Although some may be surprised that pagination was not included from the off, the feature has now been added to the delight of those who use the service but need to see where the page breaks lie.

"Today, we're doing another first for web browsers by adding a classic word processing feature—pagination, the ability to see visual pages on your screen," blogged software engineer Luiz Pereira.

Printing improvement

"We're also using pagination and some of Chrome's capabilities to improve how printing works in Google Docs. Pagination is rolling out now and should be available to everyone by the end of the day," he continued.

"Pagination adds visual page breaks while you're editing your documents, so now you can see how many pages of that report you've actually finished.

"Because we're able to show you individual pages, we can improve the way other features work too: headers now show up at the top of each page instead of just at the top of your doc, manual page breaks actually move text onto a new page and footnotes appear at the bottom of the pages themselves."

The feature was something that users of Google Docs had asked for, and Google is keen to illustrate that its cloud service can be a genuine competitor to Microsoft's market leading and hugely popular Office suite.

"For now, native printing is only available in Google Chrome, but we're hoping other browsers will implement the same web standard so everyone can have the best possible printing experience with Docs," added Pereira.

"Pagination and native printing are great examples of how modern browsers are making it possible to take the best parts of the desktop experience and bring them online."