How To Make Cornell Notes On Google Docs – A Comprehensive & Detailed Guide

Nicholas Russell
By Nicholas Russell 11 Min Read
11 Min Read

How to Make Cornell Notes in Google Docs

Hey there, we’re going to learn how to create Cornell Notes in Google Docs. Plus, we’ll give you a free Cornell Notes template to download!

Why Do We Need Cornell Notes in Google Docs?

You might be wondering why this is important. Well, it’s because working together and learning as a team is super important for students. Google Docs is a cool tool that lets you work together with your classmates on your notes and assignments. Unlike some other tools, Google Docs keeps track of who did what, so your teacher knows who contributed.

What’s So Great About Working Together in Google Docs?

Studies have shown that when students work together, it helps them develop skills like teamwork, being social, and using computers. With Google Docs, you can easily share your notes and work on them together. You can also control who can edit your documents, which keeps your work safe and prevents anyone from messing it up. The best part is you can all work on the same document at the same time!

What Are Cornell Notes and Why Are They Helpful?

Now, let’s talk about Cornell Notes. It’s a way to take notes that’s simple and really useful. It beats other methods like outlining or making charts. Here’s why Cornell Notes are awesome:

  1. Simple and Efficient: They’re easy to use and help you save time.
  2. Organized Layout: Your notes look neat and organized on the page.
  3. Great for Studying: Cornell Notes are super helpful when you’re getting ready for exams.

How to Take Cornell Notes:

  • Header: This part is for writing down the title, date, class, and topic of your notes.
  • Keywords or Questions: Jot down important keywords or questions that pop up during the lesson.
  • Notes: This is where you write the main ideas and important stuff.
  • Summary: Finally, you summarize what you’ve learned in your own words.

Can You Customize Cornell Notes in Google Docs?

Yes, you can! Google Docs has ready-made templates, but you can also make your own if your school or teacher allows it. Just remember, this article helps you create a Cornell Notes template, but it doesn’t show you how to share it with others in Google Docs.

 Creating a Cornell Notes Template in Google Docs

Are you ready to make your own Cornell Notes template in Google Docs? We’ll guide you through it step by step!

Step 1: Getting Started

Open Google Docs and go to “Insert” and then “Table.” Choose how many rows and columns you want for your table.

Step 2: Making the Header

Select the first two cells in the top row of your table. Right-click and choose “Merge cells.” This top row is where you’ll put important info like the name, date, and class. Make sure the text looks neat by adjusting line and paragraph spacing.

Step 3: Adding Notes

In the second row, second cell, write down your lecture notes. You can use abbreviations to keep it short and sweet. Make the heading center-aligned.

Step 4: Keywords and Questions

In the second row, first cell, jot down keywords, dates, and main ideas. You can also write down questions related to your notes.

Step 5: Summarizing

The third row is for summarizing what you’ve learned in your own words. This helps you understand the subject better.

Step 6: Styling Your Table

Now, make your table look great! Change the font style, size, text color, and even the cell colors. You can do this by selecting the text and using the formatting options below the menu.

Step 7: Customizing Row Height and More

To change row height, column width, and cell alignment, right-click on the table and select “Table Properties.” You can also make the header row repeat on each page or let text flow to the next pages.

Step 8: More Customization

In the “Table Properties” toolbar, you can adjust the column width, cell alignment, and more. You can align the table to the left, right, or middle.

Step 9: Saving Your Template

If you have a Google Workspace account, you can save your template to the Google Docs template gallery. This way, you can share it with others and control who can edit it.

Step 10: Exploring More Templates

Google Docs has lots of templates, and you can even create your own! You can use these templates in Google Slides, Sheets, and Classroom.

Making a Three-Column Cornell Notes Template

But what if you need more columns for extra information? Let’s learn how to create a three-column Cornell Notes template!

Step 1: Starting a New Document

Open or create a new Google document.

Step 2: Creating the Information Table

Go to “Insert,” then “Table,” and select a 2×5 table (2 columns and 5 rows).

Step 3: Inserting the Table

You’ll see a 2×5 table in your document.

Step 4: Merging Cells

Select the first two rows in both columns, right-click, and choose “Merge Cells.” This will make room for important info like the topic, name, date, and class.

Step 5: Adding Text

Put text in the table cells (like “Topic,” “Name,” “Date,” “Word Bank,” and “Class/Period”). To make space for questions, merge the fourth and fifth rows too.

Step 6: Creating a Notes Table

Below the first table, insert another table (Insert -> Table) with 3 columns and 2 rows. Add headers like “Questions,” “Vocab/Main Idea,” “Notes,” and “Step/Diagrams/Graphics.”

Step 7: Adjusting Row Size

Make more space for notes in the second row of this table by dragging the bottom line down.

Step 8: Final Summary Table

At the end of your document, insert a 1×1 table. Drag the bottom to give yourself enough space for the summary.

 Adjusting Margins in Your Cornell Notes Template

If you want to change the margins in your Cornell Notes template on Google Docs, here’s how you can do it:

Step 1: Open Page Setup

Click on “File” and select “Page Setup.”

Step 2: Modify Margins

By default, Google Docs has 1-inch margins on all sides, which might make your tables feel cramped. To make more space for your tables, change all the margins to 0.5 inches (for the top, bottom, left, and right margins). Then, click “Ok.”

Now, your document’s margins are smaller, and you have more room for your notes and tables!

Changing the Background Color

If you want to give your Cornell Notes template a different background color, here’s how to do it:

Step 1: Open Page Setup

Click on “File” and select “Page Setup.”

Step 2: Choose a Background Color

Click on the color button (shown in position 1 in the picture) and pick a background color you like. For example, if you choose yellow, your entire document’s background will turn yellow. Finally, press “Ok.”

Now, your Cornell Notes template will have a colorful background to make it stand out!

Adding Header Information to Your Cornell Notes Template

Let’s make your Cornell Notes template in Google Docs look even better by adding some header info!

Step 1: Adding a Title

  1. Double click on the header part of your document.
  2. Type in your document title.
  3. Make the text bold and slightly bigger so it stands out.

Step 2: Including a Company Logo

  1. To make it fancier, you can even add a company logo.
  2. Go to “Insert,” then “Image,” and choose “Upload from computer.”
  3. Select your company logo image.

Step 3: Adjusting Logo Size and Position

  1. Arrange the logo where you want it and resize it by clicking and dragging with your mouse.

That’s how you can make your Cornell Notes template look professional with a title and company logo!

Adding Page Numbers

Page numbers are important, so let’s add them to your Cornell Notes template.

Step 1: Inserting Page Numbers

  1. Double click on the footer part of your document.
  2. You’ll see the option to edit the footer.
  3. Click on “Options” and choose “Page Numbers.”

Step 2: Customizing Page Numbers

  1. Make sure the “Show on first page” box is checked.
  2. You can also choose where numbering should start (for example, at page 1).
  3. Click “Apply.”

Now, you’ll have page numbers in the footer of your Cornell Notes template!

Note to Remember About Cornell Notes in Google Docs

  • Don’t forget to save your template in the Google Docs template gallery.
  • You can insert drawings, charts, and other graphics in the Notes section of the table.


Creating a Cornell Notes template in Google Docs is a basic version, but you can get creative with formatting and designs. You can also adjust accessibility settings for other users. Google Docs is a user-friendly tool that has lots of potential, so don’t be afraid to explore and use it!

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are Cornell Notes and why are they useful?

Cornell Notes is a note-taking system that helps students organize their thoughts and retain information effectively. It provides a structured format for taking notes, making it easier to review and study later on.

2. How do I make Cornell Notes on Google Docs?

To make Cornell Notes on Google Docs, you can follow these steps:
  • Open Google Docs and create a new document.
  • Create a table with two columns.
  • In the left column, write down the main ideas or topics.
  • In the right column, jot down key points, explanations, and examples related to each main idea.
  • After the lecture or reading, summarize the notes at the bottom of the page.
  • Review and study your Cornell Notes for better understanding and retention.

3. How should I format the Cornell Notes on Google Docs?

To format Cornell Notes on Google Docs, you can:
  • Adjust the table size and borders to make it visually appealing and easy to follow.
  • Use bold or headings for the main ideas to make them stand out.
  • Use bullet points or numbering for key points and examples.
  • Use highlighting or different text colors to mark important information.

4. Can I add images or diagrams to my Cornell Notes on Google Docs?

Yes, you can add images or diagrams to your Cornell Notes on Google Docs. Simply click on "Insert" in the menu bar, then select "Image" or "Drawing" to add visual elements that enhance your understanding of the subject.

5. How can I share my Cornell Notes with others on Google Docs?

To share your Cornell Notes with others on Google Docs, you can:
  • Click on the "Share" button in the top-right corner of the document.
  • Choose whether you want to share via email, link, or specific people.
  • Set the desired permissions (view, comment, or edit) for the recipients.

6. Can I access my Cornell Notes on Google Docs offline?

Yes, you can access your Cornell Notes on Google Docs offline by enabling the offline mode. Open Google Docs, go to the "Settings" menu, toggle on the "Offline" option, and follow the instructions to set it up. This way, you'll be able to view, edit, and create new Cornell Notes even without an internet connection.
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