If you’ve been having issues with weird text formatting or just generally been unable to edit Google Docs or Slides for the last day or two, turns out that’s A Thing. We don’t know the precise cause or why it’s only starting to happen now, but the issue is related to using an ad blocker, and disabling it for that page or those domains can fix things.
We’ve seen a smattering of reports regarding the issue for the last day or so, seemingly affecting both Google Docs and Slides, and cropping up at venues such as Reddit and Twitter. We aren’t sure if it affects any other Google Workspace services.
At least one of us on the AP staff has also run into it, and it can manifest in a few different ways. In the “mildest” cases, text simply starts to wrap itself beneath other elements on the page in a way that obscures it. In more extreme cases, text can be overlaid on top of itself zalgo-style,
It may vary, but in some cases, I’m told that the issue even prevents document editing entirely. It also isn’t happening to everyone — some folks on Chromebooks are running into the issue, others on Windows are having problems, and we aren’t sure if the sudden change is tied to a specific Chrome version or release.
However, one known cause is also the solution: Extensions such as ad blockers have been proven to trigger the problem for some, and “pausing” or exempting the page from adblocking or disabling the extension outright fixes the issue in many cases.
uh is anyone else having a glitch like this on google docs or do i need to do something? pic.twitter.com/24kcRbvqbY
— ( ♡ ) ( 📺 miraculous witch of fate ) (@basicbaka) April 14, 2021
In some cases, those affected may think that adblock is disabled for a given domain, but double-check for that specific page if you are still experiencing the problem. If you’re navigating there from docs.new, for example, it may not match the rules you have in place.
A support thread at the Docs Editors Help site also has a few other workarounds. Extensions other than adblockers that modify page content could also cause the issue, so you may also want to try disabling all of your extensions if other solutions don’t work. Lastly, you can also try a different browser — most of those that run into problems indicate it’s Chrome-only.
— Kyle Jones (@kyjones25) April 14, 2021
We’ve also reached out to Google for more information regarding the issue and why it’s only started affecting people in the last few days. We’ll be sure to update if any additional information is forthcoming. Yesterday Google noted an issue that could cause “unexpected behavior” which has ostensibly been fixed, though we aren’t sure if it’s related to this.
Lastly, I feel the need to point out: If you’re using an adblocker, consider disabling it for sites like ours. It’s how most of the internet and the places you enjoy reading or watching content from make a living, and without them, we wouldn’t be able to exist (though we try very hard not to go overboard with ours).