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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. While we initially didn’t know the precise cause or why it’s only happening right now, Google Drive Product Manager Remy Burger is pointing at recent changes some adblockers have implemented — so disabling content blockers on Drive, Docs, Slides, and Co. might fix the problem for you.
If you encounter any issues with margins or paragraphs in Google Docs right now, this is due to recent changes that @getadblock / EasyList made. Unfortunately it’s out of our control. Either put https://t.co/YzuEBoCXg1 on the allowlist, or disable the ad blocker to get it fixed.
— Remy Burger (@RemyBurger) April 14, 2021
Burger details that the problem stems from changes to AdBlock’s and EasyList’s blocklists, which are used by most if not all adblockers. That’s also why Google can’t or won’t do anything to fix the issue — it’s been introduced by adblockers and is to be corrected by them. Thankfully, AdBlock has already issued a statement saying it will resolve the problem shortly, so you might not have to wait for a proper fix for too long.
@ricardojrsousa Thanks for flagging this! It looks like there’s an issue with one of the primary filter lists in AdBlock, but the filter list authors are working on a fix as we speak. Appreciate the report!
— AdBlock (@getadblock) April 14, 2021
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. And if you’ve only added drive.google.com to your allowlist, you might have to add docs.google.com, too.
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
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).