Google Docs just added what I consider to be a feature that is needed to help bridge the gap between desktop and online word processing. They added a page view (as expected) that is typical of any desktop word processor, and it’s almost like getting a live print preview while you work. To access the new setting go to the View menu, and select the fixed-width page view option.
It’s still not quite perfect though. For one it doesn’t take into account any margins you specify in the File -> Print Settings. So it still makes it difficult to see exactly what your document will look like before you actually print it, because after all there is no real “print preview” option. And even though this is considered a page view it doesn’t actually flow onto another page as you reach the end of one. Instead it just extends the height of the page as much as necessary.
Replicating a page layout seems to be a tough chore for these online word processors. Zoho has a page layout option as well, but when using theirs you cannot edit the document. So it would actually be better suited to be called a print preview since it actually does split the document up onto multiple pages as needed.
I don’t know about you, but when I write documents I like to keep them in a page layout. That way you have some idea of just how long it actually is, and Google has made a step in the right direction with this update. It may not be 100% what I was hoping for, but I’m sure they will continue to improve on it.