Smart Reply is coming to Google Docs. Here’s how to turn it off

By Mark Sullivan

August 25, 2021

Google announced Tuesday that it is bringing Gmail’s Smart Reply feature over to Google Docs. Now you’ll be able to reply to your boss’s comments on your latest treatise with short, canned responses generated by a machine-learning model. The feature will be turned on by default when it rolls out over the next few weeks.

Smart Reply’s AI-generated response choices will appear in buttons at the bottom of the comments window. Google’s goal is to help you save time replying to comments, but its utility isn’t entirely clear. Dashing off a short reply with your keyboard isn’t a huge time suck. And for more substantive responses to comments, Smart Reply will be of no use at all.

The new feature also comes with a warning of sorts: “Smart Compose and Smart Reply don’t provide answers and may not always provide factually correct information.”

Smart Reply is related to Smart Compose, which also uses Google’s powerful natural language models to help users respond to emails quickly. My colleague Mark Wilson had mixed results when he tried it out.

Most Docs users will probably just ignore the Smart Reply buttons, but I personally don’t want be distracted by them. So here’s how to turn Smart Reply off once you start seeing it:

>Open a file.
>At the top, click Tools, then click Preferences.
>To turn Smart Reply on or off, click Show Smart Reply suggestions.
>Click “Ok.”

Now you can go back to using Google Docs without any pesky suggestions.