How to get work done in Quip

The most fundamental thing you do in Quip is work with your team. Work comes in many forms, but typically it leverages documents and spreadsheets to capture notes, plans, or calculations. What's different about Quip documents compared to other work tools you've used, is that Quip documents are alive and rich. You can build powerful pieces of work by embedding spreadsheets or images, spark discussions anywhere with @mentions, and track it all with Quip's unique document sidebar. Quip balances structured documents with free-flowing conversations so your team can do your best work yet. Here are 3 things you need to know about how work gets done in Quip.

What you'll learn...

Documents are for more than just words

Quip docs are built to function as a collaborative work space for your team. It's best to think about a Quip doc as a canvas because Quip lets you do so much more than just put words on a page.

Get your teammates' attention with @mentions

One of the benefits of having all your teammates and all of your work in one place is access. Quip gives you instant access to your teammates and your work in a single keystroke. If there's one key to try in Quip, it's @.

Just like Twitter and Facebook, you can @mention teammates to bring their attention to a document, spreadsheet, or conversation.

@mention someone in a document and they get an instant notification from Quip to come see the document. Once they visit your agenda, they can add questions, materials, notes, and action items. Quip is great for collaborative note-taking since multiple people can edit the same document at the same time. No one has to be solely responsible for capturing the highlights of a lively meeting.

Assign work and keep track of deliverables with tasks

Quip documents and spreadsheets are perfect for managing a team to-do list — assign tasks, set deadlines, and keep track of everything that needs to be done to complete a project.

It's easy to create a checklist in a document where you can assign tasks to your teammates.

Or you can also set up a project plan using a spreadsheet.

Embed spreadsheets in documents to give your data context

Looking at a spreadsheet without any context is like looking at abstract art. What exactly am I looking at here? Too often collaborating on a spreadsheet requires a lengthy email explanation, a meeting, or an entire presentation. There’s a ton of work about work when collaborating on spreadsheets as a team.

In Quip, you can embed your spreadsheets in your team’s documents to give your data the context it needs to be useful – no more emails, meetings, or long presentations. Everything you need to know about your spreadsheet is in one place. Your team always has the full story – background, discussions, and highlights that live in the document and complement the data in your spreadsheet.

This is the real magic of Quip spreadsheets. They aren't a separate app or file type, but instead they’re seamlessly integrated into your experience. You don't have to choose between text, images, task lists, or spreadsheets — you can combine everything in one place:

By integrating spreadsheets directly into your documents, your data isn't trapped in separate files. You can refer to data in your spreadsheets in the text of your documents by typing = and the cell name. It’s a really powerful way to create an executive summary, showcase the important data in larger spreadsheets, or focus the attention of a meeting.

Even better, when you update your spreadsheet, the text in your document updates magically too.

Pro-tip: Quip's editor convert markdown on the fly

New to Markdown? That's okay. Markdown is a plain text formatting syntax used by web writers and developers everywhere. Simply put, it's an easy system of formatting commands that enable you to create numbered and bulleted lists, headers, checklists, new code blocks and even comment windows without lifting your fingers off the keyboard. You just need to learn a few simple keystrokes to get started!

  • Type * or - then space to start a bulleted list
  • Type // then space at the end of a line or paragraph to add a comment
  • Type # or ## or ### then space to add a heading 1, 2, or 3 respectively
  • Hit space 4 times to start a new code block
  • Type [] then space (two brackets) to start a new checklist
  • Type {{ add text }} to turn the contents contained within the brackets into inline code
  • Type === to add a horizontal rule

Work is always discussed in context with inline comments

Quip's inline comments deliver the context you need to discuss work with your teammates intelligently and purposefully. There's nothing worse than trying to respond to feedback through a long email conversation where you have to keep jumping back and forth between applications for reference. What's useful about Quip's inline comments is that they are targeted, real-time, and rich.

Give targeted feedback with inline comments

You can add a comment to an entire line in a document by clicking the chat bubble icon. You can give get more specific by highlighting a letter, word, or sentence of text. This will highlight the selected text and add a comment.

Just like commenting on the text of a document in Quip, you can comment on individual cells in spreadsheets. Questions, feedback, and decisions can be settled where they matter.

Spark discussions in real-time

Quip is lightning fast, just like your teammates can hop into team channels or chat rooms to answer a question, they can hop into a document or spreadsheet and do the same. The rate at which you can close the loop on a piece of work is incredible.

Simply, @mention one of your teammates to call their attention to a particular line, cell, or task in Quip to bring them in so they can contribute. What's great is they have all the context and can respond immediately. It's easy to have a real-time conversation – you can see that they are typing – and in no time the loop is closed.

Discuss work in living color

You can think of every inline comment thread as a chat thread – equipped with @mentions, files and images, link previews, emoji, /giphy, and more. When you can have rich discussions about a document they become a valuable piece of the content too.


The document you're viewing is always the up-to-date version

Every document or spreadsheet in Quip has a sidebar that tracks every edit, inline comment, and document-level message. This is where you can track the entire life of a document, starting from it's origin. What's great about this, is that you never have to worry whether a Quip doc is up-to-date because it is, it's alive.

Attaching a file to an email as a means of sharing work with your team is problematic. It's slow, you have to download the attachment, the file is silo'd to the email, giving feedback requires switching back and forth between the file and your email, and edits require some crazy_file_naming_conventions_4563.xls.

The sidebar is a great place to facilitate a conversation with your team about the respective document and share information. As is the case across Quip, you can @mention teammates to bring them into the conversation.

Read our next guide to learn how to use @mentions in Quip.


  • How to create new docs in Quip
  • How to spark conversations in docs
  • How to use Quip's unique document sidebar
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