Add-ons are third party plugins that take your Google Apps usage to the next level. There are countless add-ons to choose from and it can be overwhelming to filter through them all to find the true superstars. But don’t be disheartened, there are definitely plenty of add-ons that can kick your work efficiency into hyperdrive.
Send a fax from a Google Doc or create personalized mass emails from Google Sheets, the sky’s the limit when you are using the right add-ons. This list of 12 of our favorite add-ons for Google Docs and Sheets will leave you wondering how you ever got your work done without them. And the best part is, they’re free!
1. Turn Google Drive into a fax machine
Fax machines are quickly going extinct. Too bad nobody told your doctor’s office. With HelloFax (website) you can send faxes directly from Google Docs. Save yourself a trip to the local FedEx or Staples, this add-on seamlessly integrates 100-year-old technology with the convenience of digital documents.
2. Google Docs wants your autograph
Signatures are required for everything from legal contracts to field trip permission slips but have always required a physical pen and paper, until now. PandaDoc (website) introduces signatures to the cloud with it’s add-on that allows you to integrate digital signatures into your Google Docs.
3. Add dynamic content to a Doc
Going through a large number of documents to change names and other small details is mind numbingly tedious. If you have ever find yourself in such a situation, you need autoCrat (website), the add-on that will populate dynamic fields in a document for you. Just fill in all the personal information in a spreadsheet, then specify where in the document they will map to, and voila!
4. Thesaurus is convenient, handy, and helpful
Did you use the word ‘utilize’ 6 times in the same proposal? Thesaurus (website) can help by inserting a thesaurus into the sidebar of Google Docs. Highlight a word to find synonyms and antonyms that will improve the diction of your document.
5. Consistency is king
This add-on is most useful for writing long reports and student theses. If you use different numeral types (4/IV), hyphenations (add on/add-on), or spellings of words (flavor/flavour) throughout a document, Consistency Checker (website) will let you know so you can correct the inconsistencies and improve the quality of your document.
6. Find the right image for your document
Clipart is a staple of Microsoft Word, but notably missing from Google Docs. For those of you who are experiencing withdrawal from your favorite vector images, Openclipart (website) is the cure. Access over 50,000 images that are free to use in your Docs without tabbing over to a Google Image Search.
7. The Rosetta Stone for Google Docs
Thanks to globalization and the internet it is common for businesses to interact with customers and partners living all over the world. Unfortunately, communication can be difficult when you aren’t speaking the same language. It’s time you met Translate (website), an add-on that will translate a document’s text right in the sidebar. The one drawback to this add-on is that it does not have as deep a selection of language options as I had hoped.
8. Bringing harmony to Excel and Google Sheets
When your company has gone Google and there are still employees that would would rather crunch data in Excel you can use Data Everywhere (website) to link the Excel spreadsheet to a Google Sheet. This means no matter which platform the data is entered into, it will automatically be synced to everyone regardless of which spreadsheet type they are using.
9. Say goodbye to duplicates
Duplicates are one of the most common issues in large spreadsheets. Finding them all and removing them can be tricky, even with the aid of formulas. Remove Duplicates (website) is the pain-free way to rid a Google Sheet of duplicate data in seconds.
10. Use Spreadsheet data to create custom maps
A few months ago I covered how to create and share customized maps using Google Maps. This add-on takes it a step further and allows you to create maps from spreadsheet data. Just put the location names in one column, the addresses in the other column, and Mapping Sheets (website) will do the rest!
11. Personalized emails en masse
Sending a single email to hundreds of people is impersonal and unprofessional. Nobody has time to compose and send that many individual emails, so what do you do? Yet Another Mail Merge (website) to the rescue! Populate a spreadsheet with your intended list of recipients as well as their personal info then take a sip of your coffee and watch the emails fly.
Bonus: Automate the grading process in Google Sheets
Flubaroo (website) is an advanced add-on that automates the grading process for quizzes and assignments that are completed using Google Forms. Kevin Brookhouser explains how to use this magical add-on for educators in this recent gCON 360 training session from.