There is no shortage of useful add-ons for Google Docs. Just a quick search will bring up tools that can help speed up document creation and ensure you produce the best document that you can.
Want to have your Google Doc transcribe your speech? There’s an add-on for that. What about translating your writing into a foreign language, create reports or insert your signature? There’s a Google Docs add-on for all of those.
Here, we list the Google Docs add-ons that we found most useful when writing, editing and sharing documents.
For Google Docs tips and tricks see: Google Docs tips everyone should know.
There are a number of add-ons that help to improve the accessibility of Google Docs. Speakd reads your document aloud, allowing you to listen out for mistakes or sentences which don’t quite flow as you’d like – perfect for journalists who don’t have the luxury of getting their work subbed!
Speakd also allows you to generate reading-time estimates for whatever you’re writing. Unfortunately, this add-on currently only has one re-back speed which some users have criticised as being quite slow.
The Wolfram|Alpha add-on is a fun little tool that essentially provides users with a Google search functionality from the comfort of their own Google Doc.
Installing the add-on will insert a toolbar into your document. Simply enter a search term into the bar, hit ‘Compute Selection’ and Wolfram|Alpha will pull up lots of relevant information regarding your query and insert it into the text.
DocSecrets allows users to annotate a group document and select who sees certain annotations. For example, if your document contains sensitive information such as passwords, DocSecret will encrypt and hide it.
Once you have enabled this add-on, you can add a ‘passphrase’ to the DocSecrets sidebar, then type any sensitive information to add to your document. To reveal any of this censored information, simply enter your passphrase and voila – you can view all the information enclosed within the document.
If you work in the events industry, you'll often rely on barcodes and QR codes to manage entries into an event.
Barcodes are also useful for accessing data quickly from printed documents. You could add a barcode or QR code to the bottom of a document to provide additional information for the recipient.
Koodid Barcodes is a simple Docs add-on that lets you choose from a massive range of barcode types and QR codes - 80 in fact. All you need to do is add in the value that you want to be encoded on the barcode.
You can adjust the size and rotate it as well, which should mean most barcodes will fit on your document.
While your keyboard will house most of the functionality you'll ever need, if you work across different territories and are required to write in a number of languages, your keyboard won't have the regional keys you'll need.
Easy Accents will supply you with all the keys you'll need, including accents for 25 languages.
If you need to sign a document in Google Docs, HelloSign will let you sign your signature in a box, and then you can drag and paste the signature onto the document.
To make a document for other people to sign, you mark an area in the document where you want the signature to be placed; enter their email addresses into the HelloSign tool panel and they will receive the document through HelloSign's servers with instructions on how to sign it online.
If you’re looking for clearer formatting for your Google Docs, Text Cleaner will let you fix and clean up text when copying and pasting between applications. It allows you to remove email incidents and clean up spacing as well as use its find and replace tool.
If you use a plain text editor this add-on lets you copy texts from outside documents and remove formatting to mirror the effect of a plain text editor. This way you can take advantage of Google’s auto-saving and collaboration features without adhering to its formality.
The Lucidchart uses HTML5 to insert and create charts, diagrams, mind maps and more easily and quickly. Users can choose from hundreds of shapes and designs and even drag and drop their own images into a diagram or chart.
Custom templates can be made for shared use across organisations too, making this an excellent tool for startups creating a uniform business style.
Supermetrics is an all in one analytics tool for your Google Docs.
Its user-friendly interface pulls in data from your analytics tools to create automated graphs and reports. It also lets you create daily alerts and send data reports, ideal for keeping track of data analytics.
This free tool breaks down information by date, social platform and location and integrates with Google Analytics, Twitter, AdWords and Bing Ads.
AppSheets is an add-on available in Google Docs that can put your data into a readable app. Here's how:
(1) Create a document template with placeholders for input fields.
(2) Launch the AppSheet add-on from your add-ons menu.
(3) Click "prepare" and then "launch" within the AppSheet sidebar. This will take you to www.appsheet.com in a new browser tab.
(4) If this is the first time you are using AppSheet, you will be prompted to sign in to AppSheet with Google and provide the necessary permissions.
(5) Voila, you have a mobile app via AppSheet! You can capture data via your mobile app. Each recorded entry results in an email with the data results merged into a copy of the document template.
(6) From this starting point, choose to modify and enhance your app using the many features in the AppSheet platform. Explore advanced features such as image, scanner and signature capture, as well as rich display of the form responses via maps, image galleries, and charts. (Taken from AppSheet)
(See also: How to market apps)
When you need to have a document approved - not revised - by other people (with whom you are sharing the document through Google Drive), this add-on will coordinate everything.
After a designated person has looked over the document, they then click the "approve" button and can add a brief comment. Letter Feed Workflows will keep a tally of the approvals.
Voice Typing is a voice dictations add-on for Google Docs.
This tool lets you type with your voice as well adding formats and highlighting text. It allows you to select a word or phrase to edit, italicise, bold or underline.
Set up should be easy by enabling voice typing in the tools menu and clicking a microphone icon. It also checks grammatical errors and spelling mistakes as well as supporting 43 languages.
This add-on emails a message you compose in Google Docs to addresses listed on a Google Sheets spreadsheet. You can include fields in the message where personalised text goes (e.g. the recipient’s name).
These fields will be filled in with the corresponding information from the Google Sheets spreadsheet you created containing the email addresses and personal data pertaining to them.
This add-on simply sets the Google Translate website tool inside a panel in Google Docs. Technically speaking, it’s not a big deal - you can keep translate.google.com open in another Chrome tab.
If you happen to be working on a document that requires lots of language translating, though, it could be handy to have this tool more readily accessible on the same page as the document.