Google’s document editors (Docs, Sheets and Slides) are all increasingly advanced applications – especially when used across different devices. However, one of the benefits that we love about web-based tools like these is that creative developers are free to create tools that integrate with and enhance the core features. When it comes to Google these are called Add-Ons: there are countless great Add-Ons available to make sure you get all the functionality you need but we thought we would pick out ten particular favourite of ours:
This add-on allows you to create charts and diagrams within Docs. There’s drag and drop functionality which makes it very easy to put together flowcharts, floor plans and all sorts of diagrams. Simply choose what you’d like to make from the template gallery, complete your graphic and then drop it into your Google Doc. Lucidchart has a free trial which lets you use the service in five Google Docs, but if you want to carry on from there, you’ll need to cough up for the full version, which starts around £25 per year.
No prizes for guessing the primary function of Envelopes… The add-on creates properly formatted envelopes from the current document you have open. All you need to do is select the envelope size from the list added to your Docs menu, add your text and there you go, ready to send. Just don’t try to lick it…
Add here: http://ow.ly/ToraD
Table of Contents
If you’re ever working on a huge document, wishing you could quickly jump from one section to another, then this is the add-on for you. Table of Contents provides a sidebar that automatically creates links to each and every heading in your document. When you want to edit a section, simply click the link in the sidebar and the document will display the section you need to work on.
Add here: http://ow.ly/Tor5y
A lot of the time, it’s the most simple functions that can be the most useful and save the most time. As you probably guessed, Split Names allows you to split the names from your Contacts column into two for First and Last name. It’s a very simple add-on, but it does it’s job very well. You can specify if the column has a header which prevents any accidental data mixing, as well as selecting if your data contains any middle names or double barrel last names.
Remove Blank Rows
This may sound like one of the most basic functions you could ask for, but don’t write it off as one of the most useful until you’ve been working on an enormous database full of blank rows leaving all your hard work looking unorganised. The add-on will search your spreadsheet for empty rows, then with one click, blasts them all away and condenses your data.
Add here: http://ow.ly/ToqSb
If you have more than one recipient for an email, and you’d like them all to receive personalised messages, then Mail Merge will help you do it with ease. Simply write up a draft in Gmail, create a spreadsheet and select Mail Merge from the add-on’s menu. The Sheet will automatically convert and display the required sections, then either copy in your names and addresses or import your Google Contacts. You can include as many variables as you’d like in your emails, as well as different attachments for each person on your list, just add in extra columns to your Mail Merge sheet and it’ll do all the work for you.
You may have guessed from the name that this add-on has something to do with conference calls… but what you might not have guessed is that it allows you to invite up to 10 people into an audio call to discuss the Google Doc that you’re all working on. You can even choose to record the call for future reference as well. The add-on comes with a sidebar that can be selected from the top menu, then all you have to do is add the documents contributors to the list of participants. Each person will then receive an email invitation, and you’ll begin to see them appear within the sidebar when they start accepting.
Love lists? Love mind maps? Perfect. MindMeister takes your bullet-point lists and turns them into mind maps for you to display with your Google Doc. The first bullet-point will be the main topic of the mind map, and the rest of the first-level points are converted into first-level topics. From there, the second-level bullet-points will go on to become second-level topics, and so on.
This add-on does exactly what it says on the tin, it maps your sheets. Simply create a spreadsheet with a list of places and it’ll plot them all on a Google Map. This is a great tool to help with journey mapping and visualising the coverage of individual branches etc. The add-on can input all sorts of data such as your friends’ addresses, your appointments for next week and also your business contacts. Another good feature when viewing your data in Google maps, is having access to the fastest filtering and searching tools around.
Tired of copying and pasting bits and pieces from your Google Analytics into your spreadsheets and Docs for sharing? Now you can let Analytics Canvas import your data and analyse it even further for you before displaying it within a dashboard. From there, you can share it with whoever you like.