Wednesday, October 14, 2015

10 Useful Add-ons for Google Docs and Google Sheets

Recently Google introduced add-ons for Google Docs and Google Sheets, which make the Google Office productivity suite more capable and useful for businesses. To help you get the most out of Google Docs and Sheets, you can open any Google document or Spreadsheet and look for the new adds-on menu. For a beginner, adds-on in Google Docs are just like extensions for Google Chrome browser, add-ons simply extend the functionality of the Google Office productivity suite.
The Google Chrome store had about 50 add-ons at the time of launch, and most of them are free, while some offer premium versions with extra features or services. I experimented with several add-ons available for Google Docs and Sheets, and here are the top add-ons that I found to be really useful and easy to use when you’re writing, editing, and sharing documents online:

1. UberConference- this add-on allows users to have voice conference with up to 10 people while working on their Google Docs and Sheets. There's also a functionality which allows users to record the conversation. The add-on will use Google account information to log you in, participating users who activated the app, will also be automatically logged in and if they don't have Google account, it will be auto-created for them.

2. HelloFax- this add-on allows you to fax documents directly from your Google Docs. HelloFax is a paid service, it costs 99 cents for 10 pages, but the price then falls to 20 cents beyond this number of pages. And there's also a monthly subscription, which starts at $9.99. And then there's a free version which allows you to fax up to 5 pages to any number.

3. MailChimp- is an email platform used by more than 5 million people and businesses. This is the tool for those who want to send the documents through bulk emails, MailChimp uses the Mandrill service but the mail doesn't go via Gmail account. Merge by MailChimp is an add-on and its powered by MailChimp, it lets you send to a list of emails directly from Google Docs and Sheets. Merge makes it easy for users to create and send personalized email right from a Google Docs. To use Merge by MailChimp, you need to be a Google Drive user and have a Google Sheet that contains a column of email addresses.

4. Analytics Canvas- this add-on allows you to pull your Google Analytics data directly into your Google spreadsheets. Its automate your reporting process, share and replicate dashboards with ease. No more cut and paste things, no more manually rebuilding queries, just few simple clicks and then your analytic reports are added to your document.

5. TextHelp- this Google add-on allows you to highlight text within a document in any one of four colors, its like the yellow highlighter for your Google Docs, where you can select and highlight passages and save the annotations in a separate document. This free add-on is clearly aimed primarily at education and business users, it offers a clean and useful way to augment the collaboration abilities.

6. Mapping Sheets- plotting data on Google Maps is in great demand for business and individual these days, this add-on provides an easy way to plot your data onto Google Maps directly from Google Sheets with just few clicks.

7. PanDoc- this add-on allows you turn your Google Docs into legally binding contracts with just few clicks. PanDoc is the industry's most intuitive electronic signature app with more than 100 business document templates (free), project management and CRM partner apps. No more printing or scanning, PanDoc allows you to turn old document into an interactive Google Doc by easily adding electronic signature; it's probably the easiest and fastest way to get documents signed.

8. EasyBib- this add-on allows you to easily create a bibliography for your research works and then add them to your Google Docs in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles. EasyBib does the exacting task of formatting bibliography entries or citations, its probably the easiest automatic bibliography and citation generator in the market. In addition, EasyBib's premium service provides additional features such as parenthetical and footnote citations, access to note-taking tools and even support of direct citation importing from major databases (Microsoft, etc.).

9. LucidChart- this add-on allows you to create and insert flowcharts, mind maps, UML, wireframe, diagrams, site mockups, organizational charts and many more directly into a Google Docs. LucidChart is an HTML5-based visual collaboration tool that makes technical and graphical representations fast and easy, share custom images across your organization, work together with an unlimited number of simultaneous collaborators, with changes merged and synced instantaneously when online, great for team collaboration.

10. MindMeister- a mind map is a diagram used primarily to visually represent words, ideas or items linked to and arranged around a keyword or subject. This Google Docs add-on allows you to turn any bullet-point list into a visually appealing mind map and automatically inserts it into your Google Document. Create a hierarchical bulleted list and MindMeister will converted that list into a visually appealing mind map.