With the introduction of add-ons for Docs two years back, Google made its office suite much more comprehensive and flexible. There are not many options available when compared to Chrome’s extensions, but a few good ones can really make you more productive.
For starters, add-ons for Google Docs are just like extensions you download for Chrome. They integrate with Google Docs and provide additional (third party) functionalities that are missing from the platform.
Our criteria for finding the top add-ons for Google Docs is they should be free, useful, lightweight and easy to use. They should also not spam your account, or make false promises or provide sub-standard experience.
First, how to install a Google Docs add-on?
Installing any add-on is nothing different than what you do with Chrome extensions. The main difference here is that you access the store from Google Docs. First off, open a document and at the main menu on top, you will find a dropdown for “Add-ons”.
Click on the tab for “Get Add-ons” link, which will lead you to the store, from where you download these add-ons.
Do note, to access any settings/options of a particular add-on, you will need to guide yourself to this same dropdown.
The Top Add-ons for Google Docs
#1. Lucidchart for creating diagrams, wireframes and charts
By default, Docs doesn’t provide any way to sketch diagrams and make flowcharts and that can be really annoying if you’re working on something that requires more than text and images. With Lucidchart, you can create and insert diagrams, flow charts, UMLs, wireframes, sitemaps in documents.
This, however, does not mean that you are going to get a complete interface integrated into the Docs itself. You will have to create diagram on Lucidchart web application and then inserting them in Google Docs through the addon’s sidebar. This might not sound as useful, if you never went through the process of saving a project as image and then importing that in Docs. Lucidchart make this whole process very easy and thus it is at top of our list.
After installing the extension, you can access it from the add-ons menu on top and then choosing “Insert Diagram” to get started.
#2. UberConference lets you have a conference call while you’re editing a doc
UberConference’s nifty extension lets you take conference calls right in the Google Docs interface, there’s no requirement of leaving the document you’ve been working on whatsoever. You can end, record and even invite people straight from the mini app which can be really handy if there’s a team involved.
Uberconference itself is a good service which provides device free conference calls. They work with a freemium model, so it will be free for personal use.
#3. Better Word Count
Google Docs does provide you word and character count (Ctrl+Shift+C), however what’s missing is the live update and a more elementary way to check it. “Better Word Count” is a free extension that fills this gap by showing the count in real time on the right sidebar, making the process much more facile.
You even get the option to exclude some elements including headings, stricken through texts and much more, all of which can be checked out from the settings.
#4. Openhere, for bookmarking your long documents
If you’re writing a long document and want to resume from a specific line, install Openhere. It’s an extremely minimal tool that basically lets you resume from a particular spot. As soon as you reopen your document after setting a point, Openhere automatically scrolls the page and moves your cursor to the beginning of that line, which is pretty neat.
Unlike other extensions we saw, Openhere does not have any sidebar to work. To add an open position, first move your cursor to the desired location, hit the add-ons menu on top followed by Openhere and then “add open position”. To remove that open position, click “remove open position” instead in the same dropdown.
#5. Remove Line Breaks
If you copy text content from a PDF, chances are the pasted text will get separated with new lines. Now, instead of manually deleting these new lines, you can use the Remove Line Breaks addon to automatically clean the line breaks.
How to delete an add-on?
If you did not find any extension useful, Google allows you to easily get rid of them through that add-on menu we saw in the beginning.
This time, however, we’ll go into the “manage add-ons” option where you will find the list of all the add-ons you installed. By clicking that green manage button, you can either disable it for a particular document or completely remove it from your account.
Those were our favorite top Google Docs add-ons. Hope that they help you with your work.