As most of you must have noticed by now, Google has introduced add-ons for Google Drive, and with this update, an entire host of new features which improve functionality and make Google Drive the perfect platform to use for all your office-related needs. With this functionality, Google has moved one step closer to Microsoft’s Office Suite, which has been the undisputed champion of office software.
This opens up the opportunity for third party developers who can now create a multitude of add-ons which will add all the missing features of Google Drive and then some. Nevertheless, like with any other app store, there will some examples of Google Drive add-ons which won’t be as useful or won’t work as intended. But for now, let’s focus on the ones that do, and here are our picks for the best Google Drive add-ons.
Best Google Drive Add-Ons to Improve your Productivity
Depending on the type of documents you usually work with, you will be able to find a good Google Drive add-on which will help you increase your productivity. Pretty much everything from charts to reference builders to programming formatting is covered, so all you need to do is take a few minutes and browse the add-on store. We will try to include add-ons which will cover some of your needs, but if you require some more specialized tools, chances are you will be able to find them on the store.
EasyBib Bibliography Creator
This tool is more of use for students who rely on Google Drive to write and turn in papers. The EasyBib Bibliography Creator add-on allows them to easily insert citations for all their sources and also add a complete bibliography when they finish. This tool is easy to use and allows users to add Chicago, MLA or APA citations with only a few clicks.
Maps for Docs
Sending addresses can be done much easier using Maps for Docs, which is a Google Drive add-on that lets its users insert a Google Maps preview of ny address. Simplicity is keyword here, as you only need to select the address open the add-on and once it is shown on the map, with just one click, you can insert the snapshot of the map within your document.
PandaDoc is a service which allows its users to add legally binding signatures to documents without having to print them out and later scan them again. The service is very useful for those who only want to deal with electronic documents, making their businesses more organized. This Google Drive add-on is fast and simple to use, but users will have to have a PandaDoc account to use it.
This is one of my favorite Google Drive add-ons, as it allows me to ask for approval from my other teammates on a specific document. Workflows integrates flawlessly with Google Drive, allowing all the participants to review documents without ever leaving the file. If you want to ask for approval on a specific document, you can input the emails of your teammates and they will receive an email with your request. Once they’ve opened the document, they can approve or reject it.
Merge by MailChimp
If one of your tasks is to send the email over and over again to different people, then Merge by MailChimp will be the best Google Drive add-on for you. This tool allows you to send personalized email messages to how many recipients you want by collecting the desired data from a Google Drive SpreadSheet. Once you have your spreadsheet populated with all the people you want to contact, you can link it to your Google Drive document using this add-on.
UberConference works similarly to Skype or any other group calling service, but what sets it apart from the bunch is the fact that this utility comes as a Google Drive add-on, so you can call coworkers and discuss how to go about a problem directly from Google Drive, with no need of using another calling service. Options for mute or hang up are available and thanks to its simplicity, pretty much everyone can use it without a hitch.
If you usually work on document shared between multiple users, sometimes it can be hard to keep track of what is changed by who. This leads to confusions and in worst cases, multiple users stepping over each other. Track Changes is a Google Drive add-on which helps whit this issue by showing exactly which part of the document has been edited by which user. Also, this makes it easy for the supervisor to keep or discard distinct changes made to the document. Color coding each change depending on what it is (red for deletion, blue for addition) can be of great use when dealing with long documents.
If you’ve ever had to write up a formal document, you know how hard it can be to come up with the perfect words. Grated, there are those who have no trouble with this type of documents, or even enjoy writing them, but for the vast majority of us, they are a nightmare. Consistency Checker is a Google Drive add-on which can help in such occasions. Of course, it won’t write the paper for you, but it will scan and pick up mistakes that other grammar checkers might miss (inconsistent hyphenation).
If you’re going for the “wow-factor” with your documents, then adding a few charts always make them look more professional. The only problem with diagrams is the fact that they tend to take a long time to create and most of the time, they don’t look as good as what you had in mind. Enter Gliffy Diagrams, a Google Drive add-on which gives users the option to create professional looking flowcharts, wireframes, UML or ERD diagrams. Gliffy Diagrams offers lots of templates and different style diagrams, sort of what Visual Paradigm might offer, but for free.
Note: More advanced diagram styles, such as UML require a premium account
Remove Duplicates and Find Fuzzy Matches
There’s not much to explain regarding this Google Drive add-on. Just like the name suggests, this tool allows users to scan through Google Drive SpreadSheets and find duplicate entries and easily delete them. I found this add-on very useful when I worked on a fairly large spreadsheet which was shared between multiple users. The scan process is pretty fast (depending on the size of the file) and the user interface is simple.
Find Fuzzy Matches is a Google Drive add-on created by the same developers, with a similar function as Remove Duplicates. The main difference here is the fact that Find Fuzzy Matches is aimed towards finding duplicate entries which have slight name variations. This tool is really handy when you want to find or delete duplicates whose names are slightly different (ex: Michael – Micael – Michel).
Even though we’ve featured the Google Drive add-ons we find the most essential to improve productivity, this doesn’t mean that they are the only ones. If you look in the Add-on store, you will be able to find lots of great utilities which can help in you with a specific task. If you have other suggestions, do leave them in the comments section below, and if you want to try out some other useful Google Drive add-ons, here are a few more suggestions:
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