In Pictures: 9 useful add-ons for Google Docs

We experimented with several add-ons available for Google Docs. Here are nine that we found to be really useful and easy to use when you’re writing, editing and sharing documents.

  • We experimented with several add-ons available for Google Docs. Here are nine that we found to be really useful and easy to use when you’re writing, editing and sharing documents.

  • Clipboard: More robust cutting-and-pasting Highlight the passage of text you want to save to Clipboard and click the “Clip” button in its tool panel: The passage will appear on a notecard in Clipboard’s tool panel. Clicking the “Create” button will open a text box you can type words into, and a new notecard with this text will appear in the tool panel. To insert text from a notecard into your document, click the “Insert” button that appears over the notecard: The text will then be inserted at where the typing cursor on your document is located.

  • EasyBib: Create bibliography citations This add-on is helpful for writing academic papers, but can also be handy if you want to maintain a neat list of your sources when doing research for other kinds of writing. EasyBib does the exacting task of formatting bibliography entries: Enter a book, journal article, or website into its search box, then choose MLA, APA or Chicago style, and press “Add bibliography to doc” to insert the citation.

  • HelloFax: Fax a document You can send an opened document directly to a fax number. Just enter the number into the HelloFax tool panel, include an optional cover page (where you fill in the “To,” “From” and “Message” boxes), and click the “Send” button. HelloFax is a paid service, but they let you fax 5 pages for free. After that, it costs 99 cents for the next 10 pages, but the price then falls to 20 cents beyond this number of pages. Or, you can sign up for a monthly subscription, starting at $9.99.

  • HelloSign: Sign documents Also by the developer of HelloFax: 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 by HelloSign’s servers with instructions on how to sign it online. This add-on will let you have three signature signings for free every month.

  • Letter Feed Workflows: Get approvals for your documents 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. This add-on is free for 30 days, but the developer’s official site doesn’t list pricing info.

  • Maps for Docs: Insert a Google Map into a document Highlight a street address in your document, and then activate this add-on. Maps for Docs will pull up from Google Maps a large square map graphic of the location and let you insert it as an image into the document. The address you highlight must be a single line of text; multiple addresses can be pulled up (such as two to show the distance between them on a map), so long as each address is on a single, separate line.

  • Merge: Send personalized mass emails using Google Docs (and Google Sheets) 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 personalized 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. You can send these automated messages to 1,000 or fewer email addresses at once (and up to 6,000 per month).

  • Track Changes: More in-depth document tracking Track Changes enhances the system for keeping track of changes made to documents that you share or collaborate with others, bringing it closer to how it’s handled in Microsoft Word. The process is a back-and-forth among all the collaborators: In each revision a person contributes, newly added text is highlighted in green and deleted text is crossed out in red. A collaborator can accept or reject a revision.

  • Translate: Google Translate inside Google Docs 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 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.

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