I have a confession to make: I’m a total productivity freak. I certainly love me a good app. I’m constantly trying new apps and different extensions, whether if it’s for my smartphone, iPad, or browser. I’m always searching for new trends to simplify my daily routine, either at work or at home. And that is why I’m so glad the ocean that is the Google Chrome Web Store exists.
In the past month and a half that I’ve been working at MailTrack, it has become the norm for me to work within Google Drive. 95% of that norm is because I work in a team that is in constant communication and file sharing. The other 5% is just because at MailTrack, we really love this app. It’s just so simple and quick. We haven’t found a tool directly linked to what we work with on a daily basis that we also feel comfortable with. But, no matter how much we love the Google Drive app, depending on what we use it for, it lacks something.
That is where Google Add-ons kick in.
After living a life of ignorance towards Google add-ons for Docs, I was enlightened 🙂 One day, roaming around a document, there it was – a tab full of ways to improve my tasks. And it was right in front of me all along.
After testing over a dozen of them, I finally came up with a list of my favorites, and the ones I recommend for anyone who wants to boost up their day to day productivity within Google Docs.
Here’s my list:
This add-on works great when working within a spreadsheet and making CRM or ERP reports. It imports your Google Analytics data into a spreadsheet on your Google Drive, and builds a dashboard with only one click. Imagine the impact you’ll make by sharing this super cool and informative document with the rest of your team!
The best part of it all? It’s free! Unless you have data that exceeds the spreadsheet limit.
It’s a mind mapping app that allows you and your team to collaborate and brainstorm, turning your listed ideas into interactive and real-time mind maps. You can share them as images, text, PDFs, and other formats.
It’s also great to make a visual map of a simple to-do list.
One of the most fun parts of working in a startup is how much you’re in communication with people from all around the world. It’s so constant and interesting, but sometimes it can be very confusing, because of the language barrier.
Let’s say you’re working on a proposal with users from Japan, and naturally (if you’re not fluent in Japanese) you need to translate it quickly and insert it on your document. The Google Translate add-on works perfectly on that small issue.
No, this add-on has nothing to do with the garment used to feed babies or eat lobsters. EasyBib is short for “Easy Bibliography”, and it’s probably the best, not to mention the only add-on on the Chrome Webstore that generates a bibliographic citation automatically just by selecting the text you wish to convert. It also offers you three kinds of formats, depending on what your work is based on, such as: MLA (Modern Language Association), APA (American Psychological Association), and Chicago Styles.
With this add-on you can cite from books, websites, and journals. Or automatically format your sources and paste directly into Docs.
Let me give you a scenario: someone sends you a contract, or a receipt you have to sign, and this contract is about 10 pages long. You have to print, sign, scan, send, and repeat this about 10 times (20 if you have to sign each page), and then you think, “Hey wait, it’s 2014. There HAS to be an app for that.” Well, my dear friend, there is! And it’s called HelloSign.
Hello Sign makes electronic signatures easy. It validates your documents with legally binding, business caliber signatures. Also, it integrates perfectly with Google Docs. This way you can sign whatever it is that you need with smooth sailing.
Imagine you’re making an itinerary for a trip. You have all the amazing places you want to visit on an Excel sheet, but maybe for this kind of itinerary a visual approach is better. It’s very tedious to log one by one every single place you want to go to on Gmaps! But don’t worry, Mapping Sheets was created to avoid this tedious work.
It works perfectly with Google Spreadsheet, and it is a huge time saver.
Let’s be honest: diagrams and flowcharts aren’t that fun to make. Especially when you have to work with someone who isn’t in the same physical place as you are.
Lucid Charts lets you do that no matter where your coworkers are. Also, it offers you a great platform providing every diagram and flowchart ever created, according to your needs. And once you’re done creating, the file is saved to your Google Drive, and you’re free to insert it in whichever document you’re working on.
“Well, that was quick,” said no one ever after customizing their spreadsheet. Customizing sensitive data can be a bit of a pain. No matter how much of a “personal touch” we want to give to a presentation on boring numbers and data, sometimes it’s better to go with a neutral and professional approach.
With this add-on, you can quickly add color/style to your spreadsheet depending on your data and model. Easy and simple.
The beauty of this add-on is that it connects your Excel + Google Sheets in a way that they all flow automatically into a master reporting sheet. It also merges them with Google Drive, and tells you who changed what and when. It also reminds you when data is due, and the best of it all – it’s cloud based. This means that you can always see a full history report of your work.