Yesterday, Google introduced add-ons for Google Docs and Sheets. These add-ons allow you to add all kinds of functionality to your documents, including signing faxes and creating bibliographies. While it's still in its infancy, here are a few of the best add-ons available at launch.
We're fans of HelloFax because it's the easiest way for most of us to send the occasional fax. The Google Docs add-on makes that process even easier. Just click on HelloFax in your Add-Ons, enter the fax number you want to send the document to, and you're done. If faxing isn't your thing, the same company also has HelloSign for those times when you need to sign an important document in Google Docs.
Mapping Sheets is an easy way to make custom Google Maps using Google Sheets. If you have a Google Sheet filled with names and addresses, you can instantly create a Google Map from it. This means you can create a giant map with all your contacts or easily plot out a holiday plan. Really, you can plot out almost any data you want, and it only takes a couple of seconds.
Creating bibliographies is one of the most tedious and boring parts of writing an essay, but EasyBib makes that process a bit better. Enter in a URL or title into EasyBib, and it automatically generates a bibliography entry in MLA, APA or Chicago style. If you're typing your research papers in Google Docs, this is incredibly helpful. Speaking of adding Word functionality to Google Docs, Table of Contents is also worth a look for anyone writing massive research papers.
UberConference adds audio conference calls to your Google Doc. All you do is load up UberConference, invite your participants, and then everyone will be in the document and on the conference call within seconds. It works surprisingly well, and you don't ever need to leave Google Docs to use UberConference.
We love mind maps, and Mindmeister makes them easily with Google Docs. Create a bulleted list of items, turn MindMeister on, and then it creates a mind map for your list. It's not nearly as satisfying as creating a mind map on a piece of paper, but it works well enough for digital.
Tracking changes is one of Microsoft Word's best tools and it was always a bummer that it didn't work the same way in Google Docs. Track Changes is an add-on that makes Google Docs work basically the same way as MS Word.
Make Your Own Add-Ons
The great thing about all these add-ons is how anyone can make one. You just need to know a little about HTML. If you want to give it a try, Digital Inspiration has a great starter guide to get you going.
Considering these add-ons were just announced, we're sure plenty more great additions will pop up in the coming weeks, but the above list is a good place to start.