It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that Google has come to dominate so many aspects of my online life. What’s great is that the experience we get with many Google products can be further appended and enhanced by third-party developers. You might already use Google Drive to backup your smartphone photos. You might already use the Google Docs and Sheets for word processing and spreadsheets, but did you know that there are plenty of Google Drive add-ons to take that functionality even further?
These add-ons for Google Drive function in a similar way as the extensions you may have picked up for your Chrome browser, except they integrate directly into the Google Docs and Google Sheets utilities you already use within the Google Drive environment. And these add-ons can help to make you even more productive.
MindMeister Mind Maps
Some people are able to work perfectly fine with just plain text. Most people, however, work a lot better in more of a visual environment and MindMeister is a great option to consider. What it does is take a regular bullet point list that you create within Google Docs and it converts that into a simple mind map. It’s really straightforward, as you’re able to handle nested bullets and create something that might be a little easier to follow. The resulting mind map shows up as an image that you can move around within your document and, once it is created, you can delete the original bullet list if you’d like.
When going through a list of Google Drive add-ons, it makes sense that at least one of them would integrate with another service you may already be using from Google. The Google Translate add-on isn’t quite as robust as its full-fledged counterpart, but it does save you the trouble of hopping between tabs just to find out what the French word for “map” is (it’s carte). That’s the good news. The bad news is that it only supports about six languages, so we’re hoping that there will be future updates to support translating to Chinese, for example.
HelloFax and HelloSign
I don’t know when was the last time I used an actual fax machine connected to an actual landline telephone, but there are still all sorts of companies, organizations, and agencies that will ask you to fax in this form or that. I know. We should all be paperless by now. Thankfully, you can still be paperless and take care of these faxing folks through the HelloFax Google Docs add-on. Simply open up the document of choice, hit up the HelloFax add-on, and you’ll be able to enter the fax number, as well as the pertinent details for the cover page. The same people have also created a HelloSign add-on to handle signatures for contracts and legal documents too.
DocumentMerge by PandaDoc
You’ve got a long mailing list and you’ve got a document that you’d like to have personalized for all of them. In a traditional office using something like Microsoft Office, performing a mail merge is a fairly standard task. If you get the DocumentMerge add-on by PandaDoc. The bulk mailing feature here is designed more for printed documents, but if you’re interested in a mail merge for the purpose of a mass email, then you might want to try Yet Another Mail Merge instead. Both of these Google Drive add-ons will prove invaluable to anyone in marketing and communications.
Perhaps you’re coming from more of an academic of technical background? Putting together that bibliography at the end can be a real hassle, especially when you want to make sure you stick to the right standards for formatting. Making that process much more seamless is the appropriately named EasyBib Bibliography Creator. You can enter titles or URLs and the it will automatically cite books, journal articles and websites in your choice of MLA, APA, or Chicago style. It’ll even alphabetize the list for you.