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Add-Ons Taking Google Docs and Spreadsheets to a New Productivity Level

Most Google Chrome users are aware of the vast amount of chrome extensions that are available for download via the Chrome Web Store. Whether it be a To Do tracker built right into your browser or Angry Birds, the options for both productivity, fun, and entertainment are truly endless with the chrome web store. (My favorite is momentum, a replacement for the new tab page.)

One of the many great things about Google is how they provide opportunities for developers to create great applications, such as momentum, across Google’s entire infrastructure. Until a couple of days ago, this was limited to Chrome, Drive, and a few other Google products. Google recently released that Add-ons in Google Docs are now possible! Get out of the way Chrome, Google Docs Add-ons are here!

On Tuesday, Google announced that Google Docs will have it’s own webstore for users to add extensions to their documents. So far, companies like LucidChart, HelloSign, and UberConference have built extensions in Docs.

Although the marketplace is still small for add-ons, it will soon grow to be as vast as the Chrome Web Store. It is a simple and intuitive process to add them to your document. When you open a document, the add-ons menu will be accessible next to the table option. Clicking “Get Add-ons” brings you to a familiar screen that displays all the present Doc Add-ons.

Docs Marketplace

Here at Cloudbakers, we are in situations where documents need to be signed. Currently, our process is to print the document, sign the document, and then scan it to be placed back in our records. With HelloSign, this process is completely eliminated. Having the HelloSign add-on, allows us to sign documents directly within Google Docs! A window on the right side of the document appears with a place to sign. Here’s my signature using the tool:

These add-ons have proven to be beneficial in other aspects of our business too. Cloudbakers hold several events throughout the year, and we’re always looking for easier ways to create nametags for all our guests. The Avery Label Merge allows you to create nametags directly in Docs. Even better, it will read information from a Google Spreadsheet to automatically create them. If you use a Google Form to accept your RSVP’s, the hard work is done for you! You can collect the responses from the form and from the same spreadsheet, you can generate nametags. Cool!

For me, by far the coolest aspect of the Google Add-ons is the fact that they were created using Google App Script. I previously wrote about the power of Apps Script and how they can help automate processes and workflows for users, but Google Docs Add-ons takes that power to a new level entirely! I’m looking forward to developing our own add-ons.

This is yet another example of how Google is always updating and adapting their offerings for their customers. Google saw how successful the Chrome Store has been for their Chrome users, and decided to open it up for accessibility through more of their products. Long story short, Google is always trying to make your digital life easier, more compact, and streamlined.

Originally published on March 13, 2014

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