5 add-ons you should install into Google Docs to work smarter

Turn Google Docs into a powerful productivity tool

Google Docs may not have as many features as Microsoft Word, but is has everything most people need. What’s more, it can be extended with add-ons. Add these fantastic five tools and boost productivity.

Boost productivity in Google Docs with the best 5 add-ons to extend the online word processor

Add-ons are scripts that add extra features to Google’s online word processor and they can perform a wide range of tasks. For example, they can change the text in a document, format it, translate it, or perform other actions.

Add-ons can open a sidebar to show information and provide other useful features, or open widows. There is a online catalogue of add-ons that you can browse and installing them in Google Docs is very easy. Many of the add-ons are excellent.

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Any collection of add-ons will inevitably be a personal one and these are my own favourites. There are many others, so explore this resource and see what you can find.

(Do you know how to use the Web Clipboard instead of the Windows clipboard in Google Docs?)

Install a Google Docs add-on

To install an add-on into Google Docs, go to the Add-ons menu and select Get add-ons.

The Google Docs Add-ons menu

Browse the add-ons in the window that is displayed and move the mouse over any that look interesting. A brief description is displayed and there is a + FREE button. Click the button to install the add-on.

Browsing the Google Docs add-ons

Although it says free, some add-ons may contain a mixture of free and paid features. Some add-ons are completely free, but others offer a few free features and you must buy it to unlock all the premium features.

Add-ons are added to the Add-ons menu and they may add one or more sub-menus. Go to the menu and select the tools you want.

Using Google Docs add-ons

 

ProWriting Aid

This is a useful add-on for checking your writing. Some features require payment, but there are enough free features to make this a great free add-on.

The Summary is extensive and you can see a lot of document statistics. For example, you can see the unique words and word families, the most used words, Flesch reading score, overused words, sentence structure, writing style, grammar and spelling, sticky sentences, and more.

Using the information in the summary, you can improve your writing and eliminate basic errors that you might be making.

In addition to the Summary, there are many detailed reports on offer, although only four are free. ProWriting Aid is a very useful tool and is well worth installing.

ProWriting Tools add-on for Google Docs

 

Better Word Count

You can see how many words and characters you have written by pressing Shift+Ctrl+C in a Google Docs document, but this interrupts your train of thought and typing.

Better Word Count shows the words, characters and characters minus spaces in a panel o the right. It is a live display that updates as you type. It is perfect for people that need to write to a certain word count.

There are some useful settings that let you ignore headers and footers, titles and subtitles, and other parts of the document. What you count is up to you.

Better Word Count add-on for Google Docs

 

Change Case

If you have been typing for five minutes with the caps lock on or if you type something in lowercase that should be in capitals, Change Case will solve the problem.

Select some text in the document and there are options to change it to all uppercase, all lowercase, first letter of the sentence in capitals, invert the case and more.

There aren’t a lot of features, but this add-on is still very useful on those occasions where you need to change the case of text.

The Change Case Google Docs add-on

 

Doc Tools

This is a collection of tools that perform more than a dozen different functions on the text in documents. After selecting Start on its add-on menu, a panel is opened on the right. These provide one-click access to the tools.

The font size of selected text can be increased or decreased with a mouse click. Text can be highlighted in different colours or highlighting can be removed. This can be done using Google Docs menus, but here it is one-click.

Numbers can be converted into words and words into numbers. So if you highlight 157 and click the button, it will be written as one hundred fifty-seven.

Text can be converted from one case to another, such as upper to lowercase or lower to upper. The first letter of words or the first letter of sentences can be capitalised. This overlaps with the Change Case add-on and if you like Docs Tools you can uninstall Change Case.

Docs Tools add-one for Google Docs

 

Remove Line Breaks

If you get documents that contain line breaks at the end of each line of text, how do you remove them? Microsoft Word has the ability to search and replace line breaks, but Google Docs does not.

Remove Line Breaks does exactly what the name says. Select some text and then select the item on the Add-ons menu and the line breaks are removed. The text flows as it should.

This is a very simple add-on with just one function, but it fixes a major shortcoming in Google Docs and adds a very useful feature.

Better Word Count add-on for Google Docs

 

There are many more add-ons for Google Docs and some of them are excellent. Let us know in the comments below what add-ons you use.

Google Keep is perfect for keeping notes when you are working in Docs. Here's how to run Google Keep on the desktop in its own window.


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