Take a close look at the Google Doc or Sheet you likely have open right now and you’ll see something new on a tab about the WYSIWYG tools.
Last week Google launched add-ons–easily accessible tools created by Google’s developer partners that offer on-the-fly features for your documents and spreadsheets.
When you click on the add-ons at the top of any of your docs, a window appears allowing you to select from a variety of add-ons, searchable either by the whole list or by category (business, education, productivity, social & communication, utilities). Once loaded these adds-on appear in the pull-down menu to be used in any of your documents or spreadsheets. Around 50 add-ons are currently available and Google promises more to come. Although you may have access to many of these Chrome Web Store tools from the menu you use before you create a document, these tools are so much easier to grab and play nice right inside your docs.
Among the launch partners of most use in classrooms and libraries are:
- EasyBib’s Bibliography Creator: allows you to search EasyBib and generate citations in MLA, APA or Chicago Manual of Style formats.
- Thesaurus: highlight a word and synonyms appear in a sidebar box to the right of your document
- UberConference: seamlessly organize a Web conference within Google Docs
- Table of Contents: creates a clickable table of contents in a sidebar box
- OpenClipArt: Find clipart from among more than 50,000 images and click on an image to insert it into your document
- Kaizena Shortcut: opens your document immediately in the audio feedback app
- ProWriting Aid: offers a plagiarism, redundant phrases and grammar check
- Template Gallery: allows you to select document formats, for instance: resumes, letters, invoices, calendars, planners, attendance sheets
- Track changes: Manage the editing process when collaborating on a document
- LucidChart: create and insert flowcharts, mind maps, and diagrams directly into your document
- Calculator: a simple calculator appears in the right sidebar for help with basic math
Google hopes to encourage third-party developers to join the party around Docs and Sheets, so more apps are likely to come.
Note: Add-ons are not available for Google Spreadsheets unless you’ve installed the Google Sheets refresh.