The One Google Docs Tool You Should Be Using

Google maintains its popularity because the company continually pumps out apps that work for individuals and groups alike. Google’s presence with schools and educational facilities boomed, and it’s because of this functionality.  This comes in the form of Google Docs.

What is Google Docs?

Google Docs and Google Drive

All applications are stored in your Google Drive account, which comes at no cost with creation of a Google account (also free).

Google Docs allows Google users to create, write, collaborate, edit, and more on collective documents. All changes are made in real time and saved automatically. Files save to a cloud, meaning that these documents are accessible from any connected computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone. For schools–especially colleges and universities, which often use Google as a platform for school email systems–this program dominates group projects and more.

For those students and teachers who utilize Google Docs, one feature remains that you may not be using: Google Add-Ons.


What are Add-Ons for Google Docs?

Google Docs Add-Ons Menu

A glimpse at some of the Add-Ons available in Google Docs.

Add-Ons are widgets and apps created to work compatibly with Google Docs. Add-Ons components provides Google Docs with more abilities, making it a better and/or more attractive tool to use.

Add-Ons include bibliography generators, proofreaders and readability editors, footnotes, WordPress integrations, and more. There are tons and tons of different Add-Ons to choose from, making this program intriguing to those not loyal to the traditional word processing software.

Why use Add-Ons?


Anyone can benefit from Google Docs and Add-Ons, from students working on projects to professionals collaborating on client pitches.

At this point, you may question why someone would stray from software like Microsoft Word, which most everyone owns and uses. In the past two or three software updates, Word has integrated tools such as automatic bibliography creators. Why switch from what you already know and most already have?

To understand, you must look at the audience. Google’s popularity thrives among young, tech-savvy audiences–many of whom are in college or have obtained college degrees. This audience often works in teams to collaborate on projects, presentations, and so on. While all parties likely own Microsoft Office, this software simply fails at collaboration.

Throughout college, I was taught the importance of collaboration in order to create final works that stand out and encompass new ideas. Everyone brings something to the table, and hindering new ideas and inputs ultimately hinders your end product. That being said, Microsoft Word hinders collaboration because users cannot simultaneously and efficiently work on the same material.


Google Docs in the Workplace

Google Docs presentation complete

It’s not simple to get all these collaborators together to work on a project. Using Google Docs, workers can collaborate any time and from anywhere with an Internet connection.
Flickr: Nguyen Hung Vu

We’ve mentioned Google Docs usage in academia, but more and more people in all industries are straying from Microsoft Office. In fact, research shows that 70% of workers in offices that provide Microsoft Office Suite use the programs for light editing and reading. Of those that utilize Microsoft software, 68% of that usage is Outlook, Microsoft’s email component. The other 32% of usage splits between Excel, Word, PowerPoint, etc.

Although Microsoft Office now has cloud capabilities, it comes at a cost. Google Docs provides essentially the same services using cloud capabilities at no cost. All users must have a Google account, which is free to create.

How to Use Google Docs Add-Ons

  1. Open the Google Doc you want to use. Find the tab labeled “Add-ons” in the menu bar.
  2. Click that tab, then click “Get add-ons…”
  3. A continuous list of Add-Ons pop up. Scroll through options to find your desired app, or use the search bar to find a specific widget.
Google Docs Add-Ons Instructions

Steps to using Google Add-Ons.

More on Collaboration

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