Rahul is a web enthusiast who loves scouring the web for alternatives to different websites. Monopoly mustn't prevail! Join his cause.
Google Docs—A Cloud-Based Word Editor
Google Docs is a free and feature-rich online cloud-based word editor and processor developed and offered by Google alongside other alternative products to the Microsoft Office Suite. Google Docs users can create, edit, and format word documents with ease.
The platform empowers users to send documents to one another. It is also possible for users to collaborate and complete specific tasks on the same document at the same time. Google Docs is also secure document storage and sharing platform and is best suited to people who deal with loads of word documents.
While a comprehensive and high-quality standalone product per se, the Google Docs product is offered alongside and can integrate with other Google document processing products. These include Google Forms—a cloud-based forms software, Excel-like Google Sheets, Google Sites, Google Slides, Google Drawings, and Google Keep.
The platform is available as a web application, mobile app, or downloadable desktop software client. Unlike Microsoft Word, the Google Docs product can be accessed from anywhere, while any new edits are automatically saved.
However, Google Docs requires an internet connection for any work to be done, although accessing it through your computer lets your work offline. The new work is then synced with your online version.
Best Google Docs Add-ons
While handy by itself, Google Docs comes with hundred of add-ons that increase its performance. So what are the best Google Docs add-ons you should know about?
- Writing Habit
- Mail Merge
- ezNotifications for Docs
- SEMrush SEO Writing Assistant
- Google Docs Offline
- Doc Builder
- OrangeSlice: Teacher Rubric
1. Writing Habit
Writing Habit is a free Google Docs add-on designed to help users become better writers by developing a consistent, goal-based writing habit.
The add-on works on the premise that only regular writing can help a writer grow to become better and creates a gradually-increasing writing habit to increase both quality and amount of writing one can do.
Writing Habit helps writers to build up a consistent writing streak, enhance their quality of writing, and track their progress against predetermined writing goals. To measure progress against goals, Writing Habit tracks the total number of words written over a given time. It then compares this total with your productivity over a similar period in the past.
As for set writing goals, a user can set a daily or overall periodic goal and give them a target to aim for every other day. Writing Habit uses insightful charts and numbers to show your progress and keep you writing.
Writing Habit is especially useful to aspiring writers and non-native English speakers. The ability to set smaller goals that grow alongside your progress also guarantees better writer induction. The add-on’s progress bars, reports, and a track record of continued growth are also great motivations to keep writers going.
Writing Habit Pros
- Builds writing consistency and quality
- Helps meet set goals
Writing Habit Cons
- Daily goals to be a mental drag on productivity
- May discourage new users who fall behind schedule
- No technical support to increase writing quality
2. Mail Merge
The Mail Merge Google Docs add-on helps users to personalize their emails easily without leaving the Google Docs dashboard. The add-on is especially important for content and email marketers as well as business executives, all of whom regularly send bulk emails to clients and teammates.
Available on a freemium model, Google Docs users can access the Mail Merge add-on free for their first five merges. The premium version goes for about $30 per year, but customers can buy a lifetime license for about $80.
With Mail Merge, Google Docs users enjoy numerous templates for their emails, have access to the best email formatting features, and can include images and image labels in their emails. Other key features include unlimited ways to merge more fields to create better-optimized emails, while said emails can be sent directly from Google Docs.
Thanks to this add-on, email campaigns designed in Docs can be personalized per the respective recipient in a way that builds great customer relationships. MaiI Merge derives essential data from a defined Google spreadsheet and then uses it to replace the fields throughout your email message with the relevant information of each individual that is being messaged.
Mail Merge Pros
- 30-day money-back guarantee on the premium version
- Tons of features for email optimization
- Affordable lifetime license
Mail Merge Cons
- Limited free version with a costly upgrade
3. ezNotifications for Docs Cons
ezNotifications for Docs is a freemium add-on that ensures Google Docs editors receive timely email notification alerts whenever there are new changes made on a shared document. It is an essential add-on to have for collaboratory editing of a Google Docs document, and ensure all changes are tracked and reviewed for compliance with the group strategy and objectives.
Given that Google Docs is a major product for document editing collaborations, the ezNotifications for Docs add-on is therefore essential to keep the entire team on the same page.
Google Docs ranks among the best document collaboration tools for distributed teams. It brings together multiple people to make edits on a shared document, so long as each has been granted access, and helps advance document creation functions faster. The downside, however, is that Google Docs are more vulnerable to errors, both factual and grammatical, which can be especially critical for important documents.
It is in such cases that the ezNotifications for Docs becomes important, notifying the document editor of every new change made. Users determine how often to receive the email notifications, with the Google Docs add-on allowing for both hourly and daily updates.
ezNotifications for Docs Pros
- Free version
- Set notification frequency
- Unity of direction for large groups
ezNotifications for Docs Cons
- Premium version is very expensive
- No custom notification frequency
Grammarly is a freemium AI-powered writing assistant that allows users to easily and conveniently check their writing for grammar and other errors while writing or as an editing component after writing.
The Grammarly Google Docs add-on works as an extension of the original product available vide its official website. As a result, the add-on runs grammar checks on your Google Docs through Grammarly's offsite servers, hence it does not slow down your computer.
Essentially, the Grammarly Google Docs add-on allows users access to both the free and premium versions depending on the package of one's Grammarly account. Grammarly add-on users can therefore write top-quality content event they do not purchase a premium license, even though the free version is significantly limited in scope.
With this add-on for Google Docs, writers can consistently enjoy the advantages of writing well, including the use of correct grammar, spelling, sentence structure, and parts of speech. The add-on is especially useful in limiting the use of passive voice in your writing, while it helps writers find better-fitting words to convey their message clearly.
The Grammarly add-on for Google Docs also ensures writing style and tone are correct, while continuous writing suggestions improve your overall quality. The add-on is presently available for Firefox, Chrome, Edge, and Safari browsers.
- Real-time grammar corrections
- Gives accurate grammar recommendations
- User explanations are easy to understand
- Supports user customizations
- Easy to join and use
- Doesn't work on all text editors
- The free version is very limited
- Costly premium version
- Employs aggressive advertising
5. SEMrush SEO Writing Assistant
The SEMrush SEO Writing Assistant is a free add-on for the Google Docs editor that helps users to add a set of search engine optimization recommendations for each document created.
Backed by the SEMrush SEO software package that ranks first for search engine optimizations, the writing assistant add-on guarantees top-of-the-range quality at half the hassle. This is especially true as the SEMrush SEO Writing Assistant accomplishes all essential processes from the Google Docs editor dashboard, thus users do not have to copy-paste their content into the SEMrush program. In all, this Google Docs add-on is both easy to use and expedient.
The SEMrush SEO writing assistant Docs add-on has a free starter plan. Unfortunately, users on this plan can only create one set of SEO recommendations per document. The paid versions are also pretty expensive, with the most affordable starting at $99 per month, billed annually.
This writing assistant is still a handy tool to have, however, and ensures you produce searchable, SEO-friendly content ready for the web. The add-on provides users with instant SEO recommendations to realign their writings with set web objectives.
This includes helping writers optimize their content based on the best-performing articles from the top 10 Google search results for a particular search keyphrase. Thus, the SEMrush SEO Writing Assistant is best suited for specialist copywriters, content marketers, and SEO technicians.
The software can check article quality depending on target keywords, readability, and article length. It can also evaluate reading difficulty based on the Flesch-Kincaid score, while testing article links for possible errors.
SEMrush SEO Writing Assistant Pros
- Free plan
- Easy to use
- Increases article quality
- Makes SEO work expedient
SEMrush SEO Writing Assistant Cons
- Very limited free plan
- Heavy, thus slow down Google Docs
- Premium version is very expensive
6. Google Docs Offline
Being a cloud-based product, Google Docs users must be connected to the internet to create and edit new documents. That doesn’t have to be the case every time, however, with the Google Docs Offline add-on allowing Docs users to access Google the platform without an internet connection.
With the Google Docs Offline add-on for your Google Docs editor, users do not have to pause working when they’re not connected to the internet.
Instead, the add-on allows you to go on working on their Google Docs document even while offline, with the new changes saved as though connected. The newly changed document is then updated when your connection has been restored.
The add-on also enables users to pin important documents at the top of their Google Docs archive, as well as seamlessly copy-pasting any text into your document.
Google Docs Offline Pros
- No work breaks due to lost connection
- Free to use
Google Docs Offline Cons
- Only available for Google Chrome
7. Doc Builder
Unlike the standard Google Docs add-on, the Doc Builder add-on introduces some automation in your work processes. The free tool aims to save Google Docs users hours of repetitive typing and formatting by introducing the capability to build and store reusable text and or image snippets.
The Doc Builder add-on is especially useful for people who work with long, structured documents. These include persons working on financial reports, technical manuals, or even legal documents that use a fair share of preformatted texts and other clauses.
In such cases, the Doc Builder add-on lets these people save already formatted documents, either wholly or as text snippets of said documents. The’s default function then is to insert the regularly used text snippets the writer saved into any other document they are working on at the moment.
For instance, someone writing professional emails is bound to reuse a few chunks of text in every email, including the headline or a disclaimer. Similarly, an agency content marketer will reuse the clients’ boilerplate in multiple press releases. Doc Builder ensures you don’t have to repeat writing and formatting these text snippets and therefore helps you write faster.
One of Doc Builder’s best features is the ability to auto-format your snippets depending on predefined Google Sheet themes. Writers can also store and organize frequently used text snippets in Google Drive folders to ensure easier access.
Doc Builder Pros
- Better document automation
- Saves the writer time
- Increases writer productivity
Doc Builder Cons
- Increases writer complacency
- Impedes continuous learning
8. OrangeSlice: Teacher Rubric
The OrangeSlice: Teacher Rubric add-on for Google Docs is an essential free tool for those users in need of grading students in a faster and easier manner.
The add-on helps teachers lessen their workloads when grading students’ assignments, papers, and so on by ensuring each task takes a much reduced time to complete. As a result, teachers become far more efficient at grading their students’ work, with the teacher no longer required to consider as many things during the review and grading process.
With the OrangeSlice: Teacher Rubric Google Docs add-on, the teacher can easily create a complete grading rubric that gives them a complete picture of their students’ performances.
Once the rubrics are in place, teachers can also use the add-on to work out the final grade of any student easily and with minimum effort, making light work of a previously tedious activity.
The teacher’s rubric created will bear answers to every test question, which can then be imported into a student’s Google Doc for easy assessment. It also generates a percentage or points grade score automatically.
OrangeSlice: Teacher Rubric Pros
- Creates comprehensive rubric
- Automatic percentage of the grade points score
OrangeSlice: Teacher Rubric Cons
- Creates complacency in teachers
- No room for professional skepticism
Did I miss out on any other Google Docs add-ons? Let me know in the comments section.
© 2022 Rahul Pandey