Day 21: Chrome Extensions for Google Docs

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30 Days With...Google Docs: Day 21

There are other benefits to using a Web-based productivity platform aside from the ability to collaborate online in real-time. For today's 30 Days With...Google Docs post, we'll explore another one of those benefits--the ability to extend functionality with browser add-ons.

Actually, let me start out with the caveat rather than tossing it in at the end--Microsoft Office has thousands of add-ins as well, so I guess that being Web-based really has little to do with whether or not new features and capabilities can be added in.

The Chrome browser has a number of extensions that are very useful for Google Docs
Even though it may not be something that sets Google Docs uniquely apart from Microsoft Office, there are a wide variety of applets and tools that can be tacked on to a Web browser to provide additional features and functionality for Google Docs. Let's take a look at some.

Docs PDF/PowerPoint Viewer
Google actually has a few different extensions for Chrome that all seem to provide some ability to view various file types from within Chrome. While the specificity of the name of this extension seems misleading, this extension enables you to view more than a dozen different file types--including PDF and PowerPoint.

Being able to view files within your browser can be a timesaver. More importantly, it prevents you from cluttering up your PC by downloading files that you don't really want to keep, and it is more secure because your PC is not exposed the way it would be if you opened the file locally.

This extension lets you snip content from Web sites and save it for future reference. As you browse the Web and stumble upon interesting news, or information, you can use Snippy to archive it. It comes in handy when researching articles online, or for collecting recipes or decorating ideas.

Table Capture
Sometimes copying a table of data from a Web site and trying to paste it into another application can result in a chaotic jumble of information. Table Capture makes it easy to copy HTML tables, and paste them into a spreadsheet like Google Docs or Microsoft Excel. Best of all, Table Capture does a good job of maintaining the formatting fidelity of the original table.

New Doc and New Spreadsheet
These two Chrome extensions let you open a new document, or a new spreadsheet, respectively, from anywhere. Rather than having to navigate to Google Docs, click on the Create New drop-down and select a file type, you can just click the icon in the toolbar.

Thesaurus Extension
We'll close out with my personal favorite. One of the things I have missed the most while using Google Docs instead of Microsoft Word is right-click access to synonyms. I frequently use the feature in Microsoft Word to keep from redundantly using the same vocabulary over and over and over again. Now, this extension does add a thesaurus option to the right-click menu of choices in Chrome--but, unfortunately not within Google Docs. So, sadly I still don't have right-click access to a thesaurus, but I at least have one-click access to one in the toolbar.

These are just a very small sampling of what is out there. I have barely scratched the surface myself. So, if you are using Google Docs, and you think it is missing a feature, or wish it had some additional functionality, make sure you check out the Chrome browser extensions to see what they have to offer.

Get the complete30 Days With Google Docsseries compiled into a Kindle eBook.

Day 20: Collaborating in Real-Time With Google Docs

Day 22: What If You Can't Connect to Google Docs?

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