Add-ons are a great way to give Google Drive’s productivity suite a little more horsepower. These four offer creative solutions for collaborating, automating document workflow, and mapping data and ideas. Give them a try, and push your productivity to new levels.
By its nature, Google Docs is a collaboration tool. This Uberconference add-on extends its power by getting all a document’s contributors together on a conference call right within the doc itself. Once you launch the add-on, click to invite participants and a list of the document’s viewers and editors will appear in its right sidebar. You can edit the list of participants before you invite them. Once they join, you’ll all be able to hear and see each other as you work on your document and even record the call for later review.
Imagine if you could see all your contacts, appointments, or other location-based data in a spreadsheet plotted out together on a map. That’s exactly what the Mapping Sheets add-on lets you do. With just a few clicks, it will take the addresses from any Google Sheet and create a Google Map from it. From there, you have access to all Google Map’s searching and filtering tools, so you can narrow your focus to a geographic area, review details of a specific location, and more.
Though almost all document transactions are handled digitally now, signature requirements can still muck up the process. PandaDoc lets you keep your document workflow online by adding e-signature capability to Google Docs. Just click the Recipient icon in your PandaDoc add-on and select an existing PandaDoc contact or create a new one. Next, add the appropriate PandaDoc widgets—electronic signature, checkboxes, initials, text fields, and date are your options—to the document and send it to get the recipient’s legally binding electronic signature.
Mind maps—diagrams that connect information around a central topic—are a powerful way to develop and visualize ideas. The MindMeister add-on will turn any bulleted list in Google Docs into a mind map with a few clicks. Just make a list, select the text and then select MindMeister from the Add-ons drop-down menu within your document. Click Insert as Mind Map, and a mind map will be generated using the first list item as the root topic. First-level points are transformed into first-level topics, and so on. When the mind map is finished, it will appear right beneath your list. You can delete the original text list and place the mind map wherever you want it in the document.
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Michael Ansaldo is veteran consumer and small-business technology journalist. He contributes regularly to TechHive and PCWorld.
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