The 15 best Google Drive add-ons for customising and streamlining your work on any Google application

Jacob Lund/ShutterstockGoogle Drive add-ons can help you work more efficiently.
  • The best Google Drive add-ons give your Google apps new capabilities and, in those we’ve selected, allow you to work more efficiently or creatively.
  • You can add extra features to Google Drive apps using a library of add-ons available from the Add-ons menu in any of the Google apps.
  • Most Google Drive add-ons are free, though some have paid features as well.
  • Here are 15 of the best add-ons for getting the most out of Google Drive.
  • Visit Business Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

Google Drive is a formidable alternative to Microsoft Office. Though its array of features may not be as extensive as Microsoft Office, Google Drive is free, always available online, and offers robust collaborative tools.

Google Drive has another advantage too: A vast library of add-ons that can give it additional features and capabilities. Armed with the right add-ons, you can transform Google Drive into a tool that does exactly what you need.

The 15 best Google Drive add-ons

You can browse the extensive library of add-ons from any of the major Google apps like Google Docs, Google Sheets, or Google Slides. Just click “Add-ons” from the menu and then click “Get Add-ons.” Or browse this list, which contains 15 of the most useful add-ons available right now.

HelloSign

Need to sign a document? That’s what this add-on does. HelloSign lets you import or create real hand-written signatures and insert them in documents in Google Docs.

Best Google Drive add ons 1HelloSignHelloSign lets you add signatures to Google Docs.

DocHub

Like HelloSign, DocHub lets you sign documents – but it offers much more as well. DocHub lets you fill out, sign, mark up, and annotate PDF documents and then send them to other people, all from within Google Drive. In fact, DocHub might be the best all-around PDF tool you can get right now.

Speakd

Microsoft Word has a helpful feature found in its “Review” tab called “Read Aloud.” If you’ve ever wanted something like that for Google Docs, you can now have it by installing Speakd. It’s a handy accessibility tool for people who need help seeing the screen as well as a proofreading tool for writers who prefer to listen for errors.

Zoom

Zoom – that seemingly ubiquitous web conferencing service – has an add-on for Google Drive. After installing it, you can easily schedule, join, manage, and customise meetings in Gmail and Google Calendar. If you spend a lot of your time on Zoom these days, this add-on can streamline your day.

Lucidchart Diagrams

When words aren’t enough to convey your message, try creating a chart. Lucidchart Diagrams is an add-on that you can use to draw a line art diagram – like a flow chart, organizational chart, or any other kind of structured diagram – using a simple set of lines, shapes, and boxes.

Best Google Drive add ons 2Dave Johnson/Business InsiderLucidchart Diagrams is a general-purpose drawing app for adding diagrams to your documents, slides, and spreadsheets.


Flat for Docs

If you’re a musician or simply have an occasional need to include musical notation in a document, there are add-ons standing ready to help. Flat for Docs is a musical notation editor that you can use to create notation or tablature and insert it in a Google Doc or Google Slide. This is the “lite” version, which is free; if you upgrade to the full app, you get additional features like the ability to play back the transcribed music.

Auto-Latex Equations

While many people never need to insert maths equations in a Google Doc, if you are a mathematician, teacher, scientist, engineer, or other technical professional, you might have to express the language of maths in documents. Auto-Latex Equations lets you insert algebra, trig, calculus, and more in Google Docs rather than relying on the equation editor in Microsoft Word.

Best Google Drive add ons 3Dave Johnson/Business InsiderYou can add properly formatted equations to your documents with Auto-Latex Equations.

Crop Sheet

Sometimes the best add-ons are very focused, single-purpose tools. Such is the case with Crop Sheet, which lets you select just the part of a spreadsheet you want to preserve, and the tool then eliminates all the extraneous bits in a single stroke. If you spend a lot of time in Google Sheets, this is a real time saver.

Timify.me

Google Forms may be one of the lesser-known Google apps, but it’s a favourite of educators who use it to create tests and quizzes. With Timify.me, you can enable time-tracking in your forms, which means you can easily embed timers in forms, track how long students take to complete the form, enforce automated time limits on test-taking, and more.

Translate My Sheet

Need to share your spreadsheet with people who speak another language? Make it easy for them. Install Translate My Sheet and then you can translate your entire Google Sheet to the specified language, or only translate a selected range of cells. There are more than 100 languages supported.

Text Cleaner

Microsoft Word has a feature that can clean up a document before you share it with others. Text Cleaner is similar, but in some ways even more powerful – you can use it to remove unwanted formatting throughout your document. But it’s also very configurable, so you can choose what formatting elements (like bold, italics, links, multiple spaces, and more) the tool removes or preserves before you activate it.

Best Google Drive add ons 4Text CleanerClean up the formatting in your documents with Text Cleaner.

Pear Deck

Teachers need a lot of love, especially now with many classes taking place remotely, making it even harder to keep students engaged. Pear Deck is designed to add interactive elements to Google Slides – teachers can add interactive questions to their presentations and choose the kind of responses (like text, multiple choice, and even drawings) to keep students engaged. The app makes it easy to share responses with the class.

RingCentral Fax

When was the last time you even saw a fax machine? Even though you may not use one, that doesn’t mean other organisations don’t still rely on this ageing technology. If you need to send a fax, the easiest solution may be to install RingCentral Fax and send your document from Google Docs.

MindMup2

Have you ever created a mind map? It’s a diagram you can use to visually organise information – like a line-art organizational chart, though potentially much more flexible and free-form.MindMup 2 lets you easily create your own mind maps within Google Drive, complete with advanced drawing tools with lines, shapes, colours, and text.

Mindmup 2MindMupCreate mind maps within your documents with MindMup2.

Doc Builder

If you frequently create documents from the same templatized building blocks, then Doc Builder might make your life a lot easier. This add-on lets you create reusable snippets of text and add them to your files from a sidebar to the right of your document.

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