}

Make Google Docs (G Suite) More Powerful with Extensions

2023-05-01

Some organizations use Google's G-suite as an enterprise solution for office productivity tools. The reasons are many, but the volume is too many to ignore. I use it for personal documents, particularly those I want to share with others.

Google Docs suite

Microsoft Office, OpenOffice, LibreOffice, and the G-suite tools all have extensions or add-ons to extend the tools. Today, I'd like to share some of the more interesting and useful ones I've found for Google Docs. Some of these tools are free, and some are very inexpensive.

These tools complement the existing features of Google Docs. The built-in voice dictation, spelling, grammar checking, and dictionary are what one would expect in a document editor. Docs don't have the broad range of features that say Microsoft Word or LibreOffice Writer does, but it does well for individuals and where document integration with, e.g., Gmail, is necessary.

G Suite Extension to Use

Lucidchart Diagrams

This is a robust charting and diagramming tool. It imports and exports to multiple formats, including Visio. Lucidchart supports diagram types for virtually any need. It also integrates with Microsoft Office and other products.

Highlight Tool

Highlight Tool is a tool for, well, highlighting text. After installation and starting the tool, it places a sidebar on the right side of the document. Before using it, you must create a "library" of highlight colors. The highlights can be any color and picked from common ones or selected from all the color sets. You can also name the colors. There is an option for multiple libraries so you can have one set for work docs, one for personal, one for tasks, and so forth. In addition, users can extract highlighted text, share highlight libraries and more.

Translate for Drive

This translates text from other languages into the language of the document. I use this when I do not want to open Chrome to get the translation of a document.

MathType

MathType is for inserting complex math equations and chemical formulas into documents. It requires a subscription to use Google Docs.

GPT for Work (fmr. GPT for Sheets and Docs)

GPT for Work is a free extension and perhaps the recent favorite. Using the OpenAI API, which you must subscribe to prior to using this extension, it can do all the things ChatGPT does in its web client in Google Docs. This includes writing emails, writing code, translating large portions of text, extracting data and text from documents, summarizing notes, generating headers and titles, and more. You can use this to quickly get mundane tasks out of the way so you can focus on higher-level tasks, which only a human can do. This extension also plugs into Google Sheets, where the number of things it can do is even greater. Note: ChatGPT Plus/Pro subscriptions DO NOT cover the use of OpenAI APIs.

Code Blocks

Code Blocks formats programming code in an excellent way. You can choose themes, the language for the code (or it can autodetect it) and whether or not the formatted code should have a background.

code block

These are just a few examples of tools to perform these tasks. In some cases, there are multiple ways to perform the tasks.

There are numerous other tools to enhance Google Docs. There are tools to encrypt portions of documents, generate bibliographies, create forms, generate word clouds, and more. Programmers may be happy to know that Docs supports scripts (as do other G Suite tools). Samples are available on GitHub.

Google Docs is helpful for many individuals, families, and organizations. The library of extensions has some valuable tools and is growing. For many users, these options can provide the tools they need to be more productive.

 

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This piece was originally posted on Feb 18, 2020, and has been refreshed with updated styling and links.

John McDermott

Written by John McDermott

John McDermott, CPTD, started his work in computer security in 1981 when he caught an intruder in a system he was managing. In recent years his consulting has included security consulting for small businesses. He is Security+ and CCP certified. In his 30 years with Learning Tree John has written and taught courses in programming, networking and computer security. He is the co-author of Learning Tree’s course System and Network Security: A Comprehensive Introduction. John is currently a learning and development consultant in northern New Mexico. He lives in a house made of earth with his wife, who is an artist.