by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 13, 2014)
Google Docs provides tools that allow you to easily perform basic word processing tasks. For instance, you can set margins, format paragraphs and characters, add graphics and tables, and print documents (among other basic tasks). There are many, many other things that Docs could do, however, but for which there are no built-in tools.
This is where add-ons come into play. Docs allows you to extend what the program will do through the use of add-ons. If you take a look at the Docs menu, you'll notice an Add-Ons option, near the right end of the menu. (See Figure 1.)
Figure 1. The Add-Ons menu option.
Click Add-Ons and then choose the Get Add-Ons option and you'll see a dialog box showing an assortment of add-ons you can use to add features to the program. (Don't be surprised if the contents of the Add-Ons dialog box changes over time; the display of actual add-ons seems rather fluid. (See Figure 2.)
Figure 2. The Add-Ons dialog box.
Hover your mouse pointer over any of the add-ons and you can see a short description of the add-on. (Hovering also shows a download link and an indicator if there is a cost associated with the add-on.)
How an add-on affects your use of Docs depends, of course, on how the add-on was written and what it does. It is not unusual for add-ons to modify the menus or add menu options, though they may also add tools to the toolbar. The only way to be sure of what an add-on does is to try it out!
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