7 free Google Docs add-ons to make writers more productive

How to Be a Writer is a series that is titled exactly as it sounds. In the digital age, writers are facing new issues on top of the old. As publishing continues to shift and change, not only are writers forced to change as well, they’re establishing themselves entirely differently, making breaking into the scene even more challenging. In this series, we offer up tips, tricks, and general commentary on the journey (or slog) that is being a writer.

Like any “artist” I have a method to my madness. It’s not pounding my chest before a big scene or drinking a gallon of coffee (though tea is often present), but it is to keep to my workflow process as strict as possible. I wake up, open my computer, and vomit words onto the screen until I get a rhythm going/like what I see. Since my current version of Microsoft Word infuriates me, I rely on Google Docs to keep my workflow running.

I’m a big fan of using Google Docs for my writing drafts as I’m sure many writers are (the big draw: it’s free). Instead of going straight into WordPress (WP), I find I can catch more mistakes by reading through a draft in Google Docs and then taking it over to WordPress. Plus, Grammarly (which we highlighted in our favorite writing and editing tools) only works in WP so I have an extra security blanket for any mistakes by transferring my work over. Google Docs is super easy to collaborate with people on by just sharing the doc, and the Suggestions as Edits and comments options makes proofreading and editing simple.

Google Docs is an awesome, versatile and, most importantly, free word processor at any Google user’s disposal—one with potential that many people (including myself) have never realized. Through a stroke of bad luck (re: carpal tunnel syndrome), I discovered Google Docs add-ons, handy little extensions that improve work and life as a writer IMHO. Added over a year ago to the Google tools roster, these extensions come at the cost of free. Which is the price many writers like to pay.

If you’re looking to boost productivity in Google Docs or just want some handy in-docs tools at your disposal, go the menu bar and click on “Add-ons”, and then click on “Get Add-ons.” Or, use the links in my picks for my favorite Google Docs add-ons. Enjoy.

7 Free Google Docs Add-Ons for Writers

By Emily E. Steck

To help make your writing life that much easier.

  • Speech Recognition

    By Emily E. Steck

    The Speech Recognition add-on will allow you to use speech recognition to write your Google Docs documents. Perfect for taking notes and talking out problems, you know have your own little stenographer on hand to help you out.

  • MindMeister

    By Emily E. Steck

    Simply create a bullet point list and this handy extension will create a visual mind map. It may be easier to draw on a piece of paper, but if you'd like to show a clear digital mind map this is for you. 

  • UberConference

    By Emily E. Steck

    If you need to hold a conference call and refer to a Google Docs at the same time, then this one is for you. Load up UberConference, invite your participants and everyone's in the document within seconds.

  • Easy Bib

    By Emily E. Steck

    Academic writers will love this one. This extension automates a citation for your bibliography in MLA, APA and Chicago Style

  • HelloSign

    By Emily E. Steck

    Signing documents is a whole lot easier with HelloSign, where you sign your name using your cursor in a box. Then, you drag and drop that signature to the appropriate line. Finally, send the document to co-signers digitally by adding their email. Presto! You can score 3 free signatures each month before you need to sign up for Premium. 

  • Table of Contents

    By Emily E. Steck

    There are ways to create table of contents within Google Docs, but adding this extension is easier. It automatically creates sections within the sidebar for easy navigation; a must-have for long drafts or documents.

  • Docs to WordPress

    By Emily E. Steck

    And last but not least, the extension to make your writerly workflow that much easier. Send you drafts in Google Docs to become drafts in WordPress and it will automatically transfer your content to fit with your theme. Be sure to grab the [WordPress plugin](https://wordpress.org/plugins/docs-to-wordpress/) too!

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