Top Productivity Add-ons to Enhance Google Sheets

Spreadsheets are fantastic and powerful tools that can accomplish nearly anything—almost everything. However, the experience becomes even more amazing when you have add-ons to swiftly execute additional tasks—such as removing redundant rows, researching data, or automating text translation.

For years, Excel has been one of the most popular spreadsheet tools, partly due to its built-in powerful features and, to a large extent, thanks to its rich array of add-ons, also known as Excel Add-ins, that users can incorporate.

Now, the same holds true for Google Sheets, a user-friendly, free online spreadsheet tool. With the Sheets Add-ons library, you can seamlessly integrate reports, analytics, data analysis, and even email scheduling tools into your spreadsheet with just a few clicks.

Adding and Removing Add-ons in Google Sheets

Add-ons, extensions, plugins—these are what make the most popular software truly outstanding. Whether it’s Google Chrome, Adobe Photoshop, Microsoft Word, each of them is already an excellent program, but it’s the ability to add new extensions that turns them into indispensable tools. It’s the richness and usefulness of add-ons or extensions that keep you hooked to using a particular product or application, as they make your tasks more effortlessly achievable.

Google Sheets and the rest of the Google Docs suite were initially known as simpler alternatives to Microsoft Office. However, over time, Google has continuously added new features to create a distinctive experience. Starting in 2014, they introduced Add-ons to further extend the capabilities of their products. Today, there are hundreds of add-ons for each Google Docs application, and you only need a few clicks to install them.

To get started with Google Sheets Add-ons, simply open a new or existing spreadsheet in your browser, select the Add-ons menu at the top right, and click on “Get Add-ons.” This action will open the Google Sheets Add-ons store, where you can explore more than 250 add-ons or filter them by category.

Installing Add-ons is Effortless in Google Sheets. Installing add-ons is very straightforward. Just click the Free button that appears when you hover over the add-on, then grant the necessary permissions. After a moment, click on the Add-ons menu again to see your newly added add-on, along with any other add-ons you’ve installed. Simply click on the add-on to launch it—typically, add-ons will open in a sidebar or with a pop-up window on your spreadsheet.

Managing and Removing Add-ons in Google Sheets. When you need to remove an add-on, simply click on “Manage add-ons,” then select the “Manage” button next to any of your installed add-ons to disable it in this document or remove it from your account.

It’s worth noting that you should install around 20 add-ons, depending on your screen resolution and size, as additional add-ons and options will be hidden at the end of your menu.

Most Google Sheets add-ons are installed within Google Sheets, ensuring compatibility across all browsers—similar to installing a Chrome extension at the office and having it work on your laptop at home. However, some add-ons are designed specifically for the Google Chrome browser and will only function when you are using Chrome. No add-ons work on the Google Sheets mobile app; you can only use add-ons from your laptop or desktop. Next, let’s explore some useful add-ons.

Top Productivity Add-ons for Google Sheets

The introduced add-ons below include both free and paid options, grouped into categories with similar features, allowing you to choose the add-on that suits your needs and budget.

Add-ons Specifically for Forms

If you need to quickly add contact information, customer feedback, etc., to your spreadsheet, the simplest way to do that is through forms, and Google Sheets has a built-in tool for it. Google Forms, the free form tool by Google, lets you create simple forms and share them with anyone with just a click in Google Sheets.

Simply click on Tools >> Create a Form in Google Sheets, and the Google Form editor will open with a new form automatically linked to your spreadsheet. Add the fields you want, share the form with your colleagues or followers, and the results will automatically appear in Google Sheets.

Next, add the following add-ons to help manage your form results:

  1. CopyDown: This add-on helps add formulas to create answers. It automatically copies formulas to new rows, calculates values, and computes results from answers in your form.
  2. Flubaroo: This add-on helps grade results from a form. Flubaroo can automatically grade multiple-choice options, provide you with charts on scores, averages, etc. You can even send emails to those who filled out the form, including their scores and questions they skipped.
  3. Advanced Summary: This add-on helps create reports from your form data. It automatically generates charts and reports from your form data, saving the data as a new view mode in your spreadsheet. Alternatively, save that page as a PDF for a quick survey report.
  4. rowCall: This add-on helps sort entries into their own sheets. If you want to organize your form entries by the person who added them, the feedback type they provided, the location they visited, or any other common data, rowCall can do that for you. The add-on creates a new sheet for each feedback type and automatically sorts the data into the appropriate sheet, so you don’t have to spend time searching and filtering form data.

Quick Data Collection Support Add-ons

Spreadsheets are an excellent way to organize everything, from survey results to your financial data. But how do you get your data into a spreadsheet if you’re not using forms?

With several available apps, you can export your data as .csv and open it in Google Sheets. Alternatively, with these extensions, you can automate the process.

  1. Wolfram|Alpha for Sheets: Fetches data about the world around you, providing information on population, finance, nutrition, etc. It seamlessly inserts data or charts directly into your spreadsheet.
  2. Import.io: Turns any website into Sheets. Simply input a link, and Import.io transforms it into a table. You can edit columns to get any data you want, then export it to Google Sheets or download as a spreadsheet. Alternatively, use their batch extraction spreadsheet template to import data from websites directly into Google Sheets.
  3. Supermetrics: Imports advertising, financial, and social data. This add-on connects with analytics tools like Google Analytics and Moz, social networks including Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, payment services like Stripe, and other advertising services and databases.
  4. Blockspring: Imports and analyzes data via APIs. Blockspring connects your spreadsheets to various web APIs for data import and analysis, manually or scheduled, with just one click.
  5. Citable: Turns Google Sheets into a citation tool. Citable copies text, links, websites, author information, and any tags you add, saving them in Google Sheets.
  6. Wikipedia Tools: Helps find information from Wiki. Besides speeding up your work with Wiki information, this add-on adds new functions to your spreadsheet. For example, you can use the =WIKIDATAFACTS() function to input information, translation, synonyms, categories, etc., into your spreadsheet.
  7. Knoema Data Finder: Helps find global statistical data. This add-on provides a sidebar for searching and importing data on various topics from governments and industry sources globally.
  8. Twitter Archiver: Real-time Twitter search. Lets you search for topics or hashtags on Twitter and saves the results in a spreadsheet. Twitter Archiver finds all tweets from Twitter’s history and updates your spreadsheet with new tweets hourly for free or every 10-15 minutes with a paid account.
  9. Google Analytics: Analyzes your website’s statistics. This add-on can fetch any analytics data you want and save it in a spreadsheet. You’ll need to refresh manually for new data, making it perfect for regular time-based data comparisons in your spreadsheet.
  10. Email Hunter: Finds email addresses via a spreadsheet. Simply create an account, add your API key to the add-on, then enter the domain. Email Hunter will populate your spreadsheet with any emails it can find for that company, ranked by the reliability of the email address.

Text-Centric Add-ons for Google Sheets

Your spreadsheet is filled with data; what’s next? Here are some useful tools for translating, analyzing, and mapping your text in Google Sheets.

  1. AYLIEN Text Analysis: Explores your text. This add-on is an excellent tool for summarizing text, analyzing emotional tones, finding concepts, and extracting specific content, providing detailed insights from your entered text in seconds.
  2. Translate My Sheet: Translates your entire spreadsheet. Simply install, choose the source and target languages, or let the add-on automatically detect the source language. Your entire sheet will then be translated in just a few seconds.
  3. Geocode by Awesome Table: Finds geographic data for specific addresses. This add-on helps find the latitude and longitude of each address, adds them to new columns, and suggests creating Google Maps within its companion app, Awesome Table. There, you can customize labels and sort through addresses in the table.
  4. Mapping Sheets: Creates custom maps. Mapping Sheets can turn your spreadsheet into a Google Maps, where you can filter addresses based on location or category from your sheet. These maps are created from .json files stored in a xsMapping folder in Google Drive. Set that folder to public, and you can share the links that Mapping Sheets provides with anyone.
  5. Sudoku Sheets: Creates Sudoku games in your spreadsheet. Sudoku Sheets can automatically generate easy, medium, or hard Sudoku puzzles in your spreadsheet or allow you to design your own puzzles. It can validate entries as you add them, and if you struggle, it can automatically solve puzzles—even the ones you’ve designed.
  6. autoCrat: Turns your data into a template. Automatically turns the data in your spreadsheet into a complete document, with the data you’ve entered or when new data is added. autoCrat even adds a link to the completed document for each row in your spreadsheet, so you can easily reopen them later.

Spreadsheet Formatting Add-ons

With all the new data in your spreadsheet, things might look a bit messy. These tools will help you tidy up empty rows and columns, find and replace text more efficiently than the default Sheets tools, and transform your spreadsheet into beautiful tables.

  1. Power Tools: Format and clean up your spreadsheet. It can merge sheets, combine values, data by columns, rows, ranges, remove duplicate values, and more. This highly-rated and powerful add-on significantly enhances Google Sheets into an all-in-one tool.
  2. Table Styles: Add color and style to your spreadsheet. Applying default colors, fonts, and other design elements to your new sheets every time can be dull. Table Styles can help you avoid the hassle. Simply add your preferred formatting to the sheet, select the formatted area, then click Table Styles -> Create style from the selection in the Add-ons menu.
  3. Awesome Table: Transform your data into visual tables. Awesome Table provides a customizable interface to browse your spreadsheet data in visualizations like tables, maps, tabs, and Gantt charts. You can customize the view mode, select the number of rows and columns, as well as set other view mode options. Then, you can share your Awesome Table design or use it to sort and filter data using drop-down menus and dynamic sliders.
  4. Add Rows & Columns: Add extra space to your sheet. Quickly add a menu to your spreadsheet; just input the number of rows or columns you want to add, and a second later, your data has extra room.
  5. Crop Sheet: Automatically trim your spreadsheet. Want your sheet to display only the data you need? Crop Sheet is the simplest way to clean it up. Just click Add-ons -> Crop Sheet -> Crop to Data, and Crop Sheet will remove all empty cells and rows, leaving your data in a compact sheet. Or, you can crop it to a selection to eliminate unwanted data.
  6. Remove Blank Rows: Clean up your spreadsheet. This add-on gives you more options than other add-ons to tidy up your spreadsheet. It can delete or hide empty rows, track entirely empty rows, or rows with specific empty columns. If some cells include spaces, you can choose to treat them as blank cells. And you can delete blank rows and columns across all your sheets or unhide rows with hidden data.
  7. Insert and Delete Cells: Add empty cells instead of full rows and columns. Sometimes you just need to shift some data down in your spreadsheet without adding new full rows and columns. Insert and Delete Cells can do that, adding cells below or to the right of your current selection. Or it can tidy up similarly, removing those cells above or to the left of your selection.

Build Your Own Add-on with Google Apps Script

Still haven’t found the spreadsheet tool you’re looking for? Don’t worry. With a little effort, you can create your own custom Google Sheets add-on using Google Apps Script.

If you’ve ever written JavaScript code or have some time to learn the basics, you can build feature-rich Google Sheets add-ons and even publish them to the Google Sheets Add-ons store if you wish. All you need is the Script Editor, neatly tucked away in the Tools menu within Google Sheets.

There, you can write JavaScript-based scripts to add custom menus, sidebars, and functions to Google Sheets. And if you have existing Excel VBA macros that you’d like to use in Google Sheets, Bruce Mcpherson’s guide can help you convert them. Afterwards, you can publish your add-on.

Spreadsheets are not just great tools for many types of tasks—they are often the best tools for certain tasks. Take a few minutes to install powerful and versatile Google Sheets add-ons to turn it into your perfect digital productivity tool. Or, perhaps it’s time to build your own add-ons.

Hopefully, through this article, you’ve found a suitable add-on, enhancing your workflow and productivity.

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