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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Google Add-on Tidbits

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There is an easy to use security checkup allows you to see what devices have been logged in using your account as well as what applications are using your account credentials. Follow the step by step instructions and see if your account is as secure as you think it is. This is a great new tool to check all your Google email accounts. https://security.google.com/settings/security/secureaccount

  Ever wanted to mail merge from a spreadsheet in Google Sheets?  How about sending an email based on Google Form responses?  If so, this Google Drive Add-on is for you!

FormMule is one way to perform unique mail merges from your spreadsheets. With the ability to set up 15 different email templates. Check out the link to video showing how it works.  http://youtu.be/KhxmvoBUC68.

If you already make heavy use of Google Translate, this add-on can save a lot of time. Instead of having to open Google Translate in a new browser window, you can just highlight some text and translate it from inside the document. On the downside, the add-on currently supports only five languages—English, French, German, Japanese, and Spanish. You can find the source code here: https://developers.google.com/apps-script/quickstart/docs.

Need to print out form letters with people’s names and other personalized details? Check out DocumentMerge, which lets you generate multiple Google Docs based on personal information in a corresponding Google Sheet. This add-on includes a helpful wizard to guide you through the process.

Do not like FormMule than try Yet Another Mail Merge. Much like DocumentMerge, it lets you generate form letters from a spreadsheet. But while DocumentMerge is for printing, Yet Another Mail Merge is for emailing. After you have created  a message in Gmail and inserted some syntax, use the add-on in Google Sheets to select the message and mail it out. The add-on itself isn’t intuitive, but the store listing has a straightforward walkthrough. Yet Another Mail Merge lets you send up to 99 messages per day for free, which should be just fine for personal use.

AbleBits Suite, which is actually five separate add-ons, but together they give you more editing power. Remove Duplicates scans and highlights duplicate cells and provides an option to remove them. Advanced Find & Replace lets you search across spreadsheets and much more. Split Names separates values in a single cell into individual cells, and Merge Values combines multiple cell values into one cell.  Find Fuzzy Matches looks for spelling variations on a given word search.

Mapping Sheets takes a list of addresses and plots them onto a Google Map. You can filter the map data by category, as specified on the spreadsheet. It may not seem like a useful tool, but all kinds of potential uses come to mind, from allowing online students a visualization as to where their classmates are located, to all the places one might want to visit.

If you have your students use Google for papers, you will for sure want to have them add-on EasyBib. MLA, APA and Chicago Style are available. This add-on allows you to insert citations directly into Google Documents directly within the Document.

If your up on educational technology, I am sure you have heard about mind mapping and the importance of visualization to some learners. Mindmeister lets you take bulleted lists and convert it into a mindmap for a graphical depiction. This would be a fascinating way to convert a table of contents or outline for a paper into something easier to read. I’d really like it to go the other way and let students create a mind map and convert to a traditional outline, it is a very cool tool that will be useful for education. The Mindmeister Google Drive add-on gives a powerful punch to organizing your writing.

Like how Microsoft provides a Table of Content tool in Microsoft Word? The good news is Google Drive can also insert a Table of Contents inside the document. The Table of Contents add-on puts it in the sidebar. You can use it in Google Docs to create the scripts and plans for an online presentation and the table of contents side bar will make the document much easier to navigate.Remember just like in Microsoft Word, for it to work, you have to make things as Heading 1, Heading 2, etc.

If you have dyslexia like I do or just are a bad proof reader, you may want to check out the Consistency Checker add-on. This one is very useful for those long documents or other documents that have to be consistent. This add-on provides an extra check for spelling and also looks to make sure numbers were handled properly, hyphenation and other types of writing mechanics were used in a consistent way. For college students writing project documents together, this is a great tool.

Do you use Storify? If so the Twetter Curator Google Doc add-on could be a way to pull in tweets from your class Twitter account or another source as you annotate and discuss them. The purpose of Kaizena is to help teachers give better feedback to students. The teacher just pulls the document into Kaizena with one click and easily add voice comments and thoughts on student work.

So you want to include clip art and not have to worry so much about legal usage issues? The Open Clip Art add-on has 50,000 thousand pieces of clip art. It is nice that these graphics include icons so it is easier to navigate to other sites by making buttons. Music teachers will want to check out Vextab Music Notation.
 Just like Microsoft Office, you can use Google to create relaxing Sudoku. The Google Sheets add-on Sudoku Puzzle can generate puzzles at four difficulty levels and helps you create your own. You can also check your answers from within the sheet or insert the solution in a separate grid.

If you know of a great Google add-on that is free and please share it with me.

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