Here’s why you can now use your favourite Google Docs add-ons at work

If you’ve never ventured into the “Add-ons” tab in Google Docs, you’re missing out. There’s all sorts of extra useful capabilities there you can access for free: from making labels for your mail, adding a bibliography to your academic essay, and using a mail merge feature to send personalized emails to a list.

But if you use Google Docs at work, chances are that your IT administrators have disabled add-ins altogether. Why? Because there was no option to deploy an add-in across an enterprise. It could be confusing if you started doing work on a shared document using one plug-in, but your colleague didn’t have that. It could be a bit of a project in itself just to sync up what the company’s “approved plug-ins for Google Docs” might be. Now Google is trying to fix that, as product manager Saurabh Gupta explains in a blog post on Google for Work.

  • Add-on developers now have the option to make their utility available for installation across an entire domain. That means IT administrators can choose to deploy an add-on across a whole enterprise at the same time. Add-ons for Docs, Sheets, and Forms can be deployed in this way.
  • Developers can also take a whitelist approach, letting users choose from a pre-approved list what add-ons they want to use. Or developers can approve add-ons for certain teams.
  • A support document on Google’s site explains how this can all be done.

Google continues bid to be more business-like

Following up on its Android for Work release earlier this month, Google is making clear efforts to take its popular consumer software and make it more work-friendly. If it happens, it will likely be because of a bottom-up effect where employees who rely on Google applications bug their IT department enough, leading to adoption of new features like this.

Brian Jackson
Brian Jackson
Editorial director of IT World Canada. Covering technology as it applies to business users. Multiple COPA award winner and now judge. Paddles a canoe as much as possible.

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