We’ve recently been looking into the best templates for Microsoft Office applications and also particularly looking at the best templates for Microsoft Word. Templates aren’t the only tool available, however, to augment your Microsoft Word experience. Like with browser extensions plugins, or add-ins as their known for Office apps, can add particular features to your version of Microsoft Word.
There are many different types of Microsoft Word plugin so let’s go through some of the best available. A lot of these add-ins will also work on Excel, Outlook, and PowerPoint.
Plugins for Microsoft Word
In past versions of Office, add-ins used to be called Office apps and in many ways that describes them rather well. Mini Office programs that add specific features to your Office documents. Think about having to find a certain image or maybe signing an electronic document and you’ll get an idea of what Microsoft Word add-ins can do.
Where to find Microsoft Word add-ins
There is an official Microsoft Office store for add-ons that can be found in the Insert tab in the main menu ribbon that runs across the top of the latest version of Microsoft Word. If you’re running Word as a part of an Office 365 subscription, you’ll have the latest version and so once you’ve clicked on Insert you should see the Add-ins option. Clicking this will show you the Get Add-ins button, which will open the store when clicked.
Choosing the right add-ins for Word
Just like with any app or browser extension store, you need to tread carefully when installing add-ins on Microsoft Word. Not all add-ins will work as well as each other and some could even cause problems. This means you need to pay attention to the add-ins Names and more importantly Ratings.
The most useful plugins for Microsoft word
Wikipedia Word add-in
The Wikipedia add-in for Microsoft Word adds a handy encyclopedia widget to your word processing. You can search Wikipedia entries by typing into the search bar, which is found to the right on new documents or you can simply highlight text while the add-in is active, and it will automatically search for the highlighted text. Images and tables will be minimized but still form a part of the Wikipedia entry and can be opened up simply and quickly.
If there is one way that smartphones have greatly excelled over laptops and PCs in recent years it is through the seamless integration of emojis. On your phone, extensive libraries filled with all manner of different types of emoji lie just a simple tap away. The Emoji Keyboard add-in for Microsoft Word puts this capability on Windows PC and Mac too.
The Handy Calculator Word add-in is simple enough but very useful. It adds a basic calculator function to Microsoft Word that works right there in the app. There is no need to open a separate calculator program, which could save you time opening new apps and then flipping between them while you get on with your work. Also, as well as a regular calculator the Office add-in store at office.com has lots of different types of calculator add-in including a BMI calculator, a VAT calculator, and even more complicated tools like a benefit-cost analysis calculator.
DocuSign for Word
Giving consent is simple enough on a physical document. You simply scribble out your signature and you’ve consented to whatever is written in the text on the document. It isn’t so simple on digital documents when you don’t have a pen and most people use standard input devices like keyboards. This is where the DocuSign for Word plugin comes in. It offers an easy, in-app way to add eSignatures to your Microsoft Word documents.
The OfficeMaps add-in for Word makes it very easy to add images of maps into your documents. If you’re making flyers, posters, invitations, or any other type of document that could benefit from having a map, this Word plugin will save you time and effort. All you need to do is search for the location in question and then add the map to your document.
Grammarly works like an AI-augmented extension of Word’s in-built spelling and grammar checker. Although, the best Grammarly services require a paid subscription the free option still marks an improvement over the basic Word checker. It’ll also learn from you the more you use it.
Pexels is a library of free stock imagery that you can use for any document that you’re working on that need visuals. The Pexels add-in for Word adds this library to Microsoft Word so that you search the stock images without having to leave Word or open your web browser. Another Word add-in that offers access to an extensive library of free-to-use stock imagery is Pixabay Images.
Icons by Noun Project
The final Word add-in we’re going to highlight today works a little like the Emoji Keyboard. The Icons by Noun Project Word plugin makes it very easy to add icons and symbols to your documents, which normally would be difficult to do using just your keyboard. With the Word add-in installed, all you need to do is search through the database of icons and then click the one you want to add it to your document.
Just like with browser extensions, Word plugins are built to help save you time, make life easier, and most of all keep you in the same app. We’ve highlighted our top Word plugins that will do all of those things. Some Word add-ins offer simple extensions to your Word experience but others, like the Emoji keyboard and Icons by Noun Project, offer elegant solutions to the new types of problems that have materialized since we started using smartphones as much as we use our PCs. Other good add-ins worth your attention are Font Finder, Consistency Checker, Myscript Math Sample, Woodpecker, and Abbreviation List.
We hope you like the Microsoft Office add-ins we’ve recommended and would love to hear about any add-ins you like, which we haven’t mentioned. Let us know all about them in the comments below.