Microsoft Office is a powerful platform as it is out of the box, but you can make it even powerful with free add-ins and improve your productivity.
Add-ins are small apps that add enhancements to your Microsoft Office applications. Some add-ins can work in one or more Office applications. Also, make sure to check out our article for the 10 best plug-ins you can use to add more features to Microsoft Office.
Best Free Productivity Add-ins for Microsoft Office
The built-in grammar engine in Microsoft Office isn’t as powerful, and it seems. If you’re an author of professional documents or just want to improve your writing, Grammarly can make a positive impact on your grammar and spelling. Other functions include the proper use of punctuation and sentence structure. Not all features are available in the free version, but it does a much better job than the built-in spell-check and grammar system in Office. When you are ready to review your document, just click the Enable Grammarly button to start checking your document. It’s also worth noting that Grammarly has extensions for Chrome and Firefox.
If you work with a lot of documents, Office Tabs makes it easier to manage all your Office files from within the respective program by creating a tab. This reduces the productivity lost when having to find and switch between taskbar windows. The latest version works with Office 2016 and it’s free for non-business use.
Imagr – Image Search
The Office Online Pictures feature lets you insert pictures found on Bing, Facebook, or your personal Flickr account. A better option is the Imagr add-in. It allows you to search the rest of Flickr for more images you can incorporate into your documents.
If you want to make your PowerPoint presentations stand out visually, then you need to have Office Timeline. This free add-in can create timeline charts that help bring your message across visually. While Office already has SmartArt graphics, Timeline is much easier to set up and use.
When doing research, you are likely to look up information on the free and easily accessible online encyclopedia, Wikipedia. Wikipedia for Office lets you find reference information, which you can incorporate as quotes to your documents. You can select a bit of text then search Wikipedia, too. Then that information is presented in a central task pane.
Keep Outlook Running
For the Outlook addicts out there, this add-in lets you keep Outlook running in the background when you close it. Why would you need this? If you frequently need to keep up with email, then this is an excellent way to do it. It’s especially handy for Exchange users, and we know how loading Outlook and fetching mail can be a test of patience.
For your office accountant, this easy to use tool can help you calculate percentage calculations in your spreadsheets or documents. Ideal for balancing the budget and you don’t have to be a math wiz to use it.
This popular Excel add-in has been around since 1999. If you thought Excel was powerful as it is, then after using ASAP Utilities, you might wonder, how you ever worked without it. ASAP Utilities lets you select cells based on content, formatting. You can also use advanced sorting and sort by more than just values. You can download a free version for home use.
Onetastic for OneNote
Onetastic builds on the macro functionality in OneNote. When using this add-in; you can add features like Find and Replace, Daily Journal view, custom section colors, author information, or removal.
Kanban for Outlook
Outlook can be overwhelming at times. With Kanban for Outlook, you can manage both tasks and emails much better. Tasks can be broken down into several categories such as not started, in progress, or completed. A status can be changed automatically due to the time limits of each task and corrected manually by just dragging the relevant item to another column.
Is there a must-have an add-in for Microsoft Office that’s a must-have for you? If so, let us know in the comments below.