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Add-on types

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This page provides a general overview of the two types of add-ons you can build: Add-ons and Editor Add-ons. These add-on types differ in what applications they extend, how they are created, and what restrictions they have.

Add-ons

Add-ons are the latest generation of add-ons, and provide many capabilities, including:

  • Build just one add-on for multiple apps: Instead of separate add-ons for Gmail, Calendar, Drive, and the Editors, you can build and manage a single Add-on to extend multiple apps.

  • Increase your brand awareness: Add-on icons are default visible in the right side panel of the add-on’s host apps.

  • Build homepage experiences: You can create individual homepages for each app your add-on extends, or use the same homepage for multiple apps.

  • Reflect the user's context in your add-on: You can design your Add-on to show interfaces specific the add-on’s host app. For example, your add-on can display info from an email or calendar event in your add-on, or suggest an action based on the current app page.

  • Use standardized interfaces: Construct user interfaces from built-in widget elements provided by the Apps Script Card service. You don't need any expertise with HTML or CSS to define these interfaces.

  • Extend desktop and mobile clients for Gmail: If a Add-on extends Gmail, you can use it in both the desktop and mobile versions of Gmail. If you build a Add-on that extends Gmail, you don't need to design a separate mobile version of the add-on. The same interface is used everywhere.

Editor Add-ons

Editor Add-ons extend one of the Google Editor applications, such as Docs, Sheets, Slides, or Forms. Each Editor Add-on type (for example, Sheets add-ons) can have its own set of type-specific capabilities, restrictions, and special considerations. When building Editor Add-ons, it's important to understand these Editor-specific details. For more details on add-ons for specific Editors, see the corresponding sections:

Editor Add-ons can automate common editor tasks such as file creation, editing, formatting, and moving data between applications. Editor Add-on interfaces are highly-customizable for the tasks at hand.

Editor Add-ons behave differently from Add-ons in the following ways:

  • Editor Add-ons can create interfaces consisting of menu items, dialogs, and sidebars. Add-on dialogs and sidebars are defined using standard HTML and CSS.
  • Editor Add-ons have special authorization rules because they create, modify, or otherwise interact with files within Google Drive. It is important to understand the Editor Add-on authorization lifecycle while developing an Editor Add-on.
  • Files created and updated in each editor have specific structures. For example, Google Slides presentations are composed of pages which can be slides, masters, or layouts. You should understand these file structures, as add-ons often interact with them when reading or editing files.
  • Editor Add-ons only function in desktop clients, not Android or iOS.