Android add-ons (also referred to as "mobile add-ons") are Android apps that can be called from Google Docs or Google Sheets editor apps on a mobile device, and are built by developers like you to enhance or extend the capabilities of those editors. Android add-ons can use the Apps Script API to directly execute functions in Apps Script projects. This allows Android add-ons to retrieve and manipulate data from a Google Doc or Sheet using standard Apps Script techniques. Just like desktop add-ons, Android add-ons let you to craft custom user interfaces—but with the full capabilities of the Android platform at your disposal.
Any existing Android app can be modified to become an Android add-on in addition to its existing functionality. For example, a cookbook app could be modified so that its recipies can be saved to or imported from Google Docs. As an Android add-on, the cookbook app could then be launched directly from the Google Docs mobile editor.
Using Android Add-ons
Users can install your published Android add-on from the Google Play store, just like any other Android application. After installing, the app becomes available to the user via the Add-ons menu in the Google Docs or Google Sheets mobile editor apps, or through context menus.
Upon opening your add-on, the user is presented with the interface you design. You can customize this interface in any way you like—we recommend you follow the Material Design guidelines for Android whenever possible.
As the user interacts with the interface, most add-ons use the Apps Script API to execute Apps Script functions to access data in the Doc or Sheet associated with the add-on. Android add-ons can also use the Apps Script API to access other services via Apps Script, such as Gmail, Google Calendar, and Google Drive.
Once the user is done interacting with your add-on, closing or backing out of it returns the user to the calling editor, where any changes your add-on made to the open Doc or Sheet are shown.
See what you can make
The Converting Android Apps into Android Add-ons guide shows how you can build your Android add-on by adapting an existing Android app. Naturally, you can also build an Android app from scratch then use the guide to create an Android add-on from it.
You can also download the Mobile Doc Translate Add-on to see a working example of an Android add-on structure.
Things you can't do
There are a few restrictions on what Android add-ons can do:
Change features in G Suite
Like regular add-ons, the Android add-ons framework is designed to enhance Google Sheets and Docs—not to add limits. Consequently, you can't alter existing features or lock down the G Suite document sharing model.
Affect the Docs or Sheets editor apps
Android add-ons cannot adjust the appearence or function of the Docs or Sheets editor apps that call them. They also cannot change which file is being presented in the app. For example, an Android add-on cannot change the active sheet in the Sheets app, or open a new Document in the Document app.
Create and adjust triggers
Creating or adjusting Apps Script triggers is currently not possible with the Apps Script API.
Extend other G Suite mobile apps
Currently Android add-ons can only be built for Google Docs and Google Sheets. Other G Suite applications with mobile apps (like Google Slides) are not supported by Android add-ons. However, regular Gmail add-ons function for both desktop and mobile devices.
Android Add-ons Developer Preview
During developer preview:
- Google reserves the right to change the integration points, APIs and intents that support the Android Add-ons feature.
- Google can change the way in which this feature is distributed, discovered and used.
This gives us the flexibility to rapidly iterate in collaboration with our partners to offer the best user and developer experience.