Getting Familiar with the G Suite Side Panel

G Suite's side panel makes accessing apps and third party add-ons that much more convenient. Learn how to use this feature and how it can help your productivity.

    G Suite is championed for being user friendly and is consistently updating their platform to be more so. The side panel found in the browser view of several G suite applications is a convenient way to access other G Suite applications or third party add-ons.

    Below, we demonstrate where to locate this feature, how to use the default add-ons, and how to add some of your own.

    Where is the side panel?

    From it’s name I’m sure you gathered that it is located on the side. There is a small arrow located at the lower right hand side of your browser window that you can click to show or hide the side panel. You can leave it open and visible for convenience or tuck it away with one click.

    This image show the small tab to reveal the side panel from a Gmail perspective.

    The side panel can be found in Gmail, Drive, Docs, Sheets, and more. However, while usable in Docs, Sheets, Forms, and Slides, you cannot install new add-ons from these applications.  

    When the side panel is open, a similar arrow can be used to close it.

    How to install add-ons to side panel

    First, be sure you are logged in to G Suite. Adding to the side panel can only be done on certain pages including Gmail, Drive, and Calendar. Click the arrow to reveal the side panel. Then tap the + plus button to open the G Suite Marketplace. It will start by suggesting add-ons that work with the application you have open. Alternatively you can search for an application by clicking the magnifying glass in the top bar.

    G Suite Marketplace suggests apps that work with Drive.

    Single click on an add-on to learn more and bring up the install button.

    Click the install button on your desired application.

    After clicking install, you will be asked to give permission to the application. It is important to understand what data third party applications can access. To continue, agree to the prompts and you will get a confirmation on your installation.

    Successful installation pop up will appear. Click done when ready.

    The new add-on will be located in any side panels where it can be applied. You can see the Automagical Forms add-on respresented by the pink unicorn icon.

    How to use side panel add-ons

    Each side panel add on will have different uses. For all, you can single click on it’s icon to begin using it or to manage the application. Some will give you instructions from the side panel while other’s like Google Calendar or Keep will allow you to make edits or create new entries directly from the panel.

    You can also manage your applications from your main settings or by clicking the plus icon and then the add-ons setting gear. If you need to uninstall the add-on, you can do so from the G Suite Marketplace. Just click the dot dot dot to see your options.

    Learning how to use the default add-ons

    The side panel comes with three default add-ons that are native to G Suite. Each has their own use within documents and other G Suite applications. If you have used these apps before, using within the side panel is similar with a slightly different interface. However, if you want step-by-step instructions, our knowledgebase has got you covered. Follow these links to learn how to edit your Google Calendar, view and add notes in Keep, and check in on and check off your Tasks.

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