Handling Microsoft Office Docs in Google Drive

Often people send you files in Microsoft Office formats and you need to be able to open, edit and return them. If they don’t work in Google Drive it can be a frustrating process.

Announced at I/O 2014, though, that’s all changed, because both the web (for Chrome users) and mobile apps for Docs, Sheets, and Slides allow you to open and edit MS Office files without first converting them, so you can now edit and return the files in their original MS Office format.

To access this functionality, you’ll need a Chrome extension, available from the Chrome Store here :

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Once the extension is installed, Office files that you open in Chrome, or have in Gmail, or Google Drive, can be opened in Docs, Sheets, and Slides for you to view or edit:

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On first use, expect an information dialog about the new facilities:

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The edit interface is similar to the Google Docs edit interface but changed slightly; note the ‘Word’ logo at top left, the reminder that changes must be manually saved, and the information dialog displayed from the Help menu:

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Once your work is complete, your file can be saved back to its original MS Office format, or converted to Google’s Docs, Sheets, or Slides formats to enable more features, such as Google Drive’s collaborative editing, commenting, chat, etc.

The Microsoft Office file formats supported include .doc, .docx, .xls, .xlsx, .ppt and .pptx

[Note: If you use a Chromebook, this extension is already installed on Chrome OS by default.]

[Further Note: Google says: “With the integration of Quickoffice into the Google Docs, Sheets and Slides apps, the Quickoffice app will be unpublished from Google Play and the App Store in the coming weeks. Existing users with the app can continue to use it, but no features will be added and new users will not be able to install the app.”]

UPDATE: It appears that more functionality for this is awaiting the new Google Drive interface (coming soon).