Edit Microsoft Office Files in Google G Suite

Gone are the days of having to manually convert Microsoft Office documents to G Suite files. Find out how you can now read, edit, and comment on Office files in G Suite, without having to convert them.

Although Google G Suite is the leader in the productivity suites market (it has 62% of the market share as of July 1, 2019), Microsoft Office 365 still has a sizeable chunk (38%). As a result, it is not uncommon for G Suite users to need to open Office files. For example, they might need to work with Word files that customers, suppliers, or remote office workers send them.

In the past, G Suite users had to manually convert an Office document to a G Suite file in order to open and edit it. Alternatively, they could use the Office Editing for Docs, Sheets & Slides extension in the Google Chrome web browser. In either case, the resulting file was saved and stored as a G Suite file in Google Drive.

Those days are now over. In June 2019, Google rolled out an G Suite update. Once installed, users are able to read, edit, and comment on Office files in G Suite, without having to convert them. The documents are saved and stored in their original Office file type in Google Drive. G Suite users do not need to have Office installed on their computers to use this feature, which Google refers to as “Office editing”.

The ability to open and work with Office files in G Suite will be especially beneficial for collaboration. Both Office and G Suite users can work on the same Office document. As a result, they won’t have to keep two copies of the file (one in each file type) or have to continually convert the file.

Types of Files Supported

The Office editing feature is available in three G Suite apps: Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides. The free versions of these apps also have it. The Office file types that can be converted are:

  • Word files (.doc, .docx, and .dot)
  • Excel files (.xls, .xlsx, .xlsm, and .xlt)
  • PowerPoint files (.ppt, .pptx, .pps, and .pot)

Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files older than Office 2007 can be opened and edited. However, they will be automatically saved in a newer file format.

How to Use the New Feature

The Office editing feature is enabled by default, so there is only one task you need to do before using it. You must remove the Office Editing for Docs, Sheets, & Slides extension if it is present in your Chrome browser.

The new feature is easy to use. For example, if you want to edit a Word file that is in Google Drive, you follow these steps:

  1. Double-click the Word file in Google Drive.
  2. Click the “Open with Google Docs” option that is near the top of the preview pane that appears.
  3. Edit the document. When the file is in Google Docs, you will see its file type in the upper left corner, as Figure 1 shows.

All your changes will be automatically saved to the original Word file. If you want to save the edited file as a Google Doc instead, you can select the “Save as Google Docs” option in the “File” menu. Remember that we do not recommend editing files with sensitive personal information in Google Docs ever; there are more secure ways to collaborate. Call us at 800-421-7151 to learn more.