Working with MS Office files in Google Drive's Office Platform

Google Docs, Sheets, Slides

While Microsoft Office is still one of the most widely popular office suites,more and more people are choosing to use Google Drive and its related office apps instead.  

One of the reasons that so many people have begun to migrate from Microsoft Office to the Google Drive option is that Google Drive includes Docs, Slides, and Sheets, which allow you to edit files from Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel.

 There are no compatibility issues and there is more or less the same amount of functionality.  Of course, if you need to do more complex tasks with your documents, you may be better off sticking with the MS office suite, most people find Google drive more convenient.  Today I want to teach you how you can work with your documents created in MS Office in Google Drive's cloud based office platform.

Let's Get Started

First of all, you need to open the Google Chrome web browser and enable the Chrome extension, which allows you to use the Google Drive Office Compatibility Mode (OCM.) When you use the OCM, you can edit the files right there in Google Drive, or you can convert the Microsoft Office files to Google Drive format. Converting the files into Google Drive format won’t prevent you from re-downloading them as Microsoft Office files.

Android and iOS systems also enable you to edit Microsoft Office files in Google Drive, as long as you have the Google Drive app.

Using Google Drive with Microsoft Office Files on PC or Mac

If you are using a Microsoft PC or a Macintosh computer, you need to open your Google Chrome web browser and navigate to the “Office editing for Docs, Sheets, & Slides” extension download page in the chrome store.  Once you are there, simply click on the “Add to Chrome” button to install it.

Once the extension has been installed you are ready to go.  If you already have the Microsoft Office file that you want to edit (csv, doc, ppt, xls …) on your computer, then simply drag it from the desktop to the Chrome window (the copy icon should appear.) This process is the same regardless of whether you’re working with Google Docs, Slides, or Sheets.

After this, a dialog box will give you some basic information about the OCM. Now you just need to click on the “Got It” button to close the window and you will see the Microsoft Office file in your Google Drive.

(Note that once you do this, you will not see this popup in the future, so I suggest you click on the “Learn more” button now if you are interested. )

Converting your document to Google Drive format will enable more features for you, so go to “File” then click on “Save as Google Docs” (depending on the file, it may say “Slides” or “Sheets”.) Another dialog box will pop up, showing you the conversion process is taking place. Once this is done, you can then edit and work on the file in Google Drive format.

When you’re done, go to “File” then click on “Download as” then click on Microsoft Word (or PowerPoint or Excel) in order to download the Google Drive file as a Microsoft Office file.

If you want to change the file name in the “Save As” box, feel free to do so. Then hit “Save.”

You can also upload Microsoft Office files to your Google Drive via the Windows Google app, downloadable for free. Uploading Microsoft Office files this way means that you can access Google Drive within your web browser to open the Word file.

Your Word file will open in a new tab in which you can edit it. You can also click “Download” to download the files as a Word file. Next to “Download” is “Share,” which enables you to share the file with other users.

The file is still a Microsoft Word file, it’s just that you’re using OCM. If you go to “File” then click on “Save as,” you can convert the file to Google Docs format.

Using Google Drive to Work with Microsoft Office Files on a Mobile Device

Use the Google Docs app for iOS and Android (or Google Slides or Google Sheets.) Also, be sure to download the Google Drive app for iOS and Android as well.

This way, whenever you try to open a Microsoft Office file using the app, it will automatically open in the correct application (Docs, Slides, or Sheets.)

Now, open the Google Drive app and locate the Word file you want to convert. Tap on it with your finger and it will open in Google Docs. Then you can edit and format it, and when you’re done you can tap the checkmark icon in the left-hand corner.

In the right-hand corner there is an icon made of 3 vertical dots. Tap it to see whether you are in Google Docs format or Microsoft Word format.

Although there is a share icon, you can’t share Word files in Google Drive. You must first save the Word file as a Google Docs file in order to share it. Go to the Share & Export submenu to choose “Save as Google Docs file” and the share option will become available to you. Here, you can also save the Google Docs file as a Microsoft Word file.

Once you convert a document, the OCM won’t be featured on the main menu any longer. While some of the options may change, you can still edit and share the file, and if you want, convert it back to Microsoft Word format.

Moving away from your mobile device, you can also download the Google Docs file on your PC as well as download it as a Microsoft Word file. Using the Google Drive for Windows app lets you see local files from your Google Drive, but clicking on them will link you to online versions so be sure you are connected to the Internet.

Wrapping Up

One of the beautiful things about using Google Drive and Google Docs on both your mobile devices and your computers is that you can access all your documents from anywhere in the world as long as you have an internet connection.

  On top of being able to access these files, you will also be able to edit and share them with people from anywhere.

It also ensures that there is never any problems with compatibility since Google Docs, Slides, and Sheets don’t have rigid proprietary formats.  It is important to note that the google apps will also be compatible with documents created in several other word processing applications including Apache Open Office and Kingsoft Writer among others.