Google Docs Users Can Edit MS Office Docs Without Converting Them

The conversion-free Google Docs editing is just one of several key new upgrades to Google's cloud-based office suite.

Google Docs and Microsoft Office

For Google Docs users, it has always required an extra step or two to convert a Microsoft Office file into a usable format when reading or editing it with Google Docs or Apps. That little annoyance, however, is now a thing of the past.

Starting with Google's latest update to Google Docs, both the mobile and Web-based versions of the applications automatically allow users to edit Microsoft Office documents without any intervention by a user, making it simpler and faster, wrote Ryan Tabone, a Google director of product management, in a June 25 post on the Google Drive Blog.

"Sometimes people send you files and you need to be able to open them, make some edits, and send them back," wrote Tabone. "If they don't use Docs, Sheets and Slides, it can be a challenge. Starting today, you no longer have to worry, because both the Web and mobile apps for Docs, Sheets and Slides let you edit Office files—without conversion—so you can now edit and send back files in their original format."

The new no-conversion editing capabilities are possible because the updated mobile apps for Docs, Sheets and Slides now come with Office editing built right in, wrote Tabone. A new Chrome extension adds to the capabilities, giving users the ability to edit and share files directly from Google Drive, Gmail or from a Chromebook, where the extension is already installed.

Users will still be able to convert documents by making manual conversions, if needed, he wrote.

Another new update for mobile and Web-based Google Docs users is that they can now work on any Google Slides document at any time, on any device, both with and without an Internet connection, wrote Tabone. "We recently launched mobile apps for Docs and Sheets that allow you to create and edit files on the go, even if you're offline. We're rounding out the trio with a new Slides mobile app that's available starting today on Android and in the coming weeks on iOS."

The upgrades are being added to give Google Docs users more options when working with the suite, wrote Tabone. "Odds are, you don't use just one device throughout the day—maybe it's a tablet at home over breakfast, a phone on the train to work, and then a computer or laptop once you're in the office. In other words, you expect to be able to get stuff done no matter where you are, which device you're using, or what you're working on."

A new feature called "Suggested Edits" is also being added in the new version of Docs that gives users more options when working with a group on a document, wrote Tabone. "People love using Docs because it's so easy to work together in one place, rather than making edits and giving feedback by emailing multiple versions of the same document. But sometimes instead of giving your collaborators free rein to edit away, you'd rather they make suggestions that you can accept or reject later."

That's where Suggested Edits in Docs comes into play, he wrote. "This new feature is now available for anyone with commenting access in Google Docs on the Web, and is coming soon to our mobile apps."