Opening Microsoft Documents in Google Apps

Rebecca KeelingGoogle

You can open your Office Documents in Google (and convert them if you would like) if they are in your Google Drive. One advantage to doing this is that you will have access to your files if you have an internet connection. Admittedly, there are a few features that Google doesn’t have – yet. Google is constantly updating and features may be added at a later date.

Step 1: Make sure you are logged into Google Chrome

Logging into Google Chrome allows you to personalize your settings in the Chrome Browser. If you are logged in on a Chromebook or Chromebase, you are already logged in. If you are on a PC, you will need to log into the browser. (If you name appears next to the minimize, maximize and close buttons in the upper right you are logged in. If not – see this post about Logging in and out of Google Chrome.)

Step 2: Make sure the file is in your Google Drive

There are two ways to add files to Google Drive: Click the “New” button in Drive (Left menu) and choose “Upload File/Folder”. Or if you have the file on your desktop/computer drive you can drag and drop the file into the open Google Drive window.

Step 3: Open the file (Google will choose its complimentary app)

Since you are signed into Chrome, you should have an extension called “Office Editing for Docs, Sheets and Slides.” This allows you to work and save your Office files while using Google. (This extension will also let you use copy/paste without using the Ctrl keys!) Your Word files will open in Docs; Excel in Sheets, and Powerpoints in Slides. You can also go to the “File” menu and choose to convert it to the equivalent Google document.


A few things to be aware:

  • Google, while it has many different features, may not have every feature you have seen in Office. Note: some features may be in different places. If you want to know where a feature is, ask us – we may be able to help.
  • Office documents may not keep their formatting in Google (but can usually be fixed once and saved.) Google can also read the older Office file types (.doc, .xls, .ppt) as well as the newer file types (.docx, .xlsx, .pptx) Please let us know if you need assistance.
  • If you are signed into Chrome and the file is in your Google Drive/Gmail the document will still auto-save but only for your use. (It will not save on the original document or for the original sender.)
  • You cannot share an Office Document in Google. It will need to be converted to Google for this to be available.
  • You can save a Google File as an Office file if necessary! Go to “File” choose “Download As” and you can choose the complimentary Office file.