Although working in the cloud with Google Docs is an efficient way to manage documents on multiple machines and to collaborate, sometimes you need to work with a document when you’re not connected to the cloud or to the network. In those instances, the ability to work with a document on a local drive and then sync it with Google Docs later is handy. You can do just that with the LibreOffice extension OOo2gd, which makes it easy for anyone who has a Google Docs account to export or import a document to and from LibreOffice. (Note: Even though OOo2gd hasn’t been worked on since June 2011, the extension still works like a champ.)

With OOo2gd installed, you can:

  • Export to Google Docs
  • Import from Google Docs
  • Export to Zoho
  • Import from Zoho
  • Export with WebDAV

The Ooo2gd extension will run on any platform and requires Java (version 5 or higher) to be installed on the machine. For the purpose of this post, I will use a platform independent take, but for those using Linux, you might need a little help installing Java. I’ll illustrate how to install Java on the Ubuntu 12.10 desktop. For the purpose of this post, I will focus on exporting/importing with Google Docs.

Installing Java

  1. Open a terminal window.
  2. Add the repository with the command sudo add-apt-repository ppa:webupd8team/java.
  3. Update apt with the command sudo apt-get update.
  4. Install Java with the command sudo apt-get install oracle-java7-installer.

Installing OOo2gd

With Java installed, you can now use the extension. Let’s install that piece with the following steps.

  1. Download the latest version of the OOo2gd extension.
  2. Open LibreOffice.
  3. Go to Tools | Extension Manager and click the Add button (Figure A).
  4. Navigate to where the extension was saved and select the ooo2gd-XXX.oxt file (XXX is the release number) and click Open.
  5. Close the Extension Manager.
  6. Restart LibreOffice.

You are ready to start using the extension.

Figure A

The extension is already installed. (Click the image to enlarge.)

Using OOo2gd

If you click the File menu in LibreOffice, you will see a new menu entry: Google Docs & Zoho. Within that menu, you can choose to Export or Import to or from your Google Docs account. There is also a toolbar associated with this extension. If the toolbar (Figure B) doesn’t open with LibreOffice, you can bring it up by clicking View | Toolbars | Add-On 3.
Figure B

The toolbar could use a better, more obvious name. (Click the image to enlarge.)

From left to right, the buttons on the Add-On 3 toolbar are:

  • Export to Google Docs
  • Import from Google Docs
  • Export to Zoho
  • Import from Zoho
  • Export with WebDAV

Exporting to Google Docs

In order to export a document to your Google Docs account, you must first save the document on your local drive. Once that is complete, you can export the file by following these steps.

  1. Go to File | Google Docs & Zoho | Export to Google Docs (or click the Export button on the toolbar).
  2. Fill out the authentication information for your Google Docs account (Figure C).
  3. Change the file name if necessary.
  4. Select Auto-update if you want the file to automatically update (a persistent connection is required).
  5. Select Convert To Google Docs Format if necessary.
  6. Click OK.

The document should immediately sync with your Google Docs account.

Figure C

If you have OOo2gd remember your password, that password will be stored on your local device. (Click the image to enlarge.)

Importing from Google Docs

This process is not so much syncing your Google Docs but gaining access to the files you have saved on Google Docs. Before you do this, you should configure where the extension downloads files. I suggest creating a GDOCS folder within your ~/Documents directory and set the download folder to that. To configure this, go to File | Google Docs & Zoho | Configure. In the configuration window, click the Browse button associated with Downloaded Files Saved To and navigate to where you want to save the Google Docs files.

To Export files, follow these steps:

  1. Go to File | Google Docs & Zoho | Import From Google Docs.
  2. Enter your Google Docs credentials (Figure D).
  3. Click Get List.
  4. Select the file you want to open from the list.
  5. Click either Open or Download.

Figure D

It is also possible to open the file from within a web browser. (Click the image to enlarge.)

You now have the ability to export and import to and from your Google Docs account from within LibreOffice. Give this handy little extension a try and see if it doesn’t work to help make LibreOffice work within the cloud.