Google Drive users can now collaborate on Microsoft Office files, PDFs, and images

Users can comment, assign tasks, or mention coworkers on these files in the Drive preview pane.

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Building a slide deck, pitch, or presentation? Here are the big takeaways:
  • Google Drive added the capability to comment directly on Microsoft Office files, PDFs, and images, without having to convert them to Docs, Sheets, or Slides.
  • In the Drive preview pane, users can comment, assign tasks, or mention coworkers, and people can reply back, even if they're not using G Suite.

Google users, rejoice: You can now collaborate directly on Microsoft Office files, PDFs, and images right from Google Drive, without having to convert them into Docs, Sheets, or Slides, according to a Wednesday blog post.

The update allows Drive users to comment on files the same way they would in Google Docs, the post noted, without any additional programs needed. This will make it much easier to collaborate with third parties and suppliers across different file formats, giving Google another edge in the enterprise.

The update works in the Drive preview pane, where users can comment, assign tasks, or mention coworkers in a file, and they can write back, even if they aren't using G Suite. "Let's say your coworker opens a file on her Windows laptop using MS Word, she will see your comment in the file and can reply right from there," the post stated.

SEE: Cost comparison calculator: G Suite vs. Office 365 (Tech Pro Research)

The feature does not require any other tools to complete tasks. G Suite users can open Microsoft Office files such as those in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint in Drive preview, and give feedback in comments and continue working.

The company AODocs, which helps companies transition from legacy systems, has been testing the feature for the past few months.

"We frequently use the comments feature in Google Docs and Slides when preparing specification documents, reviewing project proposals and creating marketing materials," Stéphane Donzé, CEO and founder of AODocs, said in the post. "With commenting in Drive Preview feature, we can now extend the same collaboration, review and validation processes to Microsoft Office Applications, images and PDFs."

The update is another example of interoperability between G Suite and Microsoft Office, the post noted. Users can also use a Drive plug-in for Outlook to make it easier to add or save Drive files from an Outlook email. Users can also convert Microsoft Office files into Docs, Sheets, or Slides, by clicking File > Download, and selecting the file type needed. Finally, users can edit Microsoft files without converting them fully using Office Compatibility Mode.

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Image: Google