Mobility

How to view and edit Word documents from Google Drive with ease

If the inability to edit MS Office files in Google Drive has been holding you back, here's how you how you can easily add this much-needed feature.

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I am a Google Drive power user. It is my daily driver for 90% of my written work. Most of the time I am working with native Google files. However, there is an occasion when I have to work with a non-native format, such as a .docx Word file. Out of the box, the only way to edit such files is to have Google Drive convert them to the Google format. That's fine, if you're okay with converting them to the native format and then downloading the final file as a .docx.

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There's a much simpler way. Thanks to a free Chrome extension, Office Editing for Docs, Sheets, and Slides, you can open those MS Office-native files within Drive and edit them without having to first convert them. The extension supports the following file formats:

  • .doc
  • .docx
  • .xls
  • .xlsx
  • .ppt
  • .pptx

Let me show you how to install and use that extension. I'll demonstrate on a 2015 Chromebook Pixel, but the extension works on any flavor of Google Chrome.

Installation

The installation of this extension is quite simple. Here are the steps:

  1. Open Google Chrome
  2. Make sure you are logged into your Google account
  3. Go to the extension link
  4. Click ADD TO CHROME
  5. When prompted, click Add Extension

That's it. The extension is now installed and there's nothing more to do for the installation.

Using the extension

In order to open Word documents within Google Drive, here's what you do:

  1. Open Google Drive
  2. Navigate to the folder housing the Word document
  3. Double click on the Word document
  4. Edit

Believe it or not, that's all you have to do. With the Office Editing for Docs, Sheets, and Slides extension installed, you open MS Office documents as if they were native Google Doc files. As you edit, Google Docs will continue to automatically save the file in the MS Word format (such as .docx). You don't have to do anything extra to convert the file to or from the Microsoft format. The extension takes care of all of that.

So easy

This is a feature Google Docs has needed for some time. With the ability to easily view and edit MS Office documents, Google Drive has become even more powerful and useful. This extension is so easy, it's a no brainer. Install it now and get even more productive.

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About Jack Wallen

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.

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