Google Docs works even better with Microsoft Word documents thanks to offline editing

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(Image credit: Jay Bonggolto / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Google announced a new feature for Workspace users working with Microsoft Office files.
  • Google Docs/Sheets/Slides users can now edit Office files offline.
  • After changes are made, they will sync to the Drive once an active connection is established again.

On Monday, Google announced that it is enabling offline syncing for opened Microsoft Office documents for its Workspace users. In an accompanying blog post, the search giant mentioned that the new possibility is a continuation of what it announced in 2019, which allowed MS Office files to work in Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides. 

This week, Google is extending that support by allowing Workspace users to work offline on Microsoft Office files on their desktops or laptops, which is especially helpful when they're struggling to get on a Wi-Fi or data connection.

With the new feature, Workspace users can edit, comment, and collaborate on Office using Google Docs, Sheets, and Slide services offline. The changes altered in this mode will be synced to Drive as soon as their desktops or laptops are connected to the internet again. One thing to remember is that the respective changes can be made only when the file is opened in Office editing mode.

Opening an Office file in Google Docs is fairly simple. Users would first have to upload the supported file to their Drive: .doc, .docx, .dot files for Word files, .xls, .xlsx, .xlsm, and .xlt for Excel, and .ppt, .pptx, .pps, and .pot for Powerpoint. 

These files, when opened, would take users to the respective Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides tabs, respectively. And they can start editing either online or offline, with the latter now a possibility. However, password-protected Office files will are not supported and can only be viewed.

That said, it is a nifty feature coming from Google after it enabled Office editing three years ago and brings new collaboration benefits to Workspace users. The new capability is said to be rolling out to users gradually to G Suite Basic/Business and users with personal accounts.

This new announcement comes after a recent addition to Google Docs, which enabled faster documenting and text formatting.

Vishnu Sarangapurkar
News Writer

Vishnu works as a freelance News Writer for Android Central. For the past four years, he's been writing about consumer technology, primarily involving smartphones, laptops, and every other gizmo connected to the Internet. When he is away from keyboard, you can see him going on a long drive or chilling on a couch binge-watching some crime series.