Google Drive supports Microsoft Office encrypted files – sort of

Office for Mere Mortals helps people around the world get more from Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook. Delivered once a week. free.

Google has updated their Drive app to support preview of Microsoft Office documents with password encryption.  Here’s how it works online and in the Google Drive app.

In early 2017 the browser-based part of Google Drive let you preview password protected Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents.

Only preview of Office documents is available, not open and edit.

Click on a password encrypted Office document in Google Drive online, you’ll be asked for the password.

Then you can preview the document in the browser window.

Add a comment trap

Note the ‘Add a comment’ tip on the left.  Comments might be saved in non-encrypted documents but are definitely NOT possible in password protected docs.  Google Drive will accept comments but can’t save them to the protected document and there’s NO warning that your comments aren’t saved!

Preview only

If you try to open the protected document with Google Docs to edit, you’ll be stopped in your tracks.

Google Drive app

It’s taken more than a year but now the Google Drive app can also preview Office password protected documents.  It’s not clear why it’s taken so long but maybe because there’s no pressing need for it?

After all, there are free Office mobile apps for Android (Word, Excel and PowerPoint).  From the Google Drive app you can open Microsoft Office documents (encrypted or not) directly into the Office mobile apps.  So, previewing in the Google Drive app isn’t a high priority.

Want More?

Office Watch has the latest news and tips about Microsoft Office. Independent since 1996. Delivered once a week.