Google has announced that their G Suite customers will be able to edit and collaborate with Microsoft Office documents. It will be available to all G Suite users by the end of May 2019.
Until now, a clumsy Office compatibility app for Chrome allowed Microsoft Office documents to be edited in Google Docs, Sheets and Slides. Otherwise conversion to Google’s own formats was needed.
Once rolled out, that won’t be necessary any more. Word document, Excel workbooks and PowerPoint presentations can be opened and edited directly from Google Drive.
Office document will only be available to ‘G Suite’ users, not free users of Google Docs, Sheets or Slides.
According to Google document participants will be able to use Microsoft Office or G Suite:
” … where some members of your organization use Office while others use G Suite, this ensures seamless collaboration and eliminates the need to consider or convert file types.”
They imply that real time collaboration is possible.
“Office editing brings everyone the benefits of G Suite’s real time collaboration tools and intelligence features to Office files.”
Anyone who has tried it knows that Microsoft continues to have problems with document collaboration and real-time interaction. Getting it to work across platforms will be ‘interesting’.
Supported File Types
These Microsoft Office file types are supported:
- Word files: .doc, .docx, .dot
- Excel files: .xls, .xlsx, .xlsm , .xlt
- Powerpoint files:.ppt, .pptx, .pps, .pot
Note: Older Word, Excel, or PowerPoint documents (.doc etc) can be opened but must be saved to another format.
Office document will stay in their original format unless you:
- File | Save As to another format (e.g. a Google Docs, Sheets or Slides format)
- Change the Setting | Convert Uploads | “Convert uploaded files to Google Docs editor format.”.
There are sure to be problems with this kind of cross-platform compatibility. Google acknowledges that down in the details
“As we continue to improve Office editing in Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides, you may encounter incompatibilities for certain features.
Some features are not displayed and/or editable, but will be preserved in the document and viewable in Microsoft Office.
Other features may be lost or altered in the latest version of the file when it is edited in Google Docs, Sheets, or Slides. You will see a notification within the document if editing will cause any features to be lost or altered. “
“you might encounter features from Google Docs Editors that are not yet available while working on Office files:
- Apps Scripts
- G Suite Add-Ons
- Cell locking in Google Sheets “