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Editing Microsoft Office Files in Google Drive

2 minute read

670px Be Able to Edit Microsoft Office Documents in Google Drive Step 3

With Google’s recent updates to Drive, the integration between Microsoft Office and Drive is now much more seamless. The new feature working behind the scenes is called Office Compatibility Mode (OCM) and actually gives you the ability to edit Office files right inside the Chrome browser.

To edit Office files within a Chrome browser, you must first download the Office Editing for Docs, Sheets & Slides Chrome extension from the Chrome Web Store. With this extension, you have the ability to edit Office documents from your Mac or PC, Gmail, and third party websites. Chrome OS and Chromebooks are automatically compatible (if on stable channel and updated to latest release).

Some of the OCM features are available today, and some will become available once the new Google Drive interface rolls out.

Today, you can use the features of OCM in the following ways:

  1. In a Chrome browser by clicking the File tab, and selecting Open File. Then select the file that needs to be edited and it will open in Drive. An alternative method is to drag and drop the desired file from your desktop into your Chrome browser window.
  2. In Gmail by clicking on the email attachment to preview the file. At the top of the preview, select Open. The file will open in a compatible Drive program.
  3. On a third party website, you can click on an Office file and it will open in a new tab for editing in Drive.

To confirm that the file is in Office Compatibility Mode, click on the File menu in Drive. If you are in OCM, “Office Compatibility Mode” will be highlighted in blue. Google will confirm your edits are being saved to the Word file on your desktop by stating “All changes saved locally” below the title of the file in Drive.


With the new Google Drive interface, the following features will become available:

  • Use OCM by simply double-clicking on any Office file on Drive.
  • OCM will be also be integrated into the Docs, Sheets, and Slides home screens that Google will be rolling out in the next few weeks.

Important Notes about the new OCM feature:

  • The Office Editing for Docs, Sheets & Slides Chrome extension must be enabled
  • Only supports the following formats: .doc, .docx, .xls, .xlsx, .ppt, and .pptx files.
  • You can only use the 2007 version of Office or later (earlier file formats will prompt a conversion message).
  • Corrupted or password protected files will not open.
  • Large files are unable to be opened (Word documents and Presentation can’t exceed 50 MB, while Excel files can’t exceed 100MB).

With the introduction of Office Compatibility Mode, Google has further improved the relationship between Microsoft Office and Google Drive. Users can share files without having to worry about the file format, making collaboration across different platforms even more effortless.

Want more information about the top Cloud Office Systems? Learn more about Google Apps vs. Office 365

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