Work with Microsoft Office files

There are two different ways to work with Office files in Google Drive:
  • You can upload and work on Office files with Google Drive, Docs, Sheets or Slides on the web.
  • You can work on Office files with real-time presence when you use Drive for desktop. For Windows users with a work or school account, you can also send and save files with Microsoft Outlook.

Work with Microsoft Office files in Google Drive, Docs, Sheets and Slides on the web

With Office you can:

Open, edit and save as Office files in Google Drive

When you upload Office files to Google Drive, you can edit, comment and collaborate directly on Office files when you use Google Docs, Sheets and Slides.

All changes are auto-saved to the file in its original Office format. Learn how to use Office editing.

Convert Office files to Google Docs, Sheets or Slides

If you want to use Add-ons, Apps Scripts, protected ranges or translate options, you can convert an Office file to Google Docs, Sheets or Slides.

When you convert, you make a copy of your Office file. Learn how to convert an Office file.

Comment on Office files in Google Drive preview
You can leave and read comments on Office files, .pdfs, images and other files in Google Drive preview and not change the original file. Learn how to comment on Office files in Google Drive.
Use Office files with a Chrome extension

Important: To avoid compatibility issues, if you open a file in Office editing mode, disable the Chrome extension.

You can open and edit Office files with a Google Chrome Browser extension called Office Compatibility Mode. Learn how to edit with Office Compatibility Mode.

Use Microsoft Office files with Drive for desktop

When you use Drive for desktop with Office, you can:

Work in Office and sync files to Google Drive

Important: Changes that you make to your file in Office sync in Google Drive.

You can find and open your files from Google Drive on your computer with Drive for desktop. After you have moved your Office files to Drive, you can continue working on them in Office and save your changes to Google Drive.

  1. On your computer, install Google Drive for desktop.
  2. Add your Office file to your Google Drive folder.
  3. Double-click your Office file.
  4. Edit your file.
Work in Office files with others in real time

When you use Drive for desktop with Microsoft Office 2010 or later, real-time presence for Office files lets multiple people edit the same files without version issues.

When you store an Office file in Drive for desktop and share it with people who turn on real-time presence, you get an alert when someone makes a change.

  1. On your computer, open Drive for desktop.
  2. Open a shared file in Word, Excel or PowerPoint.
  3. The real-time status displays at the bottom right. Based on the status, you get one of the following options:
    • Safe to edit: You can edit the file.
    • Wait to edit: You can't edit the file yet.
      • To get notified when you can edit, select Notify me when it's safe to edit.
      • To learn more about who edits or views the file, click a person in the list.
    • New version created: Someone created a new version. To get the new version, click Get latest. 
      • To compare your version and the latest version side by side, click Preview.
      • New versions are created when multiple people edit the Office file at the same time. You must reconcile those changes.

Enable real-time presence with macOS

If you use Drive for desktop on macOS, you must change your system permissions to collaborate with other editors in real time:

  1. On your Mac, click System preferences and then Security and privacy and then Privacy and then Accessibility.
  2. At the bottom left, click the lock.
  3. Next to 'Drive for desktop', tick the box.

Turn off real-time presence

Real-time presence is automatically on and alerts you when someone makes an edit in a Word, Excel or PowerPoint file in Drive for desktop. Learn how to work in Office files with others in real time. To turn off real-time presence: 

  1. On your computer, click the Drive for desktop menu Drive File Stream.
  2. Click settings Settings and then Preferences and then Advanced settings Settings.
  3. Under 'real-time presence in Microsoft Office', untick the box.
  4. Click Save.
Send and save files with Microsoft Outlook

If you use Outlook on Windows with a work or school account, you can send and save attachments with Drive for desktop.

Send a file from Drive

  1. On your computer, at the top of the Outlook app, click New email.
  2. Click Insert files using Drive.
  3. Select an option:
    • To send as a link, click Insert as Drive link.
    • To attach the file, click Insert as attachment.
  4. Choose the file that you want to send or attach.
  5. Click Select.

Send a local attachment

  1. On your computer, at the top of the Outlook app, click New email.
  2. Click Attach file.
  3. Select the file that you want to send.
  4. Click OK.
  5. To save the file, follow the prompt.

Tip: If your file is too large to email, send a link to the file in Google Drive.

Microsoft Outlook requirements

Drive for desktop supports:

  • Microsoft Outlook version 2010 or up
  • Microsoft Outlook on Windows only

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