If your organisation has decided to migrate to Google Workspace, while some of your clients or vendors may still be using Microsoft Office 365, don’t panic! In this guide, we outline some effective tips to help you work with Microsoft Office files in Google Workspace seamlessly.

After switching from Microsoft Office to Google Workspace, you may still need to work with Office 365 files such as Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, and PowerPoint presentations. This is a common situation if your suppliers and outside contacts continue working with Microsoft Office.

It is not necessary to set up two completely separate systems just to satisfy everyone. As a Google Partner, we’ve found that businesses who choose Google Workspace can continue working with Microsoft Office files effectively as Google has made significant progress in improving the support for those files.

How to Store and View Microsoft Office files in Google Drive

Google Drive allows you to upload, store, and share data in any file format, including Microsoft’s Office format.

Marketing presentations built with PowerPoint, client lists created with Excel, business proposals composed with Word, and so on can all be uploaded to Google Drive in their original Microsoft Office format.

To add a Microsoft Office file to Google Drive, simply drag the file from your computer to the relevant folder in Drive, or click on the plus icon from the top left corner of Drive and choose File Upload.
Google Drive Create Menu

Once uploaded, you can open the file directly from Google Drive and start collaborating with your team.


How to Edit Microsoft Office files in Google Workspace

If you’re working with a team that uses Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, you can edit these files without converting them to Google formats or installing Office.

Once you have uploaded MS Office files to Google Drive, you can use Google’s editing function to edit the content of the files and add comments.

When you open an Office file in Google Drive, it retains its Office format – as indicated by the file extension at the top of the screen.

Office Formats in Google Docs

You can make changes to it or add comments without converting the file to a Google Workspace format. The majority of the formatting and functionality will be preserved, and the file can be opened in Microsoft Office without the need for conversion.

There are some cases when some functionality from Microsoft Office may be lost while you edit the file in Google Drive; a pop-up warning will appear before you make any changes that will affect the features of the file.

Office format warning in Google Slides

How to share and collaborate on Microsoft Office documents in Google Workspace

You can collaborate with others on Microsoft Office documents that are shared with you, without converting them to a Google Workspace format.

If you receive a document via email, you can choose to edit it with Google Docs directly from the Gmail inbox. This also works with Excel spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations.

Open Office files from Gmail

You can invite others to edit or add suggestions to the document by using the Share button from the top right corner of every Google Workspace editor app. To email the document back to the sender, you can use the same Share button or go to File > Email and choose the appropriate action.

Email files from Google Docs

How to Convert Microsoft Office files to Google Workspace files

If you want to take full advantage of the editing features that Google Workspace offers, you may want to convert Office files to Google files. To do so, open the file in Google Drive, and then click File and Save as Google Docs/Sheets/Slides.

Save Office files as Google Workspace Files

This action will make a copy of the original file and convert it to the appropriate Google format. The original Microsoft Office file won’t be deleted from your Drive unless you delete it manually.

You can also set up Google Drive to automatically convert any file you upload to Google Docs, Sheets, or Slides. To enable this, open Drive and go to Settings (top right), then switch on Convert uploaded files to Google Docs editor format. Previously uploaded files will not be converted.

Google Drive settings

Final thoughts

Google Workspace users can easily edit Microsoft Office files in Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides with the added benefit of Google Workspace’s enhanced collaborative features. Managing files through Google Workspace also ensures security while keeping everything in one place for easy access and collaboration.

Office editing is also available in the Docs, Sheets, and Slides mobile apps, so you can work on Microsoft Office files on the go.