Google Docs adds way to suggest edits to Office files without Office

The Google enterprise team posited that this is simply another idea to help businesses work on any file from virtually any device.


The Google Apps suite is deployed at more than five million businesses, but the internet giant knows better than to ignore the masses of enterprises subscribing to Microsoft Office 365.

Like many other cloud software makers, Google has recognized the value in making its own platform compatible with others to foster productivity. Nevertheless, it looks like Google might have a few tricks in the bag, sidestepping the need for Office altogether.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based company introduced a tiny but potentially powerful new feature designed to enable users to edit and share Office files — without Office.

Starting today for the web version, Google Docs users can make Suggested Edits and convert tracked changes to Suggested Edits. (Support on mobile is promised to follow soon.)

Any tracked changes in a .docx file will be automatically carried over to Docs as Suggested Edits. Users can collaborate with other team members in real time once these changes are imported to Google Docs.

Alan Warren, vice president of engineering on the Google Docs team, posited in a blog post on Friday that this is simply another idea to help businesses work on any file from virtually any device.

Technology is changing the way people work, but all that change can cause friction when employees are using different software. That’s why we made it possible to edit Office files directly in Google Docs, Sheets and Slides, so you can open and edit those documents in their native format using Office Compatibility Mode. No need to buy additional software or think about how to open your file. The Docs, Sheets and Slides mobile apps come with Office editing built right in, and with the Chrome extension, you can edit and share files directly from Google Drive or Gmail.

The new features follow up a major upgrade to Google Drive as well as Docs, Sheets and Slides, first unveiled at Google I/O in San Francisco at the end of June.

The refresh made it possible for users to open and edit documents with native format Office Compatibility Mode directly in Android and Chrome browsers.

Image via The Google Enterprise Blog