Google Docs Viewer adds Excel, PowerPoint support

The web-based service has added 12 new file types for quick preview, including Photoshop, Illustrator and AutoCAD, as well as the Microsoft Office extensions
Written by Ben Woods, Contributor

Google Docs Viewer — which allows users to open and view a variety of files directly from within any web browser — now supports another 12 common file types, including Microsoft Excel and PowerPoint.

Along with Excel and PowerPoint files, the Docs Viewer can now open Apple Pages, Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop files, among others, Google said in a blog post on Friday. It also said that using the viewer provided a more secure way of viewing files.

"Not only is viewing files in your browser far more secure than downloading and opening them locally, but it also saves time and doesn't clutter up your hard drive," said Anil Sabharwal, Google Docs product manager, in a statement.

This latest move builds on a release at the end of January, when Google rolled out an update to Docs that allows people to better organise documents of different file types.

Supported file types

The extended support means that file types can now be opened directly within Google Mail, sidestepping the need to download files and having the appropriate program to open them. Users can also now upload any of these file types into Google Docs, for viewing or sharing from within any browser:

  • Microsoft Excel (.xls and .xlsx)
  • Microsoft PowerPoint 2007 / 2010 (.pptx)
  • Apple Pages (.pages)
  • Adobe Illustrator (.ai)
  • Adobe Photoshop (.psd)
  • Autodesk AutoCad (.dxf)
  • Scalable Vector Graphics (.svg)
  • PostScript (.eps, .ps)
  • TrueType (.ttf)
  • XML Paper Specification (.xps)

The update is the latest in a series of tweaks to cloud-based Google Docs that help edge Office users away from dependence on Microsoft's desktop-based suite.

In November, for example, Google announced its Cloud Connect plug-in for Word that allows people to work on files natively, but then back them up and share them through the Google Docs service. "We're building products that have no dependency on desktop applications," said Dave Girouard, president of enterprise at Google, in May 2010.

Google has said that its aim is to provide web-based tools and collaboration for businesses to use alongside their familiar Office applications. However, in October Microsoft announced that it was taking that software to the cloud under the name of Office 365.

To add to the competitive landscape, in December Oracle introduced Cloud Office, an online version of its office suite that allows users to edit documents, spreadsheets and presentations on the move from either a mobile or desktop browser.

Get the latest technology news and analysis, blogs and reviews delivered directly to your inbox with ZDNet UK's newsletters.
Editorial standards