Google Docs to add native editing support for Microsoft Office file types

Editing Microsoft Office documents like Excel and Word files is about to get a lot easier for Google Docs users. No longer will you need to convert them to Docs’ native format before you make your tweaks. Sometime later this month, everyone will have the ability to edit Microsoft Office documents within Google Docs and other Google services, with support for a number of different formats, including .doc, .docx, .ppt, and .xls, among others.

This feature is already available for commercial G Suite users. Whether you’re a regular Google Docs, Sheets, or Slides user, you can now open up Microsoft Office documents in them and edit them straight away. This feature won’t arrive for noncommercial users until later this month, but Google tells The Verge that the same features will apply.

The big reason behind this update is to improve collaboration, Google says. That’s been a cornerstone of Microsoft’s recent drive towards its Office 365 Subscription service, letting multiple users work on the same files. Google has added support for Office documents could take a bite out of that niche Microsoft currently occupies, especially thanks to its extensive file support. The full list of supported file types is made up of .doc, .docx, .dot, .xls, .xlsx, .xlsm, .xlt, .ppt, .pptx, .pps, and .pot.

This new feature will join other collaborative improvements to Google’s online productivity tools, like collaboration on Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides, using Dropbox Business.

All the improvements to Google Services’ collaboration features make it an even greater competitor for more-traditional productivity software like Microsoft’s Office suite of applications, which many organizations still employ as their main source of work-related software. It has had some unintended consequences though, such as teens using it to communicate with one another during class as a 21st-century version of passing handwritten notes to one another.

If you need any help learning how to use Google Docs to be the best of its and your abilities, we have a guide to help you get started. But if you still don’t like the sound of Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides, regardless of improvements to their collaborative abilities, there are some alternatives you can try.

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