Microsoft Office and Google Drive Interoperability Tutorial

Google Drive File Stream offers a convenient way of working with Microsoft Office and Google Drive files without converting to Google Docs. Many of our customers have employees who spend the majority of their day using Excel/Word cannot consider replacing those products with Sheets/Docs. For heavy MS Office users, see the below information for how to enjoy interoperability while working with files in both Microsoft Office and Google Drive.

Option #1 – Work from the web interface (Not ideal)

Disable Convert Uploads. By default, Google Drive will convert your MS Office files to a Google Doc. To avoid change this default behavior, select the gear icon within the Google Drive app and uncheck the box for convert uploads.

Use Version Control. If you re-upload a MS Office file with the exact same name, Drive will auto-save a separate version of the original file. As you upload more copies, you can see the full version history of your MS Office file. If you don’t want to use Drive version control, you can select “keep as separate file.”

Why this option isn’t great: You will need to download a MS Office file, open it on your computer, save changes, and then re-upload to Google Drive. Not practical for most of us. However, if you occasionally work in MS Office Files, you might not mind following these steps.

Option #2 – Use Drive File Stream

Drive File Stream is the Google Drive Sync client for Google Workspace (G Suite) customers. For your personal Google Drive account, you can sync files using Backup & Sync. File Stream essentially mirrors your Google Drives in a folder on your local computer, accessible through Finder on Mac or Explorer on Windows. Keep in mind:

Streaming vs “Available Offline.” If you plan to be traveling for work, make sure to select “Available Offline” for certain Folders / Team Drives that you want to access without an internet connection. Google will sync those files to File Stream and sync any changes made offline once you reconnect to the internet. TIP: Careful with syncing large folders to your computer. Try to sync only the select files/folders you need to avoid overloading your hard drive.

Open, Work, and Save to Drive. Navigate to Google Drive and open your desired MS Office file. Double click and your file will open in MS Office right away. If you save back to Google Drive, a new version will automatically upload to your Google Drive account. In order to view the file version history, you can will need to go to the web interface.

If you have any questions about these options, feel free to reach out to our team using the contact form below!