As promised just last month, Google is finally bringing editing for Microsoft Office files to Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides on Android. That means you’ll be able to natively edit, comment, and do work in documents saved in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint formats easily using those apps. The feature begins rolling out today.
The news comes courtesy of an announcement to the G Suite blog, obviating the need to convert Microsoft Office file formats when using Docs, Sheets, or Slides on Android for full functionality. It joins last year’s rollout of the same features for the desktop/web versions of those apps, and Google points out that it replaces the long-dead QuickOffice tool for Android.
A quick and easily spotted difference: No comments icon on the docx formatted file in Google Docs. That’s because you didn’t get all the same tools between formats before.
You might be thinking this is an old change, or that Google is re-announcing something it’s already done, but there is a key distinction with today’s news: While you’ve been able to open files in Office formats via these Android apps for a while, you didn’t get the same experience or tools that you did for native formats unless you converted them. For example, you couldn’t normally make comments on docx files via the Android app. In my testing, it works for some files shared from G Suite accounts (for some reason), but it doesn’t work for personal Google accounts — though based on this news, soon it should.
Google says that the feature will start rolling out today and may take longer than 15 days to hit everyone. Both G Suite and personal Google accounts will get the full native experience editing files in Office formats from Android.