Editing Microsoft Office Files Through Google Drive

This KB Article References: Google Drive
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Last Updated: April 04, 2017

Google Drive is a great resource as it makes collaborating on projects much easier and provides an easy-to-access place to store files; however, it does lack some of the functionality and formatting that Microsoft Office has.

With this Microsoft Office/Google Drive Plugin (for Office for Windows users), you'll easily be able to upload and access Microsoft Office files through Google Drive, as well as integrate some of Google Drive's features into the Office environment. With its unlimited storage, Google Drive is great for storing files. With this plugin, you'll be able to move Office documents to Google Drive without losing their formatting. 

Alternatively (and for Mac users), make basic edits to Excel, Word, and PowerPoint files that are stored in Drive with the Office Editing for Docs, Sheets & Slides Chrome extension.

Install the Plugin

The plugin is a small program that can easily be installed (no administration credentials required). This plugin modifies both Google Drive and Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, and Powerpoint) to create an overlap between their features.

The plugin is only available for Windows.
  1. Download the plugin installer at tools.google.com/dlpage/driveforoffice
  2. You will then be prompted to accept Google's Terms of Service. Click Accept and Install
  3. The executeable file (driveforoffice.exe) should appear at the bottom of your browser, click it to launch the installer. (If you do not see it at the bottom of your browser, check your downloads folder C:\Users\username\Downloads, and then double click on the file to run it.)
  4. Once the installer opens, click on Run
  5. At this point you might be prompted to log into Google. If so, enter your @stonybrook.edu email address and your NetID password
  6. Follow the on screen prompts, and once the installer is finished, close the window
  7. The plugin has been installed and new features should appear in Microsoft Office as well as Google Drive

Use the Plugin to Open Word, Excel, and PowerPoint Files Stored on Drive

These instructions are compatable with any of the three Microsoft Office programs. For the purposes of example, I will be explaining how to open a Microsoft Word Document stored on Google Drive. 

  1. Open Microsoft Word. On the left there should be a blue bar, at the top it says "Word", under that "Recent", and below that, "Open Other Documents". Select "Open Other Documents".
  2. Several different options will come up. If you installed the pulgin correctly, one of these options will be "Google Drive". Click on Google Drive, and then select the folder or file that you're looking to open. 
  3. The file will be open in Microsoft Word. When you save the file it will be uploaded back to Google Drive.

It is important that you use this method to open Office files stored on Drive. If you open the files through Drive rather than through the proper Microsoft Office program, Google Drive will create a copy of your original document and convert it to its respective Google file type. This will create an issue, as any changes you make will be saved to the Google file, rather than your original Microsoft Office document. (See Important Things to Note While Using This Plugin).

Access New Features in Word/Excel/Powerpoint

Again, these instructions are compatable with any of the Office programs - here I am just using Word as an example.

  1. Open up a document in Word.
  2. At the top of your window there should be a bar with several different options, "File", "Home", "Insert", continue looking down this line until you see "Google Drive". Select it. 
  3. Under the bar will now be displayed the Google Drive Options menu. You can use this menu to move and rename files as you would in Google Drive. 
  4. If you'd like to share the document, click on the "share" option. Here you will be prompted to enter the email addresses of those you wish to share the document with. You can also toggle their privlages, view, comment, or edit. 

Upload New Files to Google Drive

  1. When saving a new document, proceed as you normally would, seleccting "Save As".
  2. Several different options will pop-up, "One-Drive", "Computer".  If the plugin was installed correctly then there should be another - "Google Drive".
  3. Select where on the Drive you want to save it, then click on "Save to Google Drive".
  4. The new document is now saved to drive.

Important Things to Note While Using This Plugin

  1. This plugin allows for collaboration on Microsoft Office documents through Drive's "Sharing" feature, however multiple people cannot edit the same file at the same time. If you open a document, and someone else makes changes to and saves that document between the time you open it and you attempt to save it, you will recieve a warning message when you try and save. If you do save, the edits of the person you were collaborating with will be lost, as their document will be overwritten with yours. When you recieve this warning message you should select "No". Then go to the "Google Drive Options" menu (see Accessing New Features in Word/Excel/Powerpoint) and select "Rename". By renaming the file you'll create a new file, and avoid overwriting the other one. Currently, there is no way for multiple people to work on the same Word document at the same time. However, it is possible to share the document with others. You just have to preform your edits at different times to avoid overwriting anyone else's work. If you need to work simultaneously on a document, you will have to open Google Drive. There, find the document you are collaborating on, and right click on it. A menu will pop up with a list of options, select "Open With" and then "Google Docs". This will create a copy of your original document and import it into Google Docs. From here, you can work on the google document through google drive with your peers. 
  2. You can use multiple accounts - when saving there will be an option that says Settings. Select it, and you will see a window to switch accounts. 
  3. When opening an Office Document (.ppt, .doc,) you will need to open it though its respective program (Word, PowerPoint, etc.) not Drive. If you open it in Google Drive, it will make a copy of the original document, and import it into its respective google format (Google Docs, Google Slides, etc.). Any changes you make to this Google document will not be reflected in the original Microsoft Office document.

Minibytes Video Presentation on Office/Drive Plugin:

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