Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Drive and Microsoft Office - Finally a Match!

Today I heard about the Google Drive plug in for Microsoft Office. (I want to thank the Google Guru for pointing this out on his blog) I was anxious to see what new functionality this would bring. As a Tech Coach, I'm always hearing how difficult it is to "switch" between Google and MS Office and I was looking for that perfect match. I think we've got it.

Before I continue, I'd like to point out all the other excellent ways in which these two ecosystems actually do work in tandem. Any Word, Excel or Powerpoint file can be almost accurately converted to a Google file by uploading to Drive and then choosing to "open in Drive."  The conversion is getting so good, that most documents look the same and are ready to go or be revised. I know how hard Google has worked to achieve this fidelity and from what I understand about the coding behind it, they have done marvelously well.

The Drive App has always acted just like a file folder and when saving Office files, I can just point to the folder and it will be magically in the cloud.

I have been using for some time the Chrome extension for Office editing. That seemed like the easiest way to quickly make edits in a Word or Powerpoint without the conversion to the Google file type. I never was thrilled with converting because you end up with 2 files in your Drive, one .docx and the other a Google file. So the extension was fine but would only edit text.

Now we have the Google Drive Plug In for Microsoft Office. First I downloaded the .exe file and installed the program. It is an extremely quick and simple install.  When finished, nothing appears or gives any direction so I went on and just opened up Word. That is where you'll find the short tutorial from Google that always helps to walk you through and log into your Drive account. Honestly, after that, nothing needs explanation. There is now a Save to Drive menu.

You may see the button Open from Google Drive above. I was thinking this would automatically open any document but in fact, it will only open a .doc or .docx file within Word that you have stored in Drive. If you click on a document that is actually a Google Document, your browser will open and you'll be back in Drive. At that point, you can of course download the document as a Word file. I started to see lists of recent files and those are easy to retrieve straight from the list. Very convenient.

The settings gear offers you a chance to log out of your Google account and switch to another one if needed. For all of us with multiple accounts it's a feature that is highly needed. 

Sadly, there is not a Mac download yet. I am hoping this will be soon to follow as I want a seamless world since flash drives do NOT go straight from PC to Mac. 

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