Google Docs is getting the ability to edit Microsoft Office documents while offline, essentially paving the way for you to fully ditch any reliance on Microsoft's productivity software.
Google’s latest blog entry (opens in new tab) has confirmed Google Workspace, the suite that includes Google Docs, Drive, Sheets and more, now has the ability to edit Office files without being connected to the internet.
While Microsoft Office files have been compatible with Google Workspace without having to convert any filetypes, the option to work on your files offline is not to be sniffed at. That's because productivity shouldn't be reliant on an internet connection, regardless of what kind of file you’re actually using at the time.
Google Docs, Sheets and Slides will support offline work on Office files, and the whole process will work much the same as it does with Google filetypes. It only works with files that have been opened in Office editing mode, which essentially means you have opened them with a Google workspace app before.
You will also have to have enabled offline access, as you would with other files. This requires you to have the Google Docs Offline Chrome Extension (opens in new tab) installed in Chrome or Edge. To do that, go into the settings menu and hit the Gear icon in the top right, then select Settings and make sure Offline setting is switched on.
With that you should be able to access your files offline. Any changes you make to documents offline will sync with Google Drive when you reconnect to the internet.
Google Workspace’s ability to edit Office files offline began rolling out on June 27, with Google noting it could take up to 15 days to complete. So if you don’t have the option just yet, be patient and check back in a few days time. The feature will be available for personal Google accounts, as well as Workspace and Business customers.