In a new update to Google Drive, a new feature has been added that will enable users to easily comment on Microsoft Office files, PDFs and images, without having to convert them into Docs, Sheets or Slides.
Previously, this capability was available only for native Google documents through Google Drive’s preview pane. For commenting on Office files, users had to use tools like Microsoft Office or Acrobat Reader, or had to convert them to Google native files.
With the updated Google Drive, users can open Office files, like Word, Excel and PowerPoint, in Drive preview, and comment their feedback, the way they used to in Google Docs.
“When you’re collaborating with an external agency, negotiating a contract with a client or coordinating a sales agreement with a supplier, chances are you’re dealing with multiple file formats. With this update, you can now comment on those files in Drive the way you’re used to in Google Docs,” the company wrote in a blog post.
The Drive preview pane allows users to comment, assign tasks and mention coworkers. The people mentioned in comments can reply even if they are not using G Suite.
“Let’s say your coworker opens a file on her Windows laptop using MS Word, she will see your comment in the file and can reply right from there,” Google explained.
Along with ability to add comments, Google has also added a Drive plugin which allows users to attach Drive files to Microsoft’s Outlook emails. The Drive plugin will also enable users to save incoming attachments from Outlook to Drive.
The search engine giant has not changed the existing ability to convert Microsoft Office files into Docs, Sheets or Slides, since some users need the full functionality.
Google Drive’s update was announced following Microsoft’s free OneDrive for Business offer. Microsoft announced that existing users of Google Drive, Dropbox, and Box can switch to OneDrive for Business for free, and not pay anything until their existing contract is valid.