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Grow Your Business Technology

Google Drive Updates Add Docs, Sheets and Office Features

Google Drive Updates Add Docs, Sheets and Office Features
Credit: Supertramp/Shutterstock

Business users have a plethora of options for cloud storage and cloud-based productivity platforms. Google Drive aims to stay on top by continuously updating the service to make it even more useful for business users.

This week, Google introduced several additions to Google Drive, packing on new features that let users enhance Docs files and Slides spreadsheets, as well as convert, edit and collaborate on more than 15 Microsoft Office file formats directly on the Drive platform.

Here's what the new Google Drive updates have to offer and how they can help your business stay productive. [How to Use Google Apps for Business]

Docs updates

Like most word processors, Docs isn't limited to text — users can already enhance their documents with tables and images, but now they can customize them, too.

In a previous update, Docs introduced the ability to adjust table colors, thickness and other attributes. Now, users can also easily merge cells to get tables to look exactly the way they want. Simply highlight the cells that need to be merged, right click and choose "Merge cells."

Additionally, users can edit images right on the Docs platform. Just insert the image into the document; then right click to access image settings. Editing options include color, transparency, brightness and contrast.

Slides updates

One feature that had been missing from Google's presentation maker Slides was the ability to number slides. This made it cumbersome for some users to edit and difficult for audiences to follow presentations.

The new Slides update gives users the ability to number individual slides or all slides, making it easier to stay organized while creating and delivering presentations. With slide numbers, Google also aims to help presenters guide audiences through presentations.

To add numbers to slides, click on the Insert menu on the toolbar, and select Slide Numbers.

Microsoft Office integration

If you work primarily with Microsoft Office, Google Drive now also makes it easier to integrate Word, Excel and PowerPoint into the platform. Not only can you open and edit Office files in Drive, but you also can invite users to collaborate and work on them in real time. And just like with other apps on Google Drive, changes to Office files are saved automatically.

Called Office Compatibility Mode (OCM), this new feature is available on the Chrome browser, Chromebooks and the Docs, Sheets and Slides Android app. Here's how to get it:

  • Chrome browser: First, download the Office Editing for Docs, Sheets & Slides chrome extension. After installing the extension, you can view and edit Office files by opening the file in Drive or Docs, Sheets and Slides apps, directly from a Gmail attachment or from your hard drive. (Choose File from the browser menu, then Open File).
  • Chromebook: Chromebooks automatically update with the latest features, including OCM. Just click on the Drive icon or visit drive.google.com; then open the file from your Drive account.
  • Docs, Sheets and Slides Android apps: Update to the latest versions of the Docs, Sheets and Slides apps from Google Play, and then access Office files directly from each app.
Sara Angeles

Sara is a tech writer with a background in business and marketing. After graduating from UC Irvine, she worked as a copywriter and blogger for nonprofit organizations, tech labs and lifestyle companies. She started freelancing in 2009 and joined Business News Daily in 2013. Follow Sara Angeles on Twitter @sara_angeles.

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