10

New updates to Google Docs now lets users work with docx extension, which is the default for all Microsoft Office docs. Another interesting feature is Discussions.

Latest Update to Google Spreadsheets Allows Discussions, Google Apps Now Supports .docx Extension

google-apps

Google has introduced a few updates to Google Apps and Spreadsheets in the last week. The biggest update to Google Apps is the inclusion of the .docx format which has become the primary extension for the current version of Microsoft Word documents. This meant that previously, users had to convert or copy and paste documents into a Google document to create something themselves.

Now, they can simply import and export .docx formats into Google Drive and start using them without jumping through hoops. We will discuss each feature in more details below.

Google Apps supports .doxc format

The update to Google Apps allows users to seamlessly import and export OXML formats which are primarily used by the current version of Microsoft Office. This includes .docx, .pptx and .xlsx formats. Word, PowerPoint and Excel formats for those unfamiliar with the actual extension type.

If you head to Google Drive and have a spreadsheet available, add a check mark next to it.

select-spreadsheet

Now, click “More.”

more

A drop down menu will appear. Click “Download….”

convert-and-download

You will see the spreadsheet come up as a Microsoft Excel format by default for export. Since Google has updated to the OXML formats, you can no longer import or export Office Suite documents from previous versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint.

When ready, click “Download.”

downloading

Depending on your browser, the document should download fairly quickly and to your default download location.

spreadsheet-on-desktop

Go to that location.

right-click-spreadsheet

Now, right-click on the document.

Click “Properties.”

properties

You will see that Google Drive has saved the document as a .xlsx.

spreadsheet-opened-in-excel

When you open the document, it will open as an Office-based document with little errors or conversion problems that often occurred with Google Drive’s old formatting.

This change to formatting will allow users to take advantage of what is coming in Windows 8 once Microsoft stops supporting older file formats in the Office Suite.

Discuss items on Google Spreadsheets

You could always comment on Google documents before this latest upgrade, but what has changed is the ability to actually hold an individual discussion thread in cells in Spreadsheets.

choosing-spreadsheet

If you go to Google Drive and open a Spreadsheet, you will be greeted by a pop-up alerting you to the changes.

improved-comments

Click “Dismiss.”

Now, navigate to a cell in the Spreadsheet.

spreadsheet

Right-click on a cell.

right-click-on-cell

Click “Insert comment.”

insert-comment

This will open a comment-based discussion window for the cell in question.

From this window, you can type in your comments and then click “Comment” to start the thread.

Now, when you look at that cell, you will see a little orange flag at the top right hand corner of the cell.

comment-on-cell

If you hover over the cell, you will see the comment itself.

comment

Then, if you click on the comment, it will open a reply window for you to respond to the original comment or thread.

responding-to-comment

Simply type in the text box and click “Enter” to respond.

reply-to-this-comment

You can also edit or delete comments you make at any time by clicking on either “Edit” or “Delete.”

If the issue in question with the cell’s contents is finished, you can click “Resolve” to add it to the Spreadsheet’s overall comment section.

You can find this at the top right hand corner of the Spreadsheet.

Click “Comments.”

(20) resolved

This will open up all the comments for the Spreadsheet, including the individual cell discussions. You can also re-open the discussion by commenting or clicking “Re-open.”

comments-thread

You can also add a general comment on the Spreadsheet by typing and hitting “Enter” in the top box below Notification settings.

Click “Notification settings.”

notification-settings

This will allow you to change the overall settings for the comments on the Spreadsheet. Once you tweak the notification settings, click “Ok” to save them.

Click the “Down arrow icon.”

comment-options

This will allow you to Delete, Re-open or Link to this comment at any time.

Click “Link to this comment…”

link-to-this-comment

A pop-up will appear allowing you to copy and paste the link and share it with others to take part in the discussion.

Now, open the drop down menu again, and click “Re-open.”

This will re-open the thread on the original cell for people to contribute even more to the discussion.

Finally, click the drop down menu one more time, and click “Delete.”

delete

This will allow you to delete the overall discussion thread for that cell. It will require you to confirm the deletion before it takes place.

These mini-discussions will help those working within a document to share information on a smaller basis than an overall comment discussion might show. By using individual cells to have discussions, you can work out small problems on a case-by-case basis.

What do these changes really mean for Google Drive and Google Apps?

Google constantly tweaks, add and evolves its apps and these changes really are no surprise to users. Cell discussion in Google Spreadsheets has been desired by users for years and it lives up to the wait.

Now, by utilizing the current Office Suite formats, Google Apps is on the forefront of the changes coming to Microsoft Windows and Office with the release of Windows 8. If you have yet to see what Google Drive in particular has to offer, you are missing out on everything Google has to offer in cloud storage, creation and services.