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Native Microsoft Office File Editing Arrives in ChromeOS Dev Channel

quickoffice-in-chrome

Native editing and saving of Microsoft Office word and spreadsheet documents is now available in Google Chrome OS.

Currently hidden behind a flag on the developer channel of Chrome OS only is an option to enable basic editing, formatting and saving of select Microsoft Office files in the Chrome Document Viewer extension.

Chrome Document Viewer and its new editing functionality is based upon software from QuickOffice, a mobile app for editing Microsoft Office files acquired by Google last year.

The extension has been around for a while in read-only mode, supporting most Microsoft Office files, including .doc, .docx and .ppt in Chrome. This new experiment, currently limited to Chrome OS, enables native, offline editing of .docx and .xlsx files on Chromebooks.

But it isn’t perfect. In-page images, for example, are currently unsupported.

QuickOffice Editor for Chromebooks

Basic editing is covered but advanced features, like images, are not

Enable QuickOffice Editing in Chrome OS

Want to give the editor a try-out? You’ll need to be running the latest development build of Chrome OS (version 29.0.1547.2) and have appropriate documents available in Google Drive or on your hard-drive.

  • Open chrome://flags in Chrome
  • Search for “document editing’ using Ctrl+F
  • Hit the ‘Enable’ link located underneath the ‘Enable document editing’ entry.
  • A ‘Restart Now’ prompt will appear. Click this to reboot and gain access to the feature.

Once you’ve rebooted you’re all set. First make sure that Chrome is running, then find and select a supported document in the Files app. A prompt to open it with the ‘Chrome Office Viewer’ will appear in the lower action bar. Click this button to open up the viewer with its new editing functionality.

Opening a file with QuickOffice