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Native Microsoft Office File Editing Arrives in ChromeOS Dev Channel


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

  • Galgalesh

    experiement = experiment. Not using a dictionary? :)

  • Well, that’ll shut the Microsoft fans up when it comes to Office.

    • When it’s decent and much more capable, sure.

      • Well, it’s already reached the dev channel. So, it’s getting there!

        • But it will never be ‘there’. No alternative ‘solution’ is capable enough to be able to replace Microsoft Office and no alternative ever will be with things as they currently are.

    • Michael Goff

      Except that QuickOffice is horrible, and likely doesn’t even support all of the features that Office has. Seriously, all of these alternatives to make sure you don’t need to pay for the actual product … you’d think one of them would eventually get it right.

      • madjr

        you want to pay? than great!

        there’s Office 365.

        and for those who want free, just go to SkyDrive and use the Office Web Apps.

        Anyway IMO what should be done is integrate ODF viewing / editing everywhere, specially chrome and firefox.

        Also the majority of people don’t need that offline (incompatible with everyone else) msft office anymore for their basic needs, online solutions do the work, keep files in one central place, people can collaborate in real time and sharing can’t be simpler (no more attachments and needing to purchase / install / upgrade a version of office in advance), just need an browser / email and everybody has the same cloud software to edit so no stupid incompatibilities.

        • Michael Goff

          Alright, you’re obviously off your rocker.

          Office is the most used. People require their office alternatives to be compatible with whatever Office says. As for most of what you said, that has nothing to do with QuickOffice. That has everything to do with Google Drive/Google Docs. QuickOffice is not Google Docs.

          Once you figure that out, you realize that your argument isn’t about using QuickOffice and thus not a reasonable response to my comment.

          • madjr

            >People require their office alternatives to be compatible with whatever Office says.

            This has been true in the pre-cloud era, but we’re not stuck in 2005 anymore, so now things are changing at a faster pace.

            I don’t need the hassle of old way of doing things or the once mandatory “msft office/windows” combo or even listen to whatever they have to say, nor my family which have already moved away from it for years now.

            And for the occasions where they needed to share a doc with someone whos still “stuck” with the old way of doing things, skydrive and office web apps have done the job.

            Things are changing and not everyone has to be slave of msft’s old office monopoly where they kept it as incompatible for everyone as possible just to keep their monopoly and shareholders happy for as long as they could. Now the cloud is making the playing ground a lot more fair.

          • oldman_60

            Who care about MS office if they can do what they need to do with alternative. Less than 5% of people really use MS office advanced features. Would you like it or not, this will hurt Windows PC for sure. I tried QuickOffice on Chromebook and I liked it. Did you try iyt before commenting ???
            MS office on iPhone is horrible and not worth to buy.
            Office 365 lacks collaboration features compared to Google drive. When quickoffice get all the Google Drive collaboration features, it is will be a great competitor for MS office for 95% of common users would you like it or not.

  • Seobi

    The other way, just go to Office 365 and use it. It’s better than QuickOffice. I hope for Office 365 chrome app.

  • I would still just use SkyDrive and the Office Web Apps. While Microsoft Office document support is getting there, currently the only thing to offer 100% document compatibility is Microsoft Office and the Office Web Apps. However, I respect the efforts of Google and LibreOffice for trying their best to compete against Office.

    • Andrei Zisu

      Even though I love open source, LibreOffice is rubbish. And yes, at the end of the day, I fire up Office 365 and edit my files.

  • dymax

    Again Jonathan Cooper!

  • Tyson Kemp

    FYI – They have disabled editing again. ChromeOS 29 beta

  • Hell Yeah

    I still just use Google Docs.

  • Chris Ratchford

    I was able to edit, but save doesn’t work. However, can do “save as” in a new version of the file and get the edits. Still needs work, but very promising. Having embedded objects like a chart is not working since the embedded spreadsheet needs to be accessible. I’m very hopeful, this is still a beta version.

  • Tom King

    When will Google release the official Quickoffice packaged web app for Chrome OS and the Chrome browser? It has been almost a year since we have heard anything. This would seem critical to Chrome OS and Google Apps adoption in the enterprise.