Likely as a part of the larger Smart Canvas update to Docs, users will now have the ability to place images above or behind text instead of just between or aside it. Formatting of the text will also be preserved when importing or exporting documents from Microsoft Word. The lack of consistent formatting in the past has been a major point of contention for Office users who bought Chromebooks and were forced to use Google’s services before they were really good.
Google hopes that better customization of your Docs builds your confidence in jumping between its tools and Microsoft’s where necessary, and the more it adopts industry standards for editing, the more likely users are to switch entirely. Last year, it introduced “Native” Office editing, where the file would retain its .docx formatting while giving you the full range of Google Docs editing tools instead of the limited Office Compatibility Mode.
The new options for positioning images above or behind text joins the pre-existing options for placing them below, in front of, and within breaks of text in the image sidebar which can be called up as a result of clicking an image in the body of the Doc. If you’re not seeing it already, that’s because it began rolling out yesterday, and will appear for Rapid and Scheduled Release domains alike over the next two weeks.
Now that Chrome OS has come this far and Office 365 is available to its users, many of these formatting and compatibility issues are going away…that is, aside from the fact that Office files open as read-only in several circumstances – something I created a bug report for over two years ago and has still not been resolved!
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