Normally, clicking a link shared with you from someone within Google Workspace to view a traditional Office Word, Excel, or Powerpoint file in Drive would first launch it in what’s called ‘Preview Mode’. This would allow you to preview the contents of the file prior to fully opening it. Honestly, I’ve always thought this was pretty useless, but I’m biased, because I normally just use Google’s file types for everything, but for those who attempted to adapt to the company’s editing suite, Preview Mode proved to be an annoying barrier to doing so.
Now, when you create a link to any of these Microsoft file types in Drive and share it out with a colleague or family member, it will automatically open directly into editing mode, skipping the obnoxious preview entirely! This should go a long way to making the transition to Google from Microsoft or even those using a hybrid workflow to feel much more comfortable in their day-to-day.
Google states that this change will also update alternateLink and webViewLink fields for shared links in the Drive API, making for a complete transition, even for developers. You can expect this link behavior automatically over the next three weeks for both Rapid Release and Scheduled Release domains alike, and there’s nothing that admins or the users of their organization will need to do in order to benefit from it.
As the big tech companies all seek to win over users to their file types and ecosystem, there’s one thing that’s for sure – we’re the ones that win. We’ve entered into an age where we can all use whatever file types we want (mostly) and the competing ecosystem will likely support it – well…at least for widely accepted and used formats. I don’t ever foresee a future where you can bring a .gdoc over to Microsoft Office on your local machine and it converts it to a .docx, but hey, you never know!
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