I'd prefer not to just convert the .doc to a Google Doc (the formatting gets royally screwed up). But I'd love to have that functionatlity. I was wondering if some of the other "shared Office Documents" services might do that.

Hopefully free, because I only need this feature this one time for a huge Spec I wrote.

What I've tried (Based on suggestions below)

  • Copying the Word document and pasting into the Google Doc. (Wouldn't paste images and the formatting was as fouled up as when I had Google Docs import it.)
  • Importing Word doc into Google Docs but not converting it. Just shows me a pdf then and comments can't be attached to a particular line (a huge problem with a 48 pg document).

You could try using Google Cloud Connect. I would imagine the commenting would occur within Microsoft Word itself (using the comments feature within Microsoft Word), then once a comment is made the changes are synced with whoever is synced with it. Oh even just use Google Drive or Dropbox to sync and share manually.

There is no Google Docs equivalent to what you are looking for though. Microsoft Word has a hard time as it is keeping formatting stable between Windows, Mac, Open Office, Adobe PDF and printing. And if there is, it's not going to be free.

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Comment on it, as in within the document itself? Or comment on it, as in talk among themselves or tell you via chat or email what they thought of it?

Because if you do not want them to leave comments on the actual file, then you can simply tell Google Docs not to convert files that you upload. Just click the Settings Gear, look at the Upload settings, and make sure the "Convert uploaded files to Google Docs format" is not checked.

Otherwise, have you tried opening a blank document in Google Docs and copy/pasting the document from Word into it that way to retain the formatting?

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  • if you leave it unconverted on Google Docs, it shows you what appears to be a PDF and comments can't be attached to particular line. – Clay Nichols May 10 '12 at 16:30
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    That would be why I asked for clarification as to exactly what kind of comments you were talking about, in the initial sentence of my answer. – Bon Gart May 10 '12 at 16:31

You could try Docs.com. It's a tool built in collaboration of Microsoft and Facebook. So your formatting details will be preserved as they won't need to be converted to some other format.

But the difference with Google Docs is that, you cannot add inline comment in Docs.com .. You can, though, add comments to the whole file.

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  • To confirm: You can add comments but they won't be "attached" to a particular part/line of the document, correct? They'd just be comments associated with the whole document? (That defeats the purpose of this: it's a 47 page document and I need folks to be able to easily see what the comment refers to). – Clay Nichols May 9 '12 at 17:48
  • Correct. Hmm. Then it won't work for you. Tough luck you have with this, as there aint many service for this purpose which are as fine tuned as Google docs. – Bibhas May 9 '12 at 17:49

Did you try Microsoft SkyDrive? It has online editing features for .doc, and I'd expect MS to be better at retaining the correct formatting for its own proprietary format :). Unfortunately I haven't used it myself, so I am not sure about the level of support for comments & multiple authorship etc.

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