I was under the impression that by using Google Drive, I can edit my files in MS Word or Excel and it will all sync but apparently I can't open .gdoc .gsheet in MS Office.

So basically, aside from seeing what files I have in Google Docs from my Local Drive, I don't see any functional capabilities since I cannot edit it without going to Google Docs website? It's simply just a shortcut to the Google Docs website. If any, it only reveals my Google docs file names to other users of my PC. Or, am I missing something?

3 Answers 3


Google Docs have been merged into Google Drive. Consider Drive as an overlay that just maps your previously existing Docs collection to your local hard drive. Since neither Word nor other applications have a way to edit Google Docs documents on the fly (plus the fact that there's no API for this), the only way to represent those documents on your local computer is to show them as .gdoc and .gsheet files.

To edit them, you still have to use the Google Docs website.

To view them, use the Docs offline modebeta. Click the settings button, and enable it from there.

Then download the Google Docs app for Google Chrome. After all, you still need a browser though.

  • 2
    The gdocs files appear to have the same file size of 174 bytes which probably means they're really just shortcuts. Not that it's a big problem. I just thought they will be functional like regular MS Office documents since they are present in my local drive. Well, I guess it is what it is, a shortcut.
    – IMB
    Commented May 10, 2012 at 13:42
  • They are json files that the google drive offline app can display for you. You can only edit the gdoc, and the other ones you can just view, and you can also create brand new gdocs offline, but no other file type. I guess we have to be patient and wait till google makes it possible to use all of the file types offline too. It would be great, since using their file types it doesn't take away from your 10 gigs. :P
    – pqsk
    Commented Oct 14, 2012 at 18:29
  • Seems that this options is now gone. I try to reach to docs.google.com, but it gets redirected to drive.google.com, where I don't see this option under the settings. Commented Sep 12, 2013 at 9:39

According to Google Drive Help, you can set up offline viewing in Google Docs, so that you can still view the Google Docs files while you are offline.

  • Still doesn't change the fact Office does not read these files, nor should they, since they can be viewed offline in a browser.
    – Ramhound
    Commented May 10, 2012 at 14:34
  • Right, IMB asked what the purpose of these files are. The purpose is not to be opened in Office, it's to be opened in Google Docs for offline viewing.
    – Annie
    Commented May 10, 2012 at 14:39

If you are on Mac, Insync might solve your problem. The app makes it possible to work in your Google Docs offline from within Microsoft Office applications (Word, Excel & PowerPoint).

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