Pixels rejoice: native Microsoft Word and Excel file editing arrive on Chrome OS

Jun 28, 2013
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Those paying close attention to Google's pre-final releases of the operating system iteration of Google's Chrome will have noticed the addition of some rather important abilities to Chromium code. Noting the discovery of this addition well before Google made such a thing public was developer François Beaufort. As a Google open-source evangelist himself, Beaufort was more than a little joyous to find the words in code as follows: “Improved Quickoffice editing about:flag.”

At the moment there's no word about PowerPoint, but we'll certainly see a bit more information about integration of the other two straight from Google soon enough. As it stands, this is a big push into the territory of more traditional desktop machines that Google Chrome users will be excited - and probably a bit surprised - to find coming to their basic builds some time this summer.

This is big news for those working with Chrome that would rather work with NATIVE editing rather than importing and exporting in and out of Google Docs. The big difference is that one or two extra steps, and the fact that moving in and out of Google Docs doesn't always result in easy-to-create Office-ready documents for everyone. You can do it, in most cases, but it's certainly not easy.

Creating a native editor inside Chrome OS is the first step toward extremely easy Microsoft Office document editing -and that's quite an important step indeed.

As outlined by the folks at The Next Web, adding functionality to your Chrome OS machine right here and now is a relatively simple process:

1. Navigate to chrome://flags.
2. Click on Enable below the “Enable document editing” entry.
3. You’ll be prompted to “Restart Now” after which you will get access to the feature.

NOTE: you may not see this option appear - chrome://flags/#enable-quick-office-editing may also work. Remember to be cautious when trying any of this, mind you, as it's in the experimental bin for a reason - Google's not ready to release this functionality to the public yet because it's not yet run through it's entire set of testing processes.

If you do use this feature (which is very much in beta mode, still), your troubleshooting and reporting to the Chrome issue reporting interface linked by Beaufort, complete with pre-set fill-in-the-blank helpfulness!

The creation of this editing ability comes after the web browser Chrome was integrated with "Chrome Office Viewer", an extension that could be attached to allow simple viewing of Microsoft Office documents. Viewing, mind you, not editing. This ability was ported FROM Chrome OS where it existed for quite some time.

Now that thousands of Google-friendly developers have their own Chrome machine - the most high-end Chrome OS machine on the market, mind you, in the Chromebook Pixel - it would appear that the creation of key abilities such as this are on the rise. Have a peek in SlashGear's Chrome tag portal for more information on the waves as they crash on in through the future.


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