A new feature to Google Drive is currently in the process of rolling out to all G Suite versions that will allow for commenting – and to be able to see those comments – on Microsoft Office files, PDFs and image files. The new feature means that users of G Suite will be able to collaborate with colleagues or others outside of their organization who use Microsoft Office. More importantly, this can be done without having to convert the files.
The new feature appears in Google Drive online and when you open up the preview pane on a Microsoft Word, Excel or PowerPoint file, you will be able to see the comments on that file and be able to add comments. They will be saved and will stay attached to the file. This should significantly lower the friction on collaborating on projects within organizations and with customers of an organization.
For PDFs, it is pretty much the same. If you open up a PDF in the preview of Google Drive, you can add comments via an anchored text box.
Google points out that this new functionality will take up to two weeks to roll out to everyone so if you don’t see it yet, give it some time. Right now this is only on the web based version of Drive too, not on the apps. It isn’t clear if it will be coming to the Android and iOS app at some point in the future – but we can hope.