Maine Township High School District 207 was Google’s first-ever K-12 partner for Google Apps for Education (now G Suite), and over nearly a decade, Maine 207 staff members have seen dramatic changes in what can be done and accomplished in G Suite. Today, nearly all staff members can do nearly all of their work in G Suite–and it can be done with powerful collaboration from any Chromebook or up-to-date Internet-connected device. (Individual work can even occur offline in Docs, Slides, and Sheets across all major platforms!)


Google Drive – Our Storage Hub

Google provides its education customers with unlimited storage in Google Drive. This fact, coupled with the availability of accessing files from any Internet-connected device, means that all Maine 207 professional work should be stored in Google Drive. While we continue to maintain U and S drives locally within the District at this time, new files of nearly any kind should be stored in Drive.


G Suite vs Microsoft Office

Microsoft Office is a wonderful, comprehensive software suite, yet as G Suite has evolved, Docs, Sheets, and Slides can now accomplish over 95% of the tasks that over 95% of users need to complete. As a result, before starting a new file, ask yourself, “Is there any reason that this file cannot be completed in G Suite?” If, for some reason, you must work on a particular file in the .docx, .xlsx, or .pptx file format, that file can still be stored in Drive without being converted to Google’s native formats for G Suite.


Opening an Office file in an Office app* from Drive

*In the context of this post, Office apps refer to Word, Excel, and PowerPoint on Windows or Mac OS.

First, you will need to install the Google Drive plug-in for Microsoft Office. It can be downloaded here, and more information is available about it here.

Google Drive for Microsoft Office Plug-In

Once that has been downloaded, you will need to open either Word, Excel, or PowerPoint on your computer this first time in order to connect your Drive. It is recommended that you open Word this first time connect the account. When you do so, you will need to enter your Google account information. First, you will enter your email address as pictured below, and then, you will enter your Maine 207 Active Directory/G Suite password.

Word - Sign-in to Google

After entering your G Suite credentials, you will need to authorize Microsoft Office to have access to your Drive account as pictured below.

Accept Drive Permissions

Now, when you go to open a file, you will see Google Drive listed as one of the available options as pictured below. To access your Drive, simply click on the “Google Drive” icon.


Once, you have clicked on Google Drive, a new Drive window will open in place of the traditional Windows File Explorer window or the Mac OS Finder window as pictured below. Within this window, you can navigate through your Drive like you normally would in order to find your file.

Open docs file in Word

Simply click on the file that you want to open, and then, click on the blue “Select” button, and your file will open in Word. Additionally, when you save your file, those changes will save back to Google Drive.

Now, in those rare instances in which you need to open an Office file in an Office application, you can continue to use Google Drive as your storage solution for such work with no disruption to your normal workflow.