Google Docs now supports .docx and .xlsx, two files formats found in nearly every modern day word processor or spreadsheet editor. Previously, when trying to import either of these formats into Google Docs, the service would simply tell the user it was not supported.
Google has allowed users to open up these files from Gmail or in Google search results since the introduction of its HTML-document viewer last year, but hadn’t allowed direct opening of them in Docs without the extra conversion step. Gmail still only offers the options to view received .docx and .xlsx-formatted files in its HTML viewer, or download it directly to the desktop. In comparison, supported files can be sent directly to Google Docs.
Compared with previous versions of the popular .doc and .xls formats, the “x” variants bring with them smaller file size and the addition of Open XML. These two are also the default format in the latest versions of Microsoft’s Excel and Word 2007, two widely used production tools.
Still missing is a way to import .pptx files from PowerPoint 2007 without losing formatting. Just like it used to do with .docx and .xlsx files, Google Docs strips things like themes, transitions and artwork. Competitor Zoho has offered support for these Open Office XML formats since early 2008.