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How to Convert Google Docs to Microsoft Word (and Vice Versa)

While Google Docs has always been a popular choice for those who want to access, share, and sign documents with ease, sometimes you need to convert Google Docs to Microsoft Word for a more popular format, such as DOCX. Downloading a Google Doc offline lets you quickly convert to other formats. You can also convert from Microsoft Word to Google Docs when needed.

Note: while you can convert documents from Google Docs to Word, there is no guarantee that the formatting in your document will be preserved during the conversion.

Convert Single Google Doc to Microsoft Word

As Google Docs are in an online format, you can’t just import them into Word. You have to first convert Google Docs to Microsoft Word’s DOCX format, then download it. Easily perform this conversion from both Google Docs and Google Drive.

If you want to convert to DOC format, open the converted DOCX file in Word, then save as a DOC format. If you don’t have Word installed, you can also make the conversion online.

Converting Within Google Docs

Open the file you want to convert to Word format. Click the File menu, then select Download -> Microsoft Word (.docx). You can also convert to OpenDocument, Rich Text Format, PDF, Plain Text, Web Page, and EPUB.

File menu in Google Docs, showing how to download a file as Microsoft Word.

Choose a name and save location for your downloaded document. Once it’s downloaded, open it in Microsoft Word, and begin using it.

Converting Within Google Drive

It’s even easier to convert Google Docs to Microsoft Word in Google Drive. You can’t convert to other formats (like PDF and EPUB) in Drive, but if you’re just after a Word document, this method works fine.

Locate the document you want to convert in your Google Drive, right-click it, and select Download, for Google Drive to convert the file.

Convert Google Docs to Microsoft Word through Google Drive.

All that’s left is to choose a download name and location.

Batch Converting Within Google Drive

Sometimes you don’t want to save just one document as a DOCX file. You may want to convert multiple Google Docs into Word documents all at the same time. Instead of opening each individual file, use Google Drive instead.

The Google Drive batch download method works nearly identically to downloading a single document. However, if you hold down the Ctrl key when you click on files, you can select multiple files all at once. The files that are selected in the batch will light up in blue as you click them.

Right-click any of the highlighted ones, and click Download as you usually would. You will receive a ZIP file to download. Choose your save location and a file name. Right-click the file in Windows, and select Extract all to extract your Word documents. If you’re using Linux, use these methods.

Batching converting Docs to Word through Drive.

Convert a Word Document to Google Docs in Word

If someone sends you a Word document via email, and you want to edit it with all the cloud-based bells and whistles of Google Docs, what then?

Get the Word document onto Google Drive. If you have the Google Drive app, place the Word document in your Google Drive folder on your desktop, or drag and drop the Word document into Google Drive when it’s open in your browser.

With the document in Google Drive, open Google Drive in your browser, find the document, and double-click it to open it.

The document will open in Google Docs but still be in the “.docx” format. The same is true if you have a .doc file.

To convert Microsoft Word to Google Docs, click File -> Save As Google Docs. It will become a Google Doc backed up in the cloud.

Saving an uploaded Word document as a Google Doc file.

Convert Multiple Word Documents to Google Docs

If you want every .docx Word document to turn into a Google Doc upon uploading it to Google Drive, you can do that too.

In Google Drive, click the Settings cog in the top-right corner of Google Drive, click Settings, then check the Convert uploaded files to Google Docs editor format box. Click Done to save your changes.

Change Google Docs settings to automatically convert Word files to Google Docs.

You can drag and drop multiple .docx. files at once into Google Drive, and it will convert them for you.

Alternatively, click New -> File upload on the main Google Drive page, then hold Ctrl or Shift as you click documents to batch-select them.

Uploading files to Google Drive to convert.

Using Your Documents

Despite all the benefits of cloud storage, sometimes you just need an offline copy of your documents. With a few clicks, convert Google Docs to Microsoft Word files (and the other way round) with very little hassle.

If you’re trying to retain all your formatting, converting to PDF sometimes works better. Then, convert the PDF to Microsoft Word. If you’re dealing with spreadsheets, learn how to convert Excel to Google Sheets, then easily share Google Docs via email.

Image credit: Unsplash. All screenshots by Crystal Crowder.

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Crystal Crowder

Crystal Crowder has spent over 15 years working in the tech industry, first as an IT technician and then as a writer. She works to help teach others how to get the most from their devices, systems, and apps. She stays on top of the latest trends and is always finding solutions to common tech problems.

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