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Preserve Word format in Drive

Tips for converting Word docs with tables, special formats in Google Drive.

3 min read


Preserve Word format in Drive


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In a recent conversation with clients about how they could get more from G Suite for Education and Google Classroom, I discovered that many of them had problems uploading Word files that include tables. The table formats changed during the conversion process.

I decided to test drive it myself. Here’s how to keep formatting from Word to Google Docs without losing your file format.

How to convert Word to Google Docs without loss of formatting

After opening Google Drive, I found a Word doc with multiple tables that included bullets, check boxes and URLs inside the cells. I turned off “Conversion” in the Drive settings and uploaded it. The document looked fine on the preview page.

I then selected “Open With Google Docs” and converted it to a Google Docs document format. Everything was perfect — exactly how it looked in my original.

I uploaded the document again, this time with “Conversion” turned on in the settings. The uploaded, automatically converted version came out fine.

I ran this file upload test twice more with two additional documents, and each one had the same successful result. The key is in selecting the files and converting them individually, rather than all at once.

If you have previously had trouble converting Microsoft Word documents with tables, I urge you to give it another shot. Things have changed and it’s very likely that your documents will come out fine.

The process for converting uploads is simple to teach and learn, so you can show others how to transfer their Word documents to Google Docs. Achieving Google account and Microsoft Office proficiency is critical in the modern classroom, especially with the universal cloud access that uploading files to Google Docs provides.

One final benefit of Google Docs is that it allows for collaborative and personalized learning in remote learning situations. By allowing teachers and students to share files online, it becomes easier to share items on a large scale and give each student individual attention.

Gene Tognetti is the founder of Agile Educational Technology Consulting in Campbell, California. He provides professional development to educators on a wide variety of topics, including effective classroom technology integration, digital citizenship, developing student critical thinking and creativity skills, blended learning, one-to-one classrooms and the role of administration in planning technology.

Tognetti has been director of professional development, a technology coach, a classroom teacher, and is a recovering vice principal. He led one of the first successful one-to-one Chromebook implementations in California and also successfully led a one-to-one iPad implementation for a large high school. Connect with Tognetti online at his website, via email or on Twitter.


Tech Tips is a content collaboration between SmartBrief Education and GreyED Solutions. Have a tech tip to share? Contact us at [email protected]


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