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Scott L
Scott L, Mac Support Specialist
Category: Mac
Satisfied Customers: 264
Experience:  20+ years experience with MAC hardware and software. Currently own and operate PC Service.
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I have set up Google Drive for colleagues collaborating on

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I have set up Google Drive for colleagues collaborating on a book.
I have 'shared' access and people can get to the drive.
However the documents they see are not the same as what I see - there are format changes, ie text boxes in a word doc are all misaligned.
Are there compatibility issues I need to correct?
All are working on Macbook Pros with current OS and docs are created in WORD for the Mac.

Bill McCready [email protected]
Thank you for coming to Just Answer for your support question.
I will be happy to assist you.

Are your colleagues using WORD for Mac to open the files as well. There would be format compatibility issues if they are opening the documents with a different program.
If this is the case can you tell me what program they are using to open the documents?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Everyone is using WORD for Mac.
Are they downloading the file from Google Drive and then opening them from the file on their computer or are they just clicking on the document from within Google Drive? If you just click on the document from within Google Drive it will open the document using Googles document software which could have compatibility issues.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
They are opening within their Google Drive. When I open within my Google Drive the docs appear OK. However, when I access them thru the desktop app on my laptop, they look different than when I access them thru the link I have sent to my colleagues. I thought GD was supposed to be able to allow users to open a variety of files.
Google Drive does have the ability to open a variety of files although there may be formatting issues with documents. For example if I was to create a document with MS Word and then open that document with Open Office Writer there could be formatting issues within the document even though Open Office Writer is compatible with MS Word.

You can try saving the document as a different file type to see if the formatting remains. You do this by selecting Save As from your original document and choosing a different file type. You may be able to find a file type that keeps the formatting the same as the original file when being opened from within Google Drive.

With Google Drive there are 2 ways to access your files....1: by accessing Google Drive online which is what happens when you send a link to your colleagues. 2: by accessing through the Google Drive App which downloads the files to a folder on your computer, thus giving you a copy of the actual file.

The easiest solution for you would be to inform your colleagues to download the file to their computer before opening the file which they have an option to do from within Google Drive Online. Your other option is as I explained above trying to find a file type that will open from within Google Drive with the proper formatting.

If the document is something that you are comfortable sending me a link to I would be happy to try to find a file type that would work for you.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
With regard to the 2 ways to access the file - are they identical in terms of file readability? I thought that was the whole purpose behind GD. If colleagues have to download the file to their laptop I don't see any advantage to using GD. Perhaps we should be using Dropbox and exercising version control. I have to leave for a meeting for a few hours and would like to continue this later this afternoon.
That will be fine to continue later this afternoon. The purpose of Google Drive and Dropbox as well is to allow for Cloud access to your files. Google Drive has the ability to allow sharing of files with others which i'm sure if Dropbox allows, that was the reason I switched to using Google Drive because I could share individual files with others and Dropbox wasn't allowing me to do that, unless they have added the feature since I quit using Dropbox.

As far as terms of file readability access through the Google Drive App is the actual file - the same as if you were to email the file to someone. Google Drive Online uses the Google Docs Engine to open the files so compatibility issues can sometimes be a problem. Although from Google Drive Online you can download the file and open the file the same as if you open the file from within the Google Drive App (which actually downloads the file to your computer the same as Dropbox does if you have the Dropbox App installed.

The difference between the two options is that when accessing the file online it is being opened with a different software than what it was created with (Google Docs) when being accessed through Google Drive App the file is actually on your computer thus it gets opened with WORD.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I'll check, but I believe my colleagues have installed the App on their desktops and are still getting distortion in the docs. I'll try GoTo or TeamViewer to see if I can see what they are seeing, but this is what they are telling me. In any case, am I correct in understanding you that if they open the files using Google Drive App, they should see exactly what I am seeing as if the file was simply placed on their hard drive?
Yes that would be correct. And with the Google Drive App the file is actually on their computer. Also can you tell me what file type you are saving the document as.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
When I load the doc it has been saved on my desktop as a word file and I just drag it to the Google drive.
Does it give an option to save the file as .docx? You could try that type if it is available.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
OK - I believe it does that automatically.
OK that is usually the default with Word. Try changing the file type to just .doc Google may be able to handle that extension better
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Our whole reason for trying Google Drive was to be able to collaborate in real time on a WORD document - it seems as though that is quite complicated and limited. We've been able to make it work using Google Docs but the formatting and image limits are significant. Thanks for your comments.
No problem wish I could give you a better solution to the issue you are having, unfortunately compatibility between programs has its limits.
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