Google Docs is a popular cloud-based word processor that allows users to create, edit, and collaborate on documents online. One common question users have is whether Google Docs can save documents in the DOCX file format used by Microsoft Word. The short answer is yes – Google Docs can export and save documents as DOCX files.
What is DOCX?
DOCX is a file format for word processing documents, developed by Microsoft. It was introduced in 2007 with the release of Microsoft Office 2007 as the default file format for Word documents.
Some key things to know about DOCX:
- Stands for “DOCument file format in an Office Open XML wrapper”
- Based on XML file format specifications
- Replaced the older binary DOC format used in earlier versions of Word
- Became a common standard file format for sharing word processing documents
Why Save as DOCX from Google Docs?
There are a few reasons you may want to export a Google Doc as a Word DOCX file:
- Compatibility – DOCX is supported by Microsoft Word and most other major word processors. Saving as DOCX makes your document compatible if people need to open or edit it in Word.
- Preserve formatting – Converting Google Docs to DOCX helps maintain formatting, styles, and layouts better than other export options.
- File size – DOCX compresses contents into a zip folder, resulting in a smaller file size compared to other formats.
- Industry standard – Many companies and clients require submitting documents in the DOCX format.
How to Save Google Docs as DOCX
Saving a Google Doc as a Word DOCX file is easy:
- Open the Google Doc you want to convert
- Click File > Download > Microsoft Word (.docx)
- Choose a save location and file name
- Click Save
The document downloads as a DOCX file which you can then open in Word or another compatible editor.
Here is the step-by-step process:
Google Docs Save as DOCX
There are a couple alternative options to export Google Docs as DOCX as well:
- Google Drive desktop app – Provides a “Download as” option to save docs in DOCX or other formats.
- Add-ons – Third-party add-ons like “Save as DOCX” give more export customization options.
What Gets Preserved from Google Docs to Word?
When converting a Google Doc to DOCX format, most of the document’s contents and formatting get preserved, including:
- Text content – All text paragraphs, lists, headings carry over.
- Basic formatting – Bold, italics, underline, font colors and sizes transfer over.
- Images – Embedded images in the Google Doc export as images in the Word document.
- Links – Hyperlinks stay intact as clickable links.
- Lists – Numbered and bulleted lists retain their formatting.
- Tables – Tables and internal cell formatting convert well from Google Docs to Word.
However, there are some elements that may not convert perfectly when exporting Google Docs to Word DOCX:
- Advanced layouts – Multi-column sections or text boxes can shift position or formatting.
- Charts/diagrams – These often have to be rebuilt manually in the Word document.
- Comments – Comments do not transfer over, though revision history is preserved.
- Certain styles – Small styling inconsistencies may occur between the apps.
So while DOCX conversion works very well, expect minor formatting changes for complex documents. Review the Word file after converting from Google Docs.
Advantages of DOCX from Google Docs
Exporting from Google Docs to the DOCX format has several notable advantages:
- Wide compatibility – DOCX opens on all latest versions of Word and most competitor software.
- Preserves formatting – DOCX retains document formatting much better than other export options.
- Smaller file size – DOCX files take less storage space compared to other formats.
- Easy to convert back – If needed, DOCX files can be re-imported to Google Docs while retaining format and style.
The DOCX file format provides the best of both worlds – access to Google Docs collaboration features with enhanced compatibility when exporting to Word processing documents.
Disadvantages of Converting Google Docs to DOCX
There are a couple minor drawbacks to be aware of when exporting Google Docs to Word DOCX files:
- Loss of some formatting – As covered earlier, complex layouts may change slightly.
- No revision history – The Word document will not retain the revision history from Google Docs.
- Have to re-share – Recipients will not have access to the collaborative features of Google Docs.
- No Google Docs editing – Once converted to DOCX, it can no longer be edited with Google Docs features.
However, the advantages outlined above outweigh these limitations for most use cases. Just be aware of these drawbacks when sharing the converted Word document.
Google Docs vs Word DOCX Features Compared
While Google Docs does an excellent job converting documents to DOCX, there are inherent differences in features between the two platforms:
| Feature | Google Docs | Word DOCX |
| Collaboration tools | Real-time co-editing with suggestions and comments | Limited collaboration only with Word desktop app |
| Revisions and history | Complete revision history and ability to revert changes | No revision history after Google Docs conversion |
| Platform access | Available through web browser and mobile apps | Requires Word software, no web access |
| Size limits | No size restrictions on documents | Limits based on available storage space |
| Publishing options | Can directly publish to web | Requires conversion to PDF or HTML for web publishing |
| Templates | Various templates available | More expansive template options in Word |
| Workflows and integrations | Seamless connectivity with G Suite apps | Connects with wider Office 365 ecosystem |
Both platforms have their strengths – Google Docs for real-time collaboration and DOCX for compatibility across devices and programs. Converting between them provides flexibility to leverage benefits of each.
Best Practices for Converting Google Docs to DOCX
Follow these best practices when exporting Google Docs to Word DOCX format:
- Review document formatting after conversion
- Highlight any major layout changes to collaborators
- Be aware revision history gets removed
- Re-import the DOCX file to Google Docs if additional edits are needed
- For complex documents, copy-paste sections into a fresh Word file
- Use DOCX for final copies to share, not for back-and-forth collaborative editing
Keeping these tips in mind will help ensure a smooth transition for your document between Google Docs and Microsoft Word.
Converting Google Docs to the DOCX file format used by Microsoft Word is straightforward:
- Export using “File > Download as > DOCX” directly in Google Docs
- Most formatting carries over well to the Word document
- DOCX provides wider compatibility and smaller file sizes
- Minor style changes can occur so review document after conversion
- Use DOCX for final copies rather than collaborative editing versions
Being able to switch between the real-time collaboration of Google Docs and offline compatibility of Word DOCX empowers you to get the benefits of both platforms. Use Google Docs for creating and editing collaboratively, then export to DOCX when ready to finalize and share your document more broadly across devices and programs.