June 27, 2011, 7:34 PM — I love the cloud-based convenience of Google Docs, but I can't stand actually working in Google Docs for very long. In my opinion, Microsoft Office is a far better file editing suite than Google Docs, and the gap is so vast that I scarcely ever do any actual editing in Google's Web apps. So I use Google Cloud Connect to bridge the gap. Last week, Google added a new feature to Cloud Connect to make it easier to access your cloud-based documents from within Microsoft Office. Here's how it works.
Assuming you've already installed Google Cloud Connect, within your Office app, click the Google Cloud Connect button and select Open from Google Docs. You'll then see a dialog box with all the appropriate files in your Google Docs document list. The dialog box is context-sensitive, so if you open it in Word, you'll see only Word-compatible files. In PowerPoint or Excel, you'll see only files compatible with that particular app.
If your documents list is really long, don't bother scrolling through all of your files. The dialog box includes a search field that you can use to quickly locate the file you're looking for.
Once you've downloaded the file, Cloud Connect will keep it synced between your local version and the version in the cloud. Whenever you save the file, it'll be synced to the cloud. And whenever one of your collaborators makes an update in the cloud, it'll be synced to your local version. (You can modify this setting to sync only manually, but I don't recommend it.)
By default, Cloud Connect saves files to your Downloads folder, but you can modify this to always use your Documents folder. You can also choose to have Cloud Connect prompt you every time you download a file, so you can always put it where you need it.