Insane problem with opening uploaded office docs in Google Drive on Manjaro

Alright, at this point I am about to re-install my laptop from scratch, so this is a last straw, hoping someone can help me fix this…

When you upload a document in MS Office format (or Open Document Format, for that matter) in Google Drive and you right-click the file in Drive, you can choose to open the document in Google Docs, Sheets or Slides respectively. This works as expected on my Manjaro desktop.

However, when I upload a file from my Manjaro laptop to Google Drive, it insists that there are “No available apps” for opening that file when I right-click it.

So uploading the file works fine and after downloading it, I can open and use it with LibreOffice or WPS Office as usual, no problem either. It’s just that when uploading from my laptop, I can no longer open that file in the Google Suite office apps.

I have uploaded the same file with different browsers: Google Chrome, Chromium, Firefox, Microsoft Edge and Falkon. I have uploaded the file through Google Drive File Stream. Same problem persists on my laptop. Works fine on my desktop. And it used to work on my laptop too, but not anymore…

So something is borked on my laptop, but this is so insane that I have no idea where to start looking. And searching for a solution on the web has proven fruitless. So… anyone?

Inxi output
System:    Kernel: 5.10.2-2-MANJARO x86_64 bits: 64 Desktop: Cinnamon 4.8.3 Distro: Manjaro Linux 
Machine:   Type: Laptop System: Dell product: XPS 13 7390 v: N/A serial: <filter> 
           Mobo: Dell model: 0G2D0W v: A00 serial: <filter> UEFI: Dell v: 1.7.0 date: 10/22/2020 
Battery:   ID-1: BAT0 charge: 51.2 Wh condition: 51.2/52.0 Wh (99%) 
CPU:       Info: Quad Core model: Intel Core i7-10510U bits: 64 type: MT MCP L2 cache: 8 MiB 
           Speed: 700 MHz min/max: 400/4900 MHz Core speeds (MHz): 1: 700 2: 700 3: 700 4: 700 5: 700 6: 700 7: 700 
           8: 700 
Graphics:  Device-1: Intel UHD Graphics driver: i915 v: kernel 
           Device-2: Microdia Integrated_Webcam_HD type: USB driver: uvcvideo 
           Display: x11 server: X.Org 1.20.10 driver: modesetting resolution: 1: 1920x1080~60Hz 2: 3840x2160~60Hz 
           OpenGL: renderer: Mesa Intel UHD Graphics (CML GT2) v: 4.6 Mesa 20.3.1 
Audio:     Device-1: Intel driver: snd_hda_intel 
           Device-2: Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920 type: USB driver: snd-usb-audio,uvcvideo 
           Device-3: Realtek USB Audio type: USB driver: snd-usb-audio 
           Sound Server: ALSA v: k5.10.2-2-MANJARO 
Network:   Device-1: Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX200 driver: iwlwifi 
           IF: wlp2s0 state: down mac: <filter> 
           Device-2: Realtek RTL8153 Gigabit Ethernet Adapter type: USB driver: r8152 
           IF: enp62s0u2u4 state: up speed: 1000 Mbps duplex: full mac: <filter> 
Drives:    Local Storage: total: 476.94 GiB used: 283.78 GiB (59.5%) 
           ID-1: /dev/nvme0n1 vendor: SK Hynix model: PC601 NVMe 512GB size: 476.94 GiB 
Partition: ID-1: / size: 467.01 GiB used: 283.63 GiB (60.7%) fs: ext4 dev: /dev/dm-0 
           ID-2: /boot size: 968.3 MiB used: 119.9 MiB (12.4%) fs: ext4 dev: /dev/nvme0n1p2 
           ID-3: /boot/efi size: 499 MiB used: 33.1 MiB (6.6%) fs: vfat dev: /dev/nvme0n1p1 
Swap:      ID-1: swap-1 type: file size: 16 GiB used: 0 KiB (0.0%) file: /swapfile 
Sensors:   System Temperatures: cpu: 37.0 C mobo: N/A 
           Fan Speeds (RPM): cpu: 0 fan-2: 0 
Info:      Processes: 319 Uptime: 8h 36m Memory: 15.46 GiB used: 7.77 GiB (50.3%) Shell: Bash inxi: 3.2.01

I have a .docx file.
I dropped it in my Drive>tmp folder.
When I right click that I get:

It seems there aren’t any ‘apps’ connected…

.doc and .docx are not supported by Google Drive - it won’t open on an ipad either.


If you said ‘Uploading the file works fine and I can open that file in the Google Suite office apps’ I’d stay with you.

But you’re saying you can upload, download and edit - which is not surprising. But I don’t understand ‘when uploading from my laptop, I can no longer open it with Google Suite’ - seems irrelevant. That won’t work from my desktop either… and I just tried with a docx, also saved as a doc - it doesn’t work.

Okay, let me try to explain :smiley:

When I upload a .docx file from my laptop which runs a fully current Manjaro Cinnamon Stable install, I get this situation:

Notice how the file icon is flat. When I choose to “Open with” I cannot choose to open it as an editable document in Google Docs. This behavior occurs in both Firefox and Chrome/Chromium browsers.

Now, when I go downstairs to my desktop/game PC which runs a fully current Manjaro Cinnamon Stable install and I upload the exact same test.docx document, I get this situation:

Note how the file icon is now a “MS Word” icon. When I choose to “Open with” Drive shows me the Google Docs app and when I choose that option, it will open as an editable document right in Google Docs.

So yes, Google Suite natively supports opening and editing MS Office document formats (and has for quite a while). But something on my laptop borks that functionality when uploading files.

I mentioned that on my laptop I can still upload and download the files to/from Drive and they work locally when downloaded, just to explain that the files are not somehow totally corrupted. Only the functionality to edit MS Office files directly in Google Suite is broken.

And the weird thing is: this used to work on my laptop too! It somehow suddenly became broken at some point.

[Edit: and just to be sure, it doesn’t work on Midori and Opera either on my laptop and Google won’t let me log in with Falkon as that browser is deemed “not safe”.]

[Edit 2: so, the really interesting part here is, really, that @Ben doesn’t get to see the option to edit Word documents in Google Docs, when I assumed everybody would get that functionality and it was just something broken on my end… so maybe it’s not just something broken on my end but something broken in general or sometimes broken or generally broken in particular cases…]

[Edit 3: Oh, I just realized I should add this detail: a) when I upload the test.docx file from my laptop and then try to “Open with” on my desktop PC, it also shows the flat document icon and doesn’t show the option to use Google Docs, b) but the reverse situation is also true, when I upload the test.docx file from my desktop PC, on my laptop the file shows up with the Word style icon and I can open the file directly in Google Docs.

So, conclusion: something is broken when uploading the file on my laptop, but there is nothing inherently broken on my laptop about being able to open MS Office files in Google Suite apps.]

1 Like

Interesting - on my desktop I don’t get this option either. No other answers?

I fixed mine adding an extension: أدوات تحرير مستندات Office - ‏سوق Chrome الإلكتروني

Interesting font… but it should take you to office-editing and after that I get the option to edit (BTW when I use Drive, it opens as a Chrome app, not Firefox).

Something is still quite badly broken, even with the extension.

Normal operation without the extension on my desktop PC:

  • upload and file appears with the MS Office style icon
  • choose to open a MS Office format file with corresponding Google Suite app
  • document is opened in online Google Suite app
  • URL bar lists as the location of the document
  • I can edit the file and it will autosave as .docx or other MS Office format in the Drive
  • I can choose “Save as Google Docs” from the File menu and it will convert and save a copy of the document in native Google Docs format

Operation with the extension:

  • upload and the file still apears with the flat style icon
  • choose to open a MS Office format file with the extension
  • document is open locally in the browser extension
  • URL bar lists chrome-extension://longhash/etc.etc.etc as the location of the document
  • I can edit the file and it will autosave as .docx or other MS Office format in the Drive
  • The extension has limited functionality compared to the online Google Suite apps
  • If I choose “Save as Google Docs” from the File menu of the extension, I get an error that the file cannot be converted
  • When the extension is installed, it always takes precedence over the online Google Suite apps, so the extension will open even for documents that have been uploaded correctly and are editable in the online Google Suite apps

So the conclusion is that whatever is broken, is still broken on my laptop.

The extension offers some functionality, but not the functionality I need to work and collaborate on documents for my employer. I guess I have to book a day off in my work calender to back up and reinstall my laptop.