UFO: Open and edit non-Google files in Google Drive

The Universal File Opener (UFO) is a Google Chrome extension. It enhances the Google Drive and AODocs experience by allowing you to:

  • open non-Google files locally on your computer using the corresponding software
  • save the changes you made locally back to Google Drive or AODocs

This article explains how to:

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– UFO works only with the List view in Google Drive.
Google Photos is not supported as it doesn't allow the List view.
– You can't use UFO to open Google documents, spreadsheets, presentations or drawings locally.

Check the status of UFO

1. In Google Drive, click the UFO extension button next to the URL bar. The UFO extension dialog opens.

If there are no files in your cache, the status of the UFO extension is displayed. A green check mark next to Google Drive and AODocs Sync Client means UFO is active.

Tip: You can refresh the UFO connection with the Sync Client by clicking the Refresh connection button in the extension dialog.

The UFO button appears next to files that can be edited locally.


If you have one or more files in your cache, the list of cached files is displayed.


2. Click Back to check the status of the UFO extension.

UFO status summary

3. Click Show more details to view the list of cached files.

Note: The Show more details option is displayed only when you have at least one cached file available.

Open and edit your files

1. In Google Drive click the Open file button next to the file name.

The file is downloaded and opens locally in its software application. An information dialog is displayed. If the file is too big or takes too long to open, you can cancel from the dialog.

Important: You can't edit files that are locked. Learn more:
View locked files
Manage locked files


Alternatively, open your file in the Google file preview and select Open file in the UFO menu.


About the download:
– If you aren't allowed to copy, print or download the file, you can't download it and open it locally with UFO. An error message is displayed.
– The download may take a while, depending on the file size.
– If you want to open a file that was last edited by yourself with UFO, the UFO extension doesn't download the file again but opens the file stored locally.

About the local software:
– To open a file in a specific software application, the application itself must be installed on your computer.
– If several local applications can open the file, UFO chooses the default application defined on your computer to open the file.

2. Edit your document locally on your computer.

Note: If you have read-only access to the file in Google Drive or AODocs, you can open the file, but any changes made and saved locally will not be uploaded back to Google Drive or AODocs.

3. Save your changes locally.

A message indicates that the file is being uploaded back to Google Drive or AODocs. It's saved as a new version with all the updates you made locally. You can cancel the upload if required.


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