3 Ways to Fix and Open Unsupported File Types in Google Drive

Ever found yourself smack dab in the middle of a project, only to hit a roadblock with an “unsupported file type” warning on Google Drive?

You’re probably left scratching your head, asking, “How do I fix unsupported files in Google Drive?

Well, you’ve come to the right place! We’re about to embark on a fun, informative journey to make sense of these pesky file formats and teach you how to open unsupported file types.

We’ll go over why this happens, how to solve it, and how to prevent it in the future.

Did you know that Google Drive directly supports more than 30 types of files in its web interface? This includes all the popular ones, from PDFs to MP3s.

Despite this, there can be hiccups when it comes to less common file types. Stick with us to learn more about this.

How to Open Unsupported File Types in Google Drive

These three (3) solutions will help you overcome compatibility hurdles and make the most out of your Google Drive experience.

Method 1. Download and Open Locally

When you come across an unsupported file type in Google Drive, one of the simplest ways to access its contents is by downloading it to your computer and opening it using compatible software.

Here’s how you can do it:

  • Locate the file: Open Google Drive and navigate to the folder storing the unsupported file.

  • Select the file: Check the box beside the file or right-click on it to bring up the options menu.

  • Download the file: Click on the “Download” option in the menu. Google Drive will begin downloading the file to your computer’s default downloads folder.

  • Find the file on your computer: Once the download is complete, open the file explorer on your computer and locate the downloaded file.

  • Open with compatible software: Right-click on the file, select “Open with,” and choose a compatible application or software that supports the file type. For example, you can use VLC Media Player or Windows Media Player if you’re trying to open a video file.

Using this method, you can easily bypass the unsupported file type limitation and access the content of the file on your local machine.

Method 2. Use a Compatible App or Extension

Google Drive offers a wide range of compatible apps and extensions that can help you overcome the limitations of unsupported file types.

Follow these steps to utilize this method effectively:

  • Install the required app or extension: Open the Chrome Web Store and search for an app or extension that is capable of opening the unsupported file type. For example, if you have a file in Adobe Illustrator format (.ai), you can search for an Illustrator viewer or converter app.

  • Add the app or extension to Chrome: Once you find a suitable app or extension, click on the “Add to Chrome” button to install it.

  • Open the file with the app or extension: Go back to Google Drive, find the unsupported file, right-click on it, and select “Open with.” Choose the newly installed app or extension from the list.

  • Follow the prompts: The app or extension will guide you through the process of opening and viewing the file. It may also provide options for converting the file to a more widely supported format.

Using compatible apps or extensions can significantly enhance your ability to open and work with unsupported file types directly within Google Drive, saving you the hassle of downloading and opening files locally.

Method 3: Convert the File to a Supported Format

If you frequently encounter unsupported file types in Google Drive, converting them to a supported format is a reliable solution.

Here’s how you can convert the file:

  • Locate the file: Find the unsupported file in Google Drive.

  • Right-click and select “Open with”: Choose the “Open with” option from the menu and select a compatible Google Workspace application, such as Google Docs, Sheets, or Slides, depending on the file type.

  • Convert the file: After the file is opened in the selected Google Workspace application, go to the “File” menu and choose the “Save as” or “Download as” option. Select a supported file format for the conversion. For example, you can convert a Google Docs to a Microsoft Word (.docx) format or a PDF (.pdf) format.

  • Save the converted file: Once you’ve selected the desired format, click “Save” or “Download” to save the converted file to your Google Drive.

By converting the unsupported file to a compatible format using Google Workspace applications, you can ensure that you can open and edit the file directly within Google Drive without any compatibility issues.


Encountering unsupported file types in Google Drive can be frustrating, but with the right methods, you can overcome this challenge and gain access to the content of these files.

You can read about our related posts on how Google Drive handles .mov files and how it opens ZIP files.

Choose the method that suits your needs and preferences, and never let unsupported file types hinder your productivity and workflow within Google Drive.

With these solutions, you can maximize your cloud storage experience and enjoy seamless file management.

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