How to Open Unsupported Files on Google Drive

The unsupported file type error is one of the most common Google Drive problems that you may come across. While it is quite annoying and seems like you can do nothing to fix it, there are a few workarounds that you can follow to get rid of it.

In this article, we are going to discuss this Google Drive unsupported files error and will share a few tips that you can follow to fix it.

So, without any further ado, let’s get started –

How to Open Unsupported Files on Google Drive

Before proceeding further with the solution, you have to understand why this problem occurs in the first place. Below we have shared everything about this error in detail.

Why do these unsupported file errors occur in Google Drive?

As the error message says, this error often occurs when you try to open a file type that is not supported by Google Drive.

As a cloud storage solution, Google Drive doesn’t restrict you from uploading or storing any file to your Google Drive storage. This means you can upload whatever you want to regardless of the file format of that file.

However, that is not the case with file preview. Google Drive houses a limited set of tools that let you preview files from a wide range of formats.

If the file that you are trying to open is not supported by Google Drive for preview, you will not be able to preview it in the Google Drive app or Google Drive web application.

Read How to Save Multiple Photos from Google Drive to iPhone

What are the file types supported by Google Drive for in-app preview?

Google Drive supports a wide range of file types and formats for in-app preview. Below we have shared the file types and formats that you can easily open in the Google Drive app –

  • Archives – .RAR, .TAR, .GZip, .Zip
  • Image Files – .JPEG, .PNG, .GIF, .BMP, .SVG, .TIFF
  • Audio Files – .MP3, .MPEG, .ogg, .WAV, .opus
  • Markups and Codes – .PHP, .CSS, .C, .HTML, .CPP, .HPP, .py, .java, .JS, .H
  • Text Files – .TXT
  • Video Files – .MPEG4, .MP4, .WebM, .3GPP, .AVI, .MOV, .WMV, .MPEGPS, .FLV, .ogg
  • Microsoft Files – .XLS, .XLSX, .DOC, .DOCX, .XPS, .PPT, .PPTX
  • Adobe Files – .TIFF, .TTF, .DXF, .AI, .PSD, .PS, .SVG, .PDF
  • Apple Files – .key, .number

These are the file formats that Google Drive supports for in-app preview. If the file you are trying to open doesn’t have the file format mentioned above, you can follow the solution that we have shared below.

Read How to Upload a Video to Google Drive from iPhone

What is the practical solution?

The only way to open such files in Google Drive in-app preview mode is by converting them to a file format that Google Drive supports for preview purposes.

If you cannot convert these files for some reason, you can download these files to your smartphone or computer’s local storage and then try to open these files with the help of appropriate software.

Read How to Delete Files from Google Drive on Mac

Other Solutions to Open Unsupported Files on Google Drive

But what if the file you are trying to open matches one of the file formats mentioned in the above-shared list? In such situations, you can give a try the below-shared workarounds –

1. Check for browser related issues

One of the most common reasons such errors may occur in Google Drive is because of your web browser. There are a few things that you can check to identify if this problem is occurring due to a browser-related issue – 

  • Outdated Browser– If you are using an outdated web browser, this type of error may occur from time to time. The best way to fix these errors is by updating your web browser to the latest version.
  • Your browser has some cache-related issues– Cache memory has some really great benefits. For example, it helps you by loading your frequently visited web pages faster, stores programs that can be executed within a short period, and most importantly, stores data for temporary use, meaning it puts little to no burden on your CPU resources.

However, this cache memory sometimes causes browser-related issues that prevent pages from loading properly. In such situations, clearing your browser’s cache memory can fix the issue.

Now even though clearing cache memory is not a difficult task, we recommend you identify whether this problem is actually occurring due to cache memory or not.

The easiest way to check that is by opening the file in incognito mode. If it opens properly, you need to clear your cache. Otherwise, follow the next method.

Here is how you can clear your browser’s cache memory –

  • Open your web browser.
  • Tap on the three dots in the top-right corner and go to More Tools.
  • Now, click on Clear Browsing Data.
  • In the next window, keep the Cache or Cached images and files option checked.
How to Open Unsupported Files on Google Drive
Open Unsupported Files on Google Drive
  • Click on the Clear Data button.

Doing this will clear your cache memory and most probably fix cache-related issues.

Read How to Move Multiple Files in Google Drive

2. Extensions

Using third-party extensions and browser add-ons may cause such problems sometimes. To identify if your browser is causing such trouble, simply disable all extensions or add-ons and then try to open that file.

Open Unsupported Files on Google Drive
Open Unsupported Files on Google Drive

If the file loads properly, you have to enable extensions one by one to see which extension is triggering the issue.

3. You have a slow internet connection

In very rare cases, you may face this issue due to a poor internet connection. An unstable internet connection makes it quite difficult to load web pages properly.

As a result, you get such errors. If that is the case, we recommend you open the file with a stable and fast internet connection to avoid such issues.

Read How to Embed PDFs from Google Drive


How do I convert an unsupported file to a supported one?

You can use third-party tools and software to convert files that are unsupported by Google Drive’s Doc viewer. There are plenty of third-party Google Drive add-ons that you can use to convert your files to a supported file format.

Why does my Gmail keep saying unsupported file type?

Due to some security features, Gmail doesn’t let you attach a few file formats. This is just to protect your computer and account. However, if you are sure that the file that you are sending or receiving is safe, you can upload it to Google Drive and share the Google Drive links.

Read How to List Files in a Folder and Subfolder on Google Drive

Closing Comments

There you have it – a detailed article on how to open unsupported files on Google Drive.

Google Drive is without a doubt one of the best cloud storage platforms, but it has some limitations. One of such limitations of Google Drive is that it doesn’t support a wide range of file formats for in-app preview. However, that doesn’t mean you cannot open these files in Google Docs Viewer.

The aforementioned guides can help you with opening unsupported files on Google Drive. However, keep in mind that if the file that you are trying to open has the file format that Google Drive doesn’t support for preview, you have to convert them. That is the only possible way to open those files.

You may like the following google drive articles: