I recently discovered another use for Gmail’s ‘convert to html’ feature.

For those of you who weren’t aware, Word and PDF files that you receive in Gmail can be opened in-browser as html files. What this means for you and me is a simple way to open some of these common file-types without needing to download the file and fire up the correct program - simply click ‘Open as HTML’ and you’ve got your file, ready to read in seconds using Google’s conversion.

I was reading Lifehacker’s article on this very feature - Travel tip: Use Gmail as a file viewer, and was reminded of a discovery I made a few weeks back. My ma asked me to recover a seemingly corrupted file for my sister. Their PC wouldn’t open the Word document (an all too common experience) and I was unable to offer much help over the phone. I asked her to send it to me (via my Gmail account) so I might try it on my own computer. When it arrived I remembered the ‘convert to html’ feature and gave it a shot, thinking it couldn’t hurt to try. To my surprise, it worked! Gmail opened the file with no issues.

I tried to open it on my Mac, and it worked - so the story isn’t so amazing - and I’ve since tried other files that haven’t opened.

But you’ve nothing to lose if you have a file that really need to open (and if you haven’t a Mac handy) give Gmail a try - another tool in my file rescue kit!

Oh, and if you want a Gmail account, you can sign up from a text message sent to your mobile - apparently even in Australia now. Or leave a comment and I can hook you up! Check out why Gmail has developed such a huge fan-base.