September 8, 2021
February 1, 2022
This article describes the removal of the Google Docs Importer for all Zendesk customers and covers the following topics:
What does this mean?
Effective February 1, 2022, Zendesk will no longer provide the ability to Import Google Docs into the Guide knowledge base.
Why is Zendesk removing this?
Over the past few years, we have monitored overall usage and feedback related to this feature, and we are removing this functionality as a result.
Our original intent was to help customers import articles into their knowledge base. The formatting of Google Docs content is often difficult to maintain on import. Google Docs uses a proprietary format that does not translate well to HTML, which is the base format for help center articles. This can cause issues with tables, lists, drawings, comments and other types of objects – requiring the author of the imported article to reapply styling and fix broken links or images. Ultimately, this has left customers frustrated, which does not align with the experience Zendesk ultimately strives to provide for you. We have also found that very few customers are regularly using this feature as a result.
For these reasons, Zendesk recommends customers consider the alternatives listed below.
What are the alternatives?
There are a few alternative ways to import the content to your Guide knowledge base.
- If you are in the early stage of onboarding to Zendesk, we recommend exploring the Help Desk Migration App, (see Listing on Zendesk Marketplace) or enlisting Zendesk Professional Services. Both options are paid, and can provide you with comprehensive migration capabilities beyond just knowledge base articles. This includes things like tickets, users, custom fields etc.
- Another (free) option is an old fashioned copy and paste. This is suitable for cases when you need to bring small amounts of content into the knowledge base. Copy and paste has some advantages compared to the Google Docs Importer. It will not create a new article every time as the importer does today. It will also not break links and formatting is usually better-preserved.
- In partnership with a developer, you can also build your own custom importer based on the Guide article API (see Migrating existing content to your help center, Guide API - Create Article). This can be tailored to your particular needs.
Who is affected by the change?
Google Docs Importer is currently available only for customers who joined Zendesk before April 20, 2021, and will be completely removed from all help centers effective February 1, 2022.
We’re offering an extension for the Google Docs Importer while we complete enhancements to the Guide article editor. Only customers with access to the Google Docs Importer before April 20, 2021 are eligible for the extension. You must sign up using this form by February 1, 2022.
You're removing the only manual document uploader and don't have any great alternatives?
One of the difficulties we have is non-Zendesk users writing articles and we try to upload them, google docs upload as you stated is poor, why not create a better alternative?
We need a template for our non-Zendesk users to write content which can easily be uploaded to Guide, how can we do this please?
Please stop making your product worse at every turn.
Ya'll keep stripping away features that were pivotal to our decision to pay for your product. This is yet another TERRIBLE decision!
This is a regularly used feature for us, and it's removal will SUBSTANTIALLY add to our workload.
Why do you keep shooting your customers in the foot?
Each time you kill another feature that we use regularly, I wonder if your decision makers do more than "monitor overall usage" before making these decisions. Such as you know, talking to your clients, and asking if a tool that does 90% of the work is better than no tool at all.
But I suppose you did offer a workaround: Pay you more money! That is not a workaround!
@..., does Zendesk listen to the feedback provided on these announcements, or are we just wailing into the wind?
No!! This makes me so sad. We are trying to take on a KCS model at our company (like ZD suggests) and Google Docs was the only way for someone to create an article and then have a proper SME make suggestions and edits. ZD Guide doesn't have inline comments so it's impossible to start discussions among multiple SMEs to ensure the information is correct. Once the doc was reviewed properly then we could easily upload it to ZD. Copy-paste doesn't work for images from a Google Doc... only the importer worked.
Google Docs also has suggestions for edits, which ZD Guide does not have. Again, very important during the review process.
I know you have Knowledge Capture but it is not good enough for a software company that needs to ensure documentation is fully DISCUSSED and reviewed by the right people. No offense to anyone that is doing so but we aren't selling shoes and we need to supply our customers with thoroughly vetted software documentation.
Everyone at our company has access to Google Docs, we can't give everyone access to ZD and then teach them how to put in a ticket just to create an article... because the only way you can access a template for Guide is via the Knowledge Capture app from a ticket!
I'm a huge proponent for ZD at our company but this is not making my point easier to transition from RoboHelp. Yeah, maybe the importer wasn't the greatest, but it was better than saving and uploading each image one at time to an article...
Gotta say "This is yet another TERRIBLE decision!" is spot on. The Google docs imported worked pretty good for me and was a chief selling point for Zendesk. I could have the team comment on the Google doc, provide suggestions, even create theoir own as a Google Doc and then simply import it into Zendesk.
We left Salesforce for our support articles and went to Zendesk because of it was much easier to develop articles using Google Docs and then import them into Zendesk.
It seems like another way for Zendesk to sell licenses, because now if the Team wants to be involved in Support Article creation, they have to have an Agent license.
This change will definitely be factored into our decision to contiunue with Zendesk. There are options you know!
PLEASE DON'T REMOVE!!!! It works great!!!!!
Most people use word processors to create the documentation so they can be edited by multiple authors using SharePoint or similar collaboration software, and Google Doc importer was the best way to convert these.
It works MUCH better now than it did 2-3 years ago and unlike copy and paste, which wont support multiple images at once, it does an excellent job of getting text and images into an article all at once. Otherwise you have to add all the images into an article and take them OUT of the source document first. If the styling gets messed up, just use TIDY HTML to clean it up, this is so much faster than other available methods, without the importer I'd be spending so much more time on content. Keep it as an option please!!!!
I hadn't used it because I didn't know it existed, but something like that would have been amazing for our company instead of unpublished articles and emails flying back and forth. I'd love for the importing of a document to remain.
So long! We have been using you guys for years but we will be looking to move to another platform after this idiotic decision.
First off, thank you all for taking the time to share your feedback and concerns with us. We hear this is a frustrating experience for those of you who depend on this feature.
We made this decision because the existing Google docs importer has not provided the best experience when it comes to formatting and styling of the imported articles.
We have heard a lot of complaints from customers because Guide articles cannot support all the formatting and styling elements that can be included in Google docs. Imported articles end up looking different from the original Google doc and different from articles created directly in Guide, and there’s no easy way to correct that.
While we hear you, that to some of you an unsatisfactory doc importer is better than no doc importer, keeping features around has overhead in and of itself, particularly features that rely on 3rd party APIs and formats. Keeping up with the Google docs format will require considerable resources.
Instead, we believe we can best serve our customers by focusing on maintaining and improving other features such as improving the article editor and workflow features for collaboration.
It’s always a tough decision to remove a feature that some customers rely on, and this wasn’t something we decided overnight.
At the same time, by not making difficult decisions such as this one it becomes costly to every customer as it inevitably slows down the pace of development and innovation of the entire product.
With limited engineering resources, we need to make sure our time and effort are put toward what we believe will benefit customers the most.
As alternative solutions come up for addressing this new limitation, we will be sure to update this article and share any resources we come across.
Thanks again and do know we appreciate your feedback.
Uhh, try 100% of the comments. There's literally ZERO support here for this decision.
This appears to be a a GOOD thing, as your "innovation" includes constantly removing functionality that were significant factors in our decisions to pay for your product.
When this functionality goes, with it goes one of the big selling points, one of the main reasons that we (along with others as noted above) decided to pay for Zendesk. It looks more & more like it may be time to look for a new solution.
Oh! And saying that you "appreciate our feedback" while completely discounting it lacks.... self awareness.
This is one of the key features we use with guide. Please do not remove it without a reasonable alternative.
DON'T NERF THE G.DOCS IMPORT!!!!
We are also software firm and have constant article revisions for every sprint, update and release. When I suggested to the team that we compose and manage the process for updating all documentation using your WYSIWYG editor it SEEMED reasonable to me since for the past 2 years as a one man show I was the only one creating content, but now we have teams all contributing to articles - and considering the fact that the multiple engineers and developers that contribute to help write the support content are conditioned to do drafts, revisions, collaboration, tracking, edits, ALL using a word processor and some version of a collaboration tools to ask and answer questions back and forth and team edit, ZD need something that at least tries to support this workflow. You can't do that with the Zendesk HTML editor. You CAN with Google Docs. Even though I still have to normalize all the Google Doc imports using the source code feature and TIDY HTML to remove wonky fonts and standardize formatting (and add borders around the images), this effort is TRIVIAL compared to having to import images one by one in between text since cut and paste does not support multiple images. It might take me 5 minutes to fix an imported Google Doc article but to do it from cut and paste I might as well have to write it over - in German - backwards.
Take a customer survey - but ask would you rather have it? Or have nothing?! Or listen a bit more to these comments ...
I just wanted to chime in and say that my team is taking this feedback seriously. I am circling back with them to determine our best path forward and what options we can realistically provide to those of you who are depending on this feature in your workflow.
I've personally worked with many customers who have been bitten by the poor formatting provided by Google Docs and the hours and hours of rework they've had to perform to get things back in shape after using it. This is particularly daunting for folks who aren't savvy with HTML or CSS formatting. That being said, it's clear to me there are benefits for those of you who are able to work around these limitations.
I will have an update for all of you within a week or two. Additionally, I intend to share more of our roadmap related to upgrading the overall editing experience. This includes better copy & paste support Google Docs & Microsoft Word, better image management, collaboration support, etc. As stated above, there is no immediate removal of the functionality planned. Your feedback during this process is helping us get to a better solution for everyone involved.
Thanks for taking this feedback seriously instead of writing us off - that's much appreciated. I look forward to seeing the roadmap! I live in guide every day for work and it's always exciting to see how my processes can be refined and improved based on new features coming out. Thanks again.
That is truly phenomenal news.
I cannot express how much relief your comment has elicited from our team. Looking forward to your future updates!
As promised, I wanted to give you all an update and a little more insight into our roadmap so you know where we’re headed with Guide and how we want to make it easier to work with articles.
We’ve been spending the last 3 months reviewing options for an improved rich text editor to power our article editing experience. We’ve evaluated a number of different options on the market like Slate, Tiny and CKEditor. Our goal is to bring a richer and better editing experience to our customers. Part of this will be better support for copy & paste from sources like Google Docs and Microsoft Word. Formatting will work better and images can be uploaded automatically when they’re pasted. This upgrade will also give us a path toward better collaboration between article authors and inline commenting. In short, we’ll be upgrading our current article editor during the rest of 2021 and into 2022. We’re starting this upgrade work already now.This should make working with articles and getting content from Microsoft Word and Google Docs easier and less error prone.
On top of that, you may have heard a bit about the current Content Blocks EAP. The underlying architectural shift tied to this feature is all about making parts of articles reusable. This will include better management of images as well. We are working toward creating a central image gallery where you can access images uploaded to your account and manage placing them into multiple articles. The goal here is to make image management in Guide much simpler.
Additionally, we’re currently working on better import and export for various content types in Zendesk. From users to tickets, we want to make it easier to get data into and out of Zendesk. As part of this we’ll be adding a CSV based article import to work with more services than just Google Docs.
All of this will take some time, but we have multiple teams dedicated to these improvements. I appreciate your feedback in this thread and we’ll announce these improvements as we release them. For folks in this thread who are relying on the Google Docs Importer, we’ll be reaching out to you directly with additional information.
Excellent news! Thanks a lot, @... and Team. I'd like to be included in further updates about this topic too.
Thanks Ryan! Some very exciting updates coming indeed - looking forward to it!
That insight is nice to have. HOWEVER, a roadmap telling us about what will or will not be release sometime next year has no bearing whatsoever on the fact that you did not address the fact that you are killing the Google Docs Importer.
All you did was give more details about the existing plan to kill the importer. Unless you are trying to say that the copy & paste will be so flawless that one will be able to lift & drop an entire Google Doc via copy & paste directly into an article just as cleanly as the current importer works? Is that you are telling us?
That's correct, we expect the copy & paste experience to be improved beyond what we can provide today with the Google Docs Importer with respect to text and image formatting. Additionally, the CSV export should expand import abilities beyond just usage with the Google Docs Importer.
As mentioned, we'll be in touch directly with customers in this thread (yourself included) on next steps for customers that are relying on this functionality. We still planning to moving ahead with removing it for the remainder of our customers due the limitations mentioned previously in the announcement and the rest of the comments in this thread.
Hello. Have been using Google Doc importer for workflow outside of zendesk for years, and while I knew it was going away, I was still planning to use now and did considerable amount of work on articles for 3 brands. Was surprised when after months of work, I wasn't able to import them today on these brands, but could on others. Re-reading the release I saw it was for centers created after 4/20, which is not ideal. Copy and Pasting isn't a great alternative, bottom line help! I reached out to tech manager as well, really need this turned on for brands if at all possible. I will go in a different direction in the future, but for things in flight this is tough.
One request im sure others will chime in on
Thanks for your update, but your comments give no certainty, instead it just says what ZenDesk hopes it will achieve. ie
- "This should make working with articles and getting content from Microsoft Word and Google Docs easier and less error prone. "
- "The goal here is to make image management in Guide much simpler. "
While I am sure you are HOPING to achieve this, but until you do, why do you want to depreciate the import functionality until it ACTUALLY works?
You can now sign up for an extension of the Google Docs Importer. Please use this sign up from.
Only customers with access to the Google Docs Importer before April 20, 2021 are eligible for the extension. You must sign up by February 1, 2022.
Hello Tetiana Gron
Sorry, I'm late to the party but is there any way we can sign up for the extension?
I'm also super tardy, but we could really use access to this importer. Could you let us in, please?
As you say, maybe a function not regularly used but sourly needed in times. Possible to let us laters in? Please.
I am sorry to say that we are no longer accepting requests for the access extension.
I agree here. I never used the old importer as i am newer to Zendesk, but we are in the process of updating our whole help center, and images not copying over from the Google Doc is a huge issue for us.
As others have said, we have to use Google Docs for the writing and review process as Zendesk does not meet these needs in itself, but not being able to reliably paste these over or import them another way is creating a huge amount of extra work.
Massively disappointing that something as ubiquitous as a doc import has been sunsetted and the only extension was time-locked.
As our company scales, we have found a need to collaboratively create help center content outside of Zendesk and easily import it. As we see across this thread, that is an extremely common circumstance for Zendesk customers. Copy/paste doesn't bring over images, and now the only alternative is to pay for third-party tools to do something that is bafflingly no longer included.
Copy and paste is not an option for me as we have many documents that need to be imported from our shared drive. My team needs another option to create our guide. Please advise...
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