In the past few years, Google Docs and Microsoft Word have been battling to be the best word processor. Most users have been using Word for years to write everything from essays to resumes or essential word documents. That’s starting to shift now since the emergence of Google Docs web-based platform for editing & sharing documents in this digital age.
Google Docs has a long way to go before matching all of Word’s features. This is because Microsoft has been building its word processor for more than 30 years. Will Google Docs emerge as a winner with its low-barrier to entry & cross-platform functionality.
Let’s draw a comparison in terms of features & capabilities to decide which best suits your needs.
Interface comparison: Google Docs vs. Microsoft Word
As much as rich Word is in terms of features, it is also complicated for its user interface. This is because of many in-build tools & options; finding the right one in Word can be relatively confusing for beginners. On the other hand, Google Docs is user-friendly but comes with limited options.
You can find everything in a basic text editor in the Word UI except some standard text formatting tools and some additional elements like rulers, page numbers, tables, and footnotes. Simple UI is better for beginners to grasp learning. If you require simple tools to make a more straightforward accessible document, Google Docs is your savior.
File compatibility: Google Docs vs. Microsoft Word
Both Docs and Word are compatible with the most prevalent used word processing formats such as PDF, rich text, and Word; however, Word can import its files more speedily, and it is much better at exhibiting intricate file-formats consistent across different programs of the Microsoft family.
Files in Google Docs can be downloaded in the same formats like Word documents, but they exceed at instantly publishing documents as web pages. Microsoft Word has significant limitations on doing the same, as it can lose several editing elements like formatting and layout in translation.
Sharing options: Google Docs vs. Microsoft Word
Word involves markup and editing tools for editing and sharing among teams, and the latest Office 365 versions of the program enable web-based sharing and editing. However, it is slightly cumbersome, and users unknown to it may find it confusing.
While creating documents rapidly that can be shared with Google Drive and be almost promptly distributed globally, Google docs have an advantage. Google Docs can easily control who can comment, edit, and access the document in the first place.
On the other hand, Word documents can be shared with only specific contacts. Moreover, while Word has features like comments for collaboration and Track Changes, the Google Docs timeline enables users to compare any document changes with the old version to know who made them and when.
The platform, add-on, & accessibility options: Google Docs vs. Microsoft Word
As a web-based service, Google Docs is available on any desktop platform with the latest browser. That includes macOS, Linux, Windows, Chrome OS, and even mobile platforms in compatibility mode. Mobile apps for Google Docs are available on iOS and Android; however, not for Blackberry and Windows Phone. A web connection is needed on the desktop unless you use the Browser app/Chrome OS, and a Google account is essential to log in.
All saves on a Google Doc are not just naturally uploaded to the cloud, but a separate file is made every time a change is made. Microsoft allows users to edit, sync, and open Word documents online, but that will need you to possess a Microsoft 365 subscription or set up OneDrive backup with Microsoft Office 2019 files.
Cost comparison options: Google Docs vs. Microsoft Word
Google Docs is free in every circumstance. A business version of Google Apps is available starting at $5/user/month, but most individual users won’t need its admin controls or live support.
A standard, independent version of MS Office is available for the 1-time purchase of $149.99, which allows you to download it only on one computer. MS Office 365 includes online & offline versions of Word, starts at $5 a month. A free copy might be available for you based on your work or school; however, most users have to pay at least something for Word.
Word with MS Office 365 is the superior option for users who need significant storage space for their documents. But if a lot of storage space is not required, users will prefer Google Docs with its 15 GB of storage space. Whereas Windows OneNote offers users a more light-weight platform, with only 7GB of storage space. You should expect much less offline functionality with OneNote and Google Docs than MS Office 365.
The Bottom Line: Which one is the best for you?
This is simple. You’ll want to use Word if you are familiar with it already or rely on any of Word’s advanced features. Whereas you can also use Google Docs at home & Word at work, it’s not always a smooth experience & can cause compatibility issues.
Google Docs is your safest option if you don’t prefer spending money and require minimum storage space. The best part is that you can collaborate with your mates on one screen if you are a student since different users can use it at various locations. Screen sharing and writing all the work in one document is a great feature and a boon for working on the same project.
Both have their if and buts; you can always switch between them if you are familiar with both the Word processors as per your requirements. Google Docs is the latest and upcoming word processor, but MS Office has been there for years, hence the more advanced features and processing. However, Google Docs is catching up slowly, and it can take a few years before it completely matches Word’s functionality
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