With loads of features, Microsoft word has overcome Notepad and has become a hot favorite of many. But, with more and more competition, many new apps have come up with different word-processing capabilities. One such competitor is Google Docs.
In this article, we would compare Google Docs and MS Word for you and would bring to light the differences between the two.
Use Google Docs or Microsoft Word? Which is better?
Both MS Word and Google Docs have been by far the top competitors for becoming the best word processor. MS Word has been widely used by schools, colleges, and various institutions.
But with advancements in technology and change in interests of people, Google Docs has started making its place with many users shifting their interest from MS Word to Google Docs.
Besides both these look similar, there are many differences between the two. In this article, we will point out the differences between the two options so as to choose the best option for you.
Let’s have a look at the differences between the two to find out which one is better.
The first and foremost thing that comes to one’s mind is the cost i.e. how much money the user would have to shell out for the word processor?
A very easy answer to this question is that Google Docs does not cost you anything. It is absolutely FREE to use. All a person will need is a Google account.
MS Word, however, is a part of the Office Suite. The cost of the suite will depend on how you will subscribe to it. It will either be a monthly or yearly subscription.
The need for Internet Connection
Another very simple difference between the two is the requirement for an internet connection.
MS Word’s standalone version does not require an internet connection for its proper work. So, it is of great help even when your internet connection is down or not even working.
On the contrary, Google Docs will not work if one’s internet connection is down. It requires a proper internet connection in order to work properly. But, we could still opt for the offline mode. For that, we need to sync our files from time to time.
For people who work on files/documents in groups need to share them amongst themselves.
With MS Word, users can collaborate with each other in Office 365. However, to make collaboration possible, all users who require the file will have to have their own copies of Office installed at their respective places.
However, everyone has a web browser installed in their systems and Google Docs need only a browser to work in. This is why Google Docs has an edge over MS Word here. Users only need to open the browser, then open Google Docs and simply access the shared files.
As the documents in Google Docs are stored on the cloud, many users do not find it much secure. Many users do not intend to keep their important documents on the cloud as they feel the data might be accessed by unwanted persons too.
But, with MS Word all data is locally stored, leading to much more secure data.
Auto Saving Data
Google Docs has this amazing feature of auto-saving your data continuously as you are working on it. Hence, a user need not worry to save his data every few minutes by pressing any buttons.
In addition to auto-saving, Google also backs up your work in Google Drive so you get double protection for the data you have in Google Docs.
MS Word does not provide this feature. Users need to save their data by pressing the Save button or Ctrl + S again and again in order to save their data.
But, MS Word has a data recovery system where it saves data automatically after a certain number of minutes specified in the settings. Hence, enabling autosave is useful only to a certain extent only because most of the time users tend to lose their data if any problem surfaces in between the time gap of autosave here.
Google Docs provides you with very basic word-processing features. So if a user wants a very basic document then he/she would be content with Google Docs.
But, if a user needs more word processing capabilities, then he would rather opt for MS Word as it has always been the master of all word processors undoubtedly.
MS Word allows us to choose from the various templates present in it. But, in addition to the pre-installed templates, users can even create templates of their own.
On the contrary, in Google Docs users can choose from different templates it provides. But, users will require GSuite in order to get the ability to make and save their own templates.
MS Word offers a lot of features in its ribbons as well as its toolbars. But if the user does not have much knowledge of these features then it would be difficult for him to efficiently make use of these functions.
In comparison, Google Docs gives its users all the basic features of a word processor in a very simple and easy-to-use layout. This makes it easier for any novice user too to easily understand and make use of these features. Hence, this makes Google Docs a more user-friendly interface to work in.
Customization of Toolbars
MS Word offers a customization option where users can place the most commonly used buttons on the quick access toolbar. With this, the users will not have to search for these functions again and again in the ribbons.
But in comparison, Google Docs does not allow customization of its toolbars. It places the most frequently used buttons on the easy-access toolbar. This enables users to easily use features they often make use of.
Both MS Word and Google Docs are compatible with most file formats.
MS Word lets users export documents with extensions docx, pdf, or odt. And Google Docs helps users work with files having extensions like pdf, odt, HTML, RTF, and epub.
Some facts to be noted are:
- MS Word does not open a Google Docs file directly. We need to convert the file first in order to open it in MS Word.
- Users can open, edit and save PDFs in MS Word. But this facility is absent in Google Docs.
If you are working as a group on a certain document that you share amongst a group of persons then:
MS Word has no ability to keep a track of who has made changes to the document or when the changes to the document last made was. The user has to keep a close watch so as to avoid skipping any changes made to the document.
On the other hand, Google Docs has a facility to share the document amongst a team of persons. It also keeps a record of all the changes made to the document by the users.
It even tells us what changes are made to the document and by whom the changes were made. It also shows us the time at which the changes were made to the document.
We can check all the records and work on the same document at the same time leading to real-time editing.
Ease of use on Mobiles
MS Word’s mobile app is not Microsoft’s core business. The mobile version of MS Word is not as robust as the application is offline. However, users can make use of Office Suite 365 to enhance its functioning online.
While Google Docs is a web-based program, so it can be used on mobile phones easily and users can edit and share documents on the go too. Hence, Google Docs is stronger on the web and mobile as compared to MS Word.
The Final Verdict
For the past many years, Microsoft Word has been the hot favorite and standard for word processors across the globe. But, with new word processors like Google Docs coming to the front, it seems like MS Word surely has tough competition ahead.
Although Google Docs offers many new and interesting features (in addition to being FREE), it still has to go a long way.