Must you use Microsoft Phrase or Google Docs?

For the previous few many years, Microsoft Phrase has been the de facto customary for phrase processors throughout the working world. That’s lastly beginning to shift, and it seems like one among Google’s productiveness apps is the inheritor obvious. The corporate’s Google Docs answer (or to be particular, the built-in phrase processor) is cross-platform and interoperable, routinely syncs, is definitely shareable, and maybe better of all, is free.

Nonetheless, Google Docs nonetheless has a protracted strategy to go earlier than it could actually match all of Phrase’s options — Microsoft has been growing its phrase processor for over 30 years, in any case. Will Google Docs’ low barrier to entry and cross-platform performance win out? Let’s break down every phrase processor by way of options and capabilities that will help you decide which is finest to your wants.

How does every phrase processing program evaluate?

To place it calmly, Microsoft Phrase has an unbelievable benefit over Google Docs by way of uncooked technical functionality. From comparatively humble beginnings within the Eighties, Microsoft has added new instruments and choices in every successive model. Many of the important enhancing instruments can be found in Google Docs, however customers who’re used to Phrase will discover it restricted.

From the first placement of pictures to superior methods like macros and mail merge, Phrase is the breakaway winner for extra technical writing. Phrase’s superior options additionally embrace higher incorporation of pictures and graphics, extra distinctive choices over textual content types, simple addition of footnotes and citations, and higher desk controls and codecs.

Interface comparability

The same thing that makes Word excel in terms of features also makes it complicated when it comes to the user interface. Thanks to hundreds of built-in tools and options, finding the right one in Word can be somewhat confusing for novice users. Google Docs, on the other hand, is comparatively simple to pick up but more limited in terms of options.

Beyond the standard text formatting tools and a few extras like tables, rulers, page numbers, and footnotes, there isn’t much to the Word UI that you won’t find in a basic text editor. For user learning and ease of use, simpler is better. Microsoft has attempted to streamline Word’s UI in recent years, but it can be somewhat unwieldy. If you need simple tools to create an easily accessible document, Google Docs has you covered.

Screenshot showing Google Docs interface.

File compatibility

While both Word and Docs are compatible with the most commonly used word processing formats like Word, PDF, and rich text, Word can import its files much more quickly and is much better at displaying complex file formats consistently across different programs of the Microsoft family.

Desktop screenshot showing Microsoft Word Save As menu and its various file format options.
Daniel Martin/Screenshot

Google Docs files can be downloaded in some of the same formats as Word documents, but they excel at immediately publishing documents as webpages. Microsoft Word has notable limitations on doing the identical, as many enhancing components like structure and formatting could be misplaced in translation.

Google Docs screenshot showing Download menu which displays various file format options.
Daniel Martin/Screenshot

Sharing choices

Phrase consists of enhancing and markup instruments for sharing and enhancing amongst groups, and the latter Workplace/Microsoft 365 variations of this system do permit for web-based enhancing and sharing. It’s a bit unwieldy, nevertheless, and customers international to it could discover it complicated.

When shortly creating paperwork that may be shared with Google Drive and be nearly immediately distributed worldwide if want be, Google Docs has traditionally had the sting. Google Docs customers have been capable of simply management who can edit, remark, or have the ability to entry the doc within the first place, whereas Phrase paperwork may solely be shared with particular contacts. However now, Phrase has appeared to have caught as much as Docs on this regard. In truth, if Google Docs customers had been to pick the Share button in Phrase, they’d see sharing choices that now look similar to what Docs provides, together with the power to repeat a hyperlink to the doc.

Additionally, whereas Phrase has options like Observe Adjustments and feedback for collaboration, the Google Docs Model Historical past characteristic permits customers to check any doc modifications with outdated variations and know who made them and when.

Google Docs sharing options screenshot.

Platform, add-on, and accessibility choices

As a web-based service, Google Docs is out there on any desktop platform with a contemporary browser. That features Home windows, MacOS, Linux, Chrome OS, and (in some instances) even cell platforms operating in compatibility mode. Apps for Google Docs can be found for Android and iOS. An Web connection is required on the desktop until you’ve beforehand enabled your Google Drive files to be available offline on your Chromebook. You’ll additionally want a Google account to log in and create paperwork on Google Docs.

Microsoft Phrase and Google Docs will also be augmented with add-on instruments from third-party builders. Microsoft Phrase (as a subset of Workplace or Microsoft 365) is out there for Home windows and MacOS. Free Phrase purchasers are additionally accessible for Android and iOS, and Microsoft 365 is out there on the net for contemporary browsers.

All saves on a Google Doc should not solely routinely uploaded to the cloud, however a separate file is created every time a change is made. Microsoft does permit customers to sync, edit, and open Phrase paperwork on-line, however that can require you to both arrange OneDrive backup with Microsoft Workplace 2019 information or possess a Microsoft 365 subscription.

Price comparability choices

Google Docs is mostly free to entry and use for people and private use. However a enterprise model of Google’s productiveness apps suite (Google Workspace) is out there beginning at $6 per consumer per thirty days, however most particular person customers gained’t want its administrator controls or stay assist.

An ordinary, stand-alone model of Microsoft Workplace is out there for a one-time buy of $150, which allows you to set up it on one laptop solely. Microsoft 365 Private which requires a subscription of $7 per thirty days or $70 per 12 months, is for one particular person however can be utilized on “as much as 5 units concurrently.” Relying in your work or college, a free copy could also be accessible to you, however most customers must pay a minimum of one thing for Phrase.

Phrase included in Microsoft 365 will present probably the most cupboard space, so if you happen to’re working with massive information, you’ll wish to go together with this selection. Google Docs is restricted to 15GB of storage, so if you happen to don’t have loads of paperwork or many massive paperwork, then it will likely be a perfect answer for you.

Which phrase processor is finest for you?

After years of working with Microsoft Phrase, it may be exhausting to provide it up for an additional phrase processing choice. Phrase is the usual for a lot of job industries and the tutorial subject, so .docx is an ordinary file used throughout the board. It’s attainable to make use of Phrase whilst you’re at work and switch the file to Google Docs to be used at residence, however you may encounter some compatibility or formatting issues. 

It’s necessary to ask your self if you happen to require a easy phrase processor or if you wish to share information with others simply. Google Docs is your best option if you’ll want to work collaboratively with others, or work within the cloud for optimum backup choices. Nonetheless, you’ll be able to actually take pleasure in utilizing each applications, as Google Docs is a free program, and employers and colleges steadily supply Phrase to customers.

Editors’ Suggestions