Ever wondered what is the difference between Google Docs and Microsoft Word? While both word processors may look the same at first glance, they are actually very different.
In this article, I want to point out the main differences to help you decide which option is best for you.
Job – Microsoft Word wins
Since Microsoft Word has been around longer than Google Docs, Microsoft has had more time to combine features and create more robust software. It’s safe to say that Microsoft Word is the most advanced option when it comes to functionality.
However, this doesn’t make Google Docs useless. In fact, Microsoft Word is really better here if you can actually use the more advanced features.
For 90% of users, the word processing capabilities of Google Docs are more than enough. But for some, the advanced features of Microsoft Word are important. The advanced features of Word include, in general, better table formatting and controls, more control over text styles, and better implementation of graphics and images.
Page numbering and organizing your document is also much easier in Microsoft Word. You also get much more powerful templates that can speed up your work, depending on what you use Word for. Finally, simple things like lists and bullets work better with Word.
When using this feature in Docs, there are sometimes minor issues when line breaks are added, bullets are removed, or formatting is lost.
Collaboration – Google Docs wins
Microsoft Word and Google Docs now have collaboration features when Microsoft 365 brings Word to the cloud. However, Google Docs wins in this category for a number of reasons.
First, thanks to the built-in Google Docs Drive, it’s very easy to see what files you’ve shared, and it’s also easy to navigate to the files you’ve shared with you.
Sharing is as easy as clicking File Share and creating a link. Alternatively, you can also send individual emails. The good thing about the sharing functionality in Google Docs is that you can easily control who can edit the document, who can view it, and who can comment on it. This makes Google Docs even a great platform for creating public documents that the world can view and download.
Microsoft also has collaboration options – just click the Share button in the top right corner. From there, you can save to OneDrive and then add the names of the people you want to share with. Unlike Docs, you are forced to send a document to certain people, so it becomes more difficult to provide access to a wide open audience.
You can track changes from each author in Word and check those changes before they reach the final version, and you can add comments to documents.
All of these features are available in Google Docs, and Google Docs also has a very powerful timeline feature that shows all past edits and who made them. At any time, you can click to revert to an older version of the document, or simply view an older version to compare changes.
Cloud and Sync – Google Docs
Both Microsoft Word and Google Docs now offer great cloud capabilities. You must be an Office 365 subscriber to be able to open, edit, and automatically sync files online using Microsoft Word. Otherwise, you’ll need to set up a OneDrive backup with Microsoft Office 2019 files.
Google Docs automatically saves to the cloud. In fact, your document is saved every time you make changes, so you don’t even have to worry about pressing the save button.
In addition, you can view and edit all your changes from now until the first time you start the document by clicking the text â€œall changes saved to Driveâ€ at the top of the page.
When it comes to storage limits, Microsoft Word wins out if you have Office 365, but if you don’t, Google Drive will give you more free space than OneNote. Fortunately, both Word and Google Docs are available on all major platforms including Mac, Windows, Android, iOS, and the web.
So, in general, Google Docs and Microsoft Word are very close in this section, but Google Docs is a little ahead with its awesome autosave feature.
Offline access – Microsoft Word wins
Microsoft Word is without a doubt the best option for anyone looking for an offline document processor. With Microsoft Word, whether from Office 2019 or Office 365, you can easily create new offline documents, and then when you connect to the Internet, they can be uploaded to the cloud.
You don’t lose any functionality when Microsoft Word goes offline, although co-authoring is not available. On the other hand, Google Docs is more limited when it comes to battery life.
By default, Google Docs does not support offline mode. However, you can add offline functionality using the Google Docs offline Chrome extension . Once installed, you can enable offline mode in the settings menu in Google Drive.
For the most part, this extension will allow you to view files and edit them offline, but the extension has not been without problems. Many reviews suggest extension issues, claiming that the software doesn’t work or only works occasionally.
I can’t offer Google Docs for offline use if Microsoft Word was built as a standalone word processor from the beginning.
Formatting – Microsoft Word wins
Microsoft Word wins in formatting without a doubt. It is much easier to create unique text formatting rules in Microsoft Word than in Google Docs. I would say that Google really needs to work on formatting because it currently has a number of problems.
When attaching images, spreadsheets or spreadsheets, you cannot be sure that the file will be formatted in the same way if opened in a third-party document processor. Microsoft Word doesn’t have this problem.
Availability – Google Docs wins
In this category, Google Docs wins easily because you just can’t beat for free. Basically, Google Docs is a slightly less feature rich word processor, but if you think it’s completely free, it more than makes up for that.
Microsoft Word, on the other hand, is not free. You must either pay monthly for an Office 365 subscription or pay once for the full Microsoft Office 2019 suite.
Google Docs and Microsoft Word go hand in hand, but in many areas Microsoft Word comes out ahead. If you want the extra features and formatting capabilities of Word and don’t mind paying for it, we recommend it.
If you only want a word processor with basic functionality, you’ll love Google Docs. Enjoy!