When you think of word processing software, what immediately springs to mind? Is it Word? We thought so. Microsoft Word has been the gold standard for word processing for just about as long as we can remember. Used by businesses, home users, students and more, most computer users will have used Word at some point in their life.
Of course, Word is not the only word processor out there. Google Docs has become a very popular alternative among businesses. Some see it as a better option for collaboration and teamwork.
We’ve broken down some of the key features, so you can decide whether Word or Google Docs is the right option for you and your business.
Accessing the software
Generally speaking, Word is accessed through a desktop application on your PC. While it can be accessed via a web browser, the online version of Word does not have all the features of the desktop app. Word on the web is great if you want to quickly access documents and data, but for full functionality, we recommend opening documents in the native application.
Google Docs can only be accessed through a web browser, and stored on Google’s servers. This means that you’ll need an internet connection to use Google Docs, while Word can be used offline. Of course, if your Word documents are stored in OneDrive, SharePoint or another Cloud service, you’ll need an internet connection to access them.
Microsoft and Google both offer their word processors free of charge. But there are some limitations. The free version of Word is only available through a web browser. And the web version of Word doesn’t have all the functionality you get with the desktop app. There are a number of great features in the free version of Word however, including our favourite – the ability to share documents.
Google Docs is completely free to use. You don’t lose functionality with the free version, compared to if you’re paying for Google Workspace. The only limitation is with storage. Google accounts have 15GB of storage – free of charge. Users can pay for extra storage, which could be an option if you have a lot of data stored in your Google Drive (including email).
Microsoft Word files can be saved in a variety of formats, including .doc and .docx. Google Docs files, on the other hand, can only be saved in the Google Docs format. What does that mean in practice? Well, if you want to open a Google Docs file in another word processor, you’ll need to export it to a different format like .doc or .pdf.
Collaboration and Teamwork
Both Google Docs and Word have excellent features for collaboration on documents. The days of having multiple versions of the same document are long gone – or at least they should be.
Word offers a number of collaboration features, such as:
- Co-authoring: users can access and edit documents at the same time, and changes made by one user will be immediately visible to others.
- Comments: can be used to ask questions, provide feedback, or discuss changes. Comments can be resolved or replied to by other users.
- Track Changes: allows you to see and review changes made by other users.
- Reviewing: Microsoft Word has a built-in reviewing feature that allows users to suggest changes, add comments, and accept or reject changes made by other users.
- Share with others: share documents with others via email or by creating a link to the document. Can also control the level of access others have to the document, such as “can edit” or “can view.”
Google Docs offers:
- Real-time collaboration: access and edit a document at the same time. Changes made by one user are immediately visible to others, and a revision history is maintained so that users can see who made what changes and when.
- Commenting: add comments to a document, which can be used to ask questions, provide feedback, or discuss changes. Comments can be resolved or replied to by other users.
- Suggesting mode: make changes to a document in “suggesting” mode, which allows the document owner to review and accept or reject the changes before they become permanent.
- Permission levels: give different permission levels, such as “can edit” or “can view,” to control who can make changes to the document.
- Email notifications: be notified via email when changes are made to a document or when comments are added.
- Chat: chat with one another within the document, which allows for real-time communication while working on the document.
Microsoft Word vs Google Sheets: Which Should You Choose?
Microsoft Word and Google Docs are both great word processing tools, but they’re better suited for different types of users. If you need advanced formatting and layout options, and you prefer to work offline, Word may suit you better. Looking for a free option? Google Docs might be the one to start with.
Make sure you’ve got the right technology in place in your business. Have a chat with one of ACUTEC’s friendly consultants today.