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Microsoft Office vs Google Docs – Main Features and Functionality Comparison

Ronnie Teja 25 April, 2020

In recent times, Microsoft Office vs Google Docs has been silently fighting a war for the title of the leading word processor. While most of you have been using Microsoft Word for years to draft everything from school assignments to resumes to essential work documents, Google Docs is a web-based platform that has significantly changed the way you edit and share docs in this era.

Microsoft Office vs Google Docs main image

For decades, Microsoft Office basics have long been seen as the default option for most organizations, and it is no coincidence that most staffs in an organization are comfortable using it. Information Technology administrators are at ease managing large-scale departments since the features available in Office are usable by the most advanced users.

However, the rise of Google Docs and Google Apps has made most companies to rethink their strategy of the processor to use when editing their documents. This trend has changed because Google Apps provides an extensive feature that takes care of almost all your IT needs from cloud storage to email to incorporation with third-party sales and marketing tools, as well as office suite apps that rivals those found in Office.

Numerous IT decision makers may still possess worries whether Google Docs can provide users the functionalities Microsoft Office tool is famous for. That is where the battle of Microsoft Office vs Google Docs actually arises. While these worries might have been acceptable till a couple of years ago, Google Docs has since made significant strides in functionality, and now seems more than ready for mainstream usage. This article will show you a closer view of how these Google docs vs Word match up across various sections:

Use and Access – Microsoft Office vs Google Docs

microsoft office toolkit image

You cannot buy Microsoft Office tool as standalone software. The program comes as part of the massive Microsoft Office 365 package that incorporates other applications such as Microsoft Outlook, PowerPoint, Excel, Publisher, Access and OneNote. After you buy this suit, you can only install Microsoft Word on a select number of PCs on the basis of the plan you opt for. Presently, you can go for more options.

To win the online market, Microsoft launched Word Online in 2010 to compete with Google Docs (which has actually started the Microsoft Office vs Google Docs competition). Although Word Online integrates sufficient features for the standard users, it is not seen as the full version of the word by all means. Select Toolbars and ribbons were eliminated from the online version of word to make it run and load much faster. The online Word provides a much more streamlined experience, but it may leave you desiring more. Word Online, for instance, doesn’t possess the ability of handling complex and large documents, and you may find it difficult working around these errors than using the standard Word program from the word go.

Google Docs on its side began as a cross-platform word processor that works wholly online. You will not be required to buy or download a suite of programs that you do not require. To access Google Docs, you will only be needed to just log in your Google Account from whichever browser and go to ‘’ The good thing is that Google Docs can be accessed from the popular operating systems including Chrome OS, Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows. The Google Docs App is also accessible from both Android and iOS devices, but cannot be accessed from a Windows-based smartphone such as blackberry.

Nowadays, with the help of Google Docs, you can even simplify your invoicing process by using a free template offered by the easy-to-use invoicing tool

Microsoft Office vs Google Docs

While these Google docs vs Word are essential bits of a program, you may prefer one over the other and not because it is much better but because it suits your requirements and lifestyle. You may not be needed to carry out lots of office work while you are on transit, but there are situations where you need to work while on the move. Whether it is adding a spreadsheet, making notes or editing essential documents while away from your workstation, you need a program to allow you to accomplish this task. If these two programs do not meet your needs for legal document comparison, there are advanced tools based on artificial intelligence which can improve your user experience. In this section, you will learn about Microsoft office basics and Google docs Features.

Google Docs vs. Word

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Microsoft Word typically boasts a high number of remarkable features. It offers you specialized tools at your disposal, and it’s even regarded as the best word processor for a long time due to its fancy features and builds quality.

  • Font size and color
  • Page breaks
  • Annotations
  • Columns
  • Page margins
  • Drag and drop images

Price is a significant factor to consider when buying a Word processing program for your personal or business use. Depending on the option that you choose, office program can cost you $45 – 165.

Google Docs Features

Google Docs, in the meantime, is free. You know that Word has a tremendous amount of personal design and editing tools that make it a favorite option for many but do you necessarily utilize them all? Google Docs integrates standard and straightforward editing tools for your common documents. Their simplicity may be what you are looking for unless you require advanced features.

Google Docs was invented back in 2007 and is now considered the real deal in this industry. On its release, it possessed numerous issues and bugs especially for users who needed to use it professionally. Google reacted to these bugs instantly and upgraded it to the requirements of its users. It is evident that millions of users now use Google Docs regularly making this Microsoft Office vs Google Docs battle even more competitive.

Google Docs is collaborative, accessible and flexible, and this collaborative feature is what makes it powerful than Word. You can also access Google Docs anytime, anywhere, making any last minute edits effective and straightforward, and this is not found in Word. Google Docs will also allow you to create any type of format and edit within the program, unlike other apps that mainly restrict their users due to ineffectiveness.

Word additionally lacks the real-time group editing feature while Google Docs allows up to fifty users’ access a single file and collaborate from wherever they are. This aspect is essential for a hangout session while busy or at work.

Google Slides vs. PowerPoint

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The options available for developing online presentations are equally similar, and the selection between Google Slides, PowerPoint and PowerPoint Online might be a simple matter of personal habit or preference. PowerPoint Online offers features that are similar to the standard PowerPoint desktop program, which you may find rather convenient. According to Pareto’s Principle (80 – 20 rule), 80% of Microsoft Office tool users only utilize 20% of Office’s features. For these types of users, the Google Docs is all that they require. This rule applies to all programs available on Google or Office.

In general, PowerPoint overpowers Google slides regarding the capability. You can typically create a presentation from scratch by selecting various templates and customizing every slide’s effects. PowerPoint has everything that you need to create a whole PowerPoint Slideshow from a PC or tablet.

Google slide’s story is different as you can only create a plain slide, add in text and stark white presentation, but nothing else. You can also add in lines and shapes, but you cannot get anywhere near the abilities contained by PowerPoint. Google is way behind in this category if we think about Microsoft Office vs Google Docs.

Excel vs. Google Sheets

excel sheets image

The PC version of Excel has long been the legend when it comes to a spreadsheet application, but Google is also making an inroad with its sheets. Do sheets possess a valuable claim to be the king? Or is it just a rebrand of excel? Both have their uniqueness; therefore, here are the reasons why you may need one over the other.

Why You May Need to Utilize Google Sheets

Google was genuinely ambitious in attempting to release a spreadsheet app that would rival Microsoft’s, Excel. While sheets may not have reached that level, sheets have come a long way in the couple of years they have been in the industry. Google has managed to incorporate a couple of features that set it apart from Microsoft’s Excel.

1. Collaboration

As mentioned earlier, Google generally shines when collaboration is considered. It is remarkably easy for several users to work on a single spreadsheet simultaneously. This aspect makes a big project management use case more comfortable and manageable.

2. Cloud storage

This is an underrated aspect when users make comparisons, but the capability to begin work on a desktop computer, continue working on the task in a laptop, and even carry out some edits on a smartphone, is priceless. Unrestricted access anytime and anywhere is critical for the future.

3. Version Control

Do you ever end up with files named ‘project v11.2 (final) (present day) 20181017.xlsx’? Confusing, isn’t it? Luckily this does not occur in sheets, but you still get your spreadsheet document flawlessly backed up.

4. App Script

Unknown to most users, Google App Scripts (VBA) exists, and it is a remarkably potent JavaScript based tool. You can comfortably connect to various APIs and run scripts with insignificant efforts. With these scripts, connecting to other resources on the web becomes a walk in the park.

Why You Might Need Excel

There are reasons why Excel is the leading in the industry when it comes to spreadsheets, specifically when it comes to fields such as hard sciences and accounting. Here is where Excel shines.

1. Data processing

You may find that Google Sheets becomes hard to work with after writing over a thousand rows of data. The Google sheets are not designed for that much info, and they tend to become significantly slower. On the other hand, Excel is perfect for even over hundreds of thousands of rows before you even contemplate utilizing a different program.

2. Formulas

You can do a lot of amazing things with the Excel formulas, from managing your whole life to doing your taxes. If there is something that you need to perform with data, Excel can genuinely do it. Google Sheets might be catching up, but Excel is what you need for those complex formulas to process data.

3. Customization

You possibly perform same things frequently if you spend a lot of your time working with Excel. Nonetheless, you can save your time by mastering a few keyboard shortcuts as well as customizing the ribbon at the top of the window. Google may also be offering several shortcuts, but it lacks a lot of features when it comes to customizing the arena.

4. Industry Standard

The ubiquity possessed by Excel is an added advantage. Importing Excel spreadsheets into Google sheets may lead into unknown formatting errors that require your time to fix. It may not take you long to rectify the error if you have used Microsoft Office for several years. Working with new versions is also incredibly comfortable.

5. Charts

While Google sheets are trying a comeback in charts, Excel is a ‘beast’ here in terms of professionalism. With more options for formatting charts, more types of charts available, several options for quickly changing style and layout, more options for error bar displays, you can just do away with Excel. You will require professional quality charts made with Excel if you are to give a presentation to high stakeholders.

Generally, both are fantastic pieces of programs utilized by many and loved by most. If you had to select one, which would it be? Depending on your functionalities and requirements, you may choose Google Docs due to their simplicity and accessibility or opt for Microsoft Office if you are to perform complex tasks.

Microsoft Office vs Google Docs Who Wins?

The standard word processor has always been useful in the world of computing. If you need something written up and require something with complex capabilities than Notepad, you usually have your desired word processor ready and waiting to start. Presently, there are two processing titans vying for your attention, Microsoft Office vs Google Docs. Which one is the best? Read the following section to have the know-how of each of them.

1. Cost

This is an easy one. Google Docs is available for free; all that is needed is a working Google Account and you are ready to go. On the other hand, Microsoft Office Business begins at $5 for every user per month, and you will access online versions of office as well 1TB cloud storage on their One Drive. $8.25 every month will give you access the offline versions of office (OneNote, Outlook, Word, Publisher, Excel, and PowerPoint). Nonetheless, these pricing strategies are only usable when your organization has a maximum of 300 users. For cost purposes, Google Docs is the real deal.

Before ruling out Office totally, you should remember that they also offer a free version of office known as Office Online. It is not as powerful as the primary Office Suite, but it is still free. However, you should remember that Google Docs has almost anything that you need at no cost. So Google wins here in Microsoft Office vs Google Docs.

2. Cloud Storage

Microsoft has incorporated its One Drive cloud offering into its suite, while Google, on the other hand, offers Google Drive. While both cloud storage services boast sufficient features that you can’t complain about, several factors may influence your decision:

  • Google Drive is installed separately while One Drive is incorporated into Microsoft Windows
  • Google Drive is incredibly famous, and this means that if your staffs need to collaborate on docs with external vendors and contractors, Google Apps is probably the best choice
  • Microsoft offers you 1TB of space, Google Apps for Business offers 30 GB, while the Google Apps unlimited lives up to its name by offering unlimited storage as long as you have more than four users.

3. Cloud vs. Privacy

Cloud feature is a double-edged tool. Some users may love it while others consider it to have some privacy issues. Due to this, this argument will be solved on their basis of ability to utilize the cloud for storage and also not utilize the cloud at all.

Can documents be stored and edited in the cloud with every suite?

This capability is possible in both instances. Google Docs is a cloud-based service that ensures your docs are updated irrespective of where you open or write them. The documents are stored on your Google Drive that comes free with your Google account. Office 365 also boasts editing and cloud storage capabilities on its One Drive, and it is also free.

Can docs be stored or edited from the cloud with every suite?

Here is where the differences come in. Google Docs can download docs to your local hard drive for additional editing without the need of using another word processor such as Word to open. You should enable the offline mode in Google Docs if you need to perform your writing within Google Docs without using the cloud. By doing this, you will be editing your docs offline.

Microsoft’s Office cloudless abilities require you to install the program on your PC’s hard drive and then boot it up when you need to write something that is off the cloud. This aspect makes office fundamentally good for managing sensitive docs that you would rather not have them hang around in a cloud somewhere.

4. Offline capabilities

This aspect leads perfectly into how each one performs when your internet breaks down. Google Docs possess an offline ability but you will be required to set the option before going offline, and you can only access docs you accessed recently while online. Nonetheless, Office’s PC program does not need an online connection. It means that you can pull out your PC at any time during your transit and get work done without worrying about preparing docs for offline usage.

5. Third-party Integration

One segment where Google Docs overpowers Microsoft Office is application integration. Through the Google Apps Marketplace, you can add third-party applications from project management modules and CRM systems.

Microsoft on its side has extended its Office platform with support for third-party application incorporation through the Office Store. Nonetheless, the selection of applications that functions flawlessly with your Office subscription is still restricted.

6. Collaboration

Google Docs has been for a long time the king of online collaboration: it enabled users to edit docs concurrently and brought it to the world by storm. Microsoft, however, upped its game and allowed the same feature in its Office 365. In this scenario, none of them beats the other concerning the collaboration feature because they both have it.

However, there is one aspect that tips things on Google’s Docs. Google Docs is more user-inclusive because every collaborator only needs a web browser to access the document, and you can get users of all operating system in your doc. Collaboration in Microsoft, on the other hand, needs every writer to have their own copy of office which is insignificantly practical.

7. Mobile Usage

On-the-move use is a crucial part of any office suite nowadays, and both Google docs vs Word provide mobile versions of their program. You should remember that Google has not yet made their Apps available on Windows smartphones. Aside from this, while Microsoft Office basics are available on all three major platforms, organizations whose staffs utilize windows smartphones might be interested in the new and awesome Continuum feature that enables you to connect selected windows cellphone to a monitor or keyboard. This allows you to have a full-featured desktop experience. Both Google and Microsoft also provide mobile device management that lets admins set up devices security policies.

8. Functionality

Google Docs possess restricted functionality in comparison to Office. Users who merely utilize word processors to gather their thoughts down and get some typical work done will see Google Docs as more than useful to them. However, users who need more from their office suite will find Google Docs to be limited and thus opt for Microsoft Office. The good thing is that you can download a Microsoft office from various sites and then activate it with the Microsoft Office Toolkit.

Who Wins?

When it comes to who wins this battle, it can just be solved with an unpleasant ‘it depends.’ Office and Google Docs are rivals through and through, but they are both suitable to different niches, and this makes each one much better for specific users. There is no precise winner between the two-word processors; it all depends on what you need from your program. But who gets the best from each?

Google Docs is the Best if You

  • Need a free word processor that is not downgraded version of a premium product
  • Want to collaborate with other users irrespective of their OS
  • Enjoy utilizing cloud instantly and want to edit docs on multiple devices hassle-free

Microsoft Office is the Best if You

  • Need a word processor that can manage any workload, with superior functionality, customizable templates, and an extensive array of options to use and toggle
  • Are going to store sensitive work of the cloud to ensure it won’t be accessible by intruders
  • Want something that works perfectly when you are traveling or away from the internet

Microsoft Office vs Google Docs – Final Words

Lastly, Microsoft Office vs Google Docs both have their pros and cons while also different scenarios. With the above info, you now know which suits your usage style best. Feel free to use Google Docs, a standard Office suite, or even get office for Mac – you have full freedom of choice and the preference will only depend on your taste and goals!

3 responses to “Microsoft Office vs Google Docs – Main Features and Functionality Comparison”

  1. devlok technologies says:

    Thanks for the interesting blog post! It helped a lot.

  2. OliveTHuth says:

    Wonderful site you have here but I was curious if you knew of any user discussion forums that cover the same topics talked about here? I’d really like to be a part of a community where I can get comments from other knowledgeable individuals that share the same interest. If you have any suggestions,
    please let me know. Many thanks!

  3. chic sparrow e class says:

    An impressive share! I’ve just forwarded this to a coworker who has been conducting a little research on this.
    And he actually ordered me dinner due to the fact that I found it for him… lol. So allow me to reword this… Thanks for the meal!!
    But yeah, thanks for spending time to discuss this subject
    here on your blog.

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Author: Ronnie Teja
Ronnie Teja is a Canadian tech entrepreneur. He is mainly responsible for innovating and providing software solutions. Technology, e-commerce, and marketing have been the core of his life since the grade school days. He believes in transforming the way the companies and entrepreneurs view and apply their digital solutions to focus on people-centric values with trackable results.