Google Docs comes off much worse in a comparison if you include the combined might of Microsoft Office 365 with the desktop suite Microsoft Office 2021 (or 2021 for Mac), which are tightly integrated with each other. But adding the cost of the Microsoft desktop suite (retail price of US$99.99 per user) pushes the Microsoft approach much higher than the US$8.40 per user per month charged for Google Apps and US$5 for Office 365. So, counting down, here are the top 10 features that the current version of Microsoft Word Web App lacks.
10. Better layout tools
Google Docs can insert page breaks, headers, footers, bookmarks and table of contents.
9. Document layout
Google Docs has a ruler and can define margins and orientation (portrait or landscape).
8. Insert drawings
Google Apps includes Google Drawing, which Google Docs users can use to create their own drawing and insert it in a document. Useful for quick sketches. No drawing tool is included in Microsoft Office 365.
7. Comments and footnotes
For basic annotation of a document. A big one for students.
6. Word count
This is a big plus for students, journalists and others who make a living from writing.
5. Revision history
This is viewable within the document itself by time and date with changes made at each point highlighted. Word Web App does have revision history but it can only be accessed when the document is closed.
4. File formats
Google Docs can be saved and download in ODT, PDF, RTF, Text, Word and HTML formats. Microsoft Word Web App automatically selects .docx for new documents, with no alternatives. It can open an existing document saved in any Word format, however.
3. Online collaboration
It is much easier for multiple users to work on the same spreadsheet, document or presentation. Online collaboration is not even possible for Microsoft Word Web App.
2. Find and replace
A major omission for Microsoft not just in Word Web App but also the Excel and PowerPoint Web Apps too.
A critical issue. Google saves documents every couple of seconds without you thinking about it. Microsoft Word still relies on autorecovery which swings into action if your browser crashes and gives you a roughly 30-minute window to restore your changes or lose them. Keep pressing that Save button.
10 reasons why Microsoft Word 2010 is better than Google Docs
The cloud struggles to keep up.
Microsoft has long been the king of productivity suites and its latest extension of Microsoft Office into the cloud makes its desktop software even more useful and powerful.
At five years of age, Google Apps and its word processor Google Docs is in its infancy compared to Microsoft’s 21-year-old veteran word processor. And it shows, especially when you look at Microsoft’s desktop plus cloud suite versus Google’s cloud-only suite side by side.
The ballooning feature set comes at an extra $200-$500 per user for the business versions of Microsoft Office but many businesses will find it a price worth paying, at least for some staff.
It should be noted that Google has added several features to Google Docs and Google Apps that integrate with current and older versions of the desktop Microsoft Office suite very effectively.
However, for businesses looking to start with the Google Docs word processor and forgo Microsoft Word completely, here is a summary of the 10 main points they will miss out on in a cloud-only world.
10. Notebook view
A lesser known feature in Word, this is a great tool for taking notes in meetings because you can include audio notes using your laptop’s built-in microphone.
9. Save to online
Documents in Microsoft Office 2007 and later save directly to a SharePoint Online site or SkyDrive. No need to keep uploading and downloading files. (Google’s Cloud Connect plug-in lets you use the desktop version of Word and automatically save it to Google Docs. Thanks to Thaaron for the tip-off.)
Microsoft Word can protect track changes, comments and forms using a password.
7. Desktop publishing
Microsoft Word can create professional looking sales documents and newsletters with a dazzling array of tools, styles, themes and templates using Publishing Layout view. Google Docs and the web version of Office are little more than text editors by comparison.
6. Document layout
Microsoft Word can insert bibliographies, citations, footnotes, endnotes, and tables of contents, figures and authorities. It even cross-references. Web versions can do footnotes, but that’s about it.
5. Graphics, charts and art
Microsoft Word comes with a very impressive library of charts, “SmartArt” graphics such as organisational pyramids, workflows and hierarchies, and WordArt. If your role is to design professional looking workflows or graph-heavy reports, Word is very useful.
Some businesses would fall apart if they had to say goodbye to their collection of macros. Unfortunately you can’t take them with you to Google Docs.
A major point of comparison. Google Docs has 19, Microsoft Word has over 200.
2. Mail merge
Two of the most important words to secretarial staff the world over. Microsoft Word has settings for labels, envelopes and letters for professional physical correspondence. While the world lives on email, we still send a lot of mail.
While Google Docs can open the latest .docx Microsoft format, it won’t always preserve the formatting. If a customer sends you an important document with incompatible formatting, you might not realise that crucial information hasn’t been displayed.
If you want to avoid the expense of buying desktop software and go cloud-only, then check out this article that looks at the top 10 most important features Google’s word processor Google Docs has over Microsoft Office 365’s Microsoft Word Web App.