In the world of word processing: If Docs is the Swiss® army knife, then Word is the Craftsmen® tool chest. While the tool chest has the specific tools for every task, the army knife gets the job done!
Pro and Con Breakdown:
Google® Docs is a nuts and bolts word processor. Perfect for people weary of, or unfamiliar with, technology. Essential for collaboration.
- Simple. Not too many options. Cleanly designed and easy to navigate. Easy to pick up.
- Lives in The Cloud. Access from anywhere you have an internet connection - computer, tablet, phone.
- Collaboration. Multiple people can edit at the same time.
- It’s free!
- Limited features.
- Difficult to access when offline. It’s possible, but requires a little foresight and some tech savvy.
Microsoft® Word is a work horse. Ideal for professional presentation and advanced users.
- Built for publishing. If you have something you want to show the World, get to know the ins-n-outs of Word! Once you learn a few tricks, people will look at you in jealous awe. Word offers features that put a polished finish on your sweat labor. Professional presentation and attention to detail will get you noticed.
- An array of features for the moderate to advanced user. Not to say a novice can’t use Word, but I recommend the simplicity of Docs for day-to-day tasks and beginner-level users.
- Word has been developed over time to offer design features for every possible scenario. And, if you think of something it can’t do - chances are a super-user has develop a macro to solve your problem.
- Universal recognition. People know Word; they trust Word; they have Word. It’s been around the block. Companies have invested in it. People learned to word process with it.
- Costly. Requires upgrades and activation codes every few years.
- Complexity. Many people find the newest 2007/2010/2013 menu difficult to navigate.
- Files are stored locally - on your hard drive or local network. Some mobility is possible with a USB drive, or Cloud software like Dropbox.
- No mobile view. Limited to no editing ability with tablet or phone apps.
- Difficult to collaborate. Sharing different versions often results in lost work. Though available, the merge feature is cumbersome and imperfect.
Me, I often use them both for the same project, especially if I’m working on something collaborative. We use Google Docs to share the initial ideas and build the document’s content. Once content is agreed upon, I’ll export the data (either download and convert, or copy and paste) to Microsoft Word to add polish and graphic design appeal.
A nod to Mac users about Apple‘s Pages word processor - What can I say except that less than 20% of the World can open it. Please don’t send me a Pages document - I can’t read it.
Ok, so you’re thinking, “ugh, another program to learn.” Well, not really. Chances are you’re already comfortable with the basics in Word, so you should have no problem using Docs.
In short, Google Docs for every-day usage, and for advanced projects pick Word.