Which is better: Microsoft Word or Google Docs?


Fact Box

  • Microsoft was founded on April 4, 1975 by Bill Gates and Paul Allen in Albuquerque, NM. The company later relocated to Washington state in 1979. By 1987, Bill Gates became the world’s youngest billionaire at age 31. 
  • Google, originally named “Backrub,” was founded in 1995 by Larry Page and Sergey Brin with the mission to “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”
  • Microsoft launched the first comprehensive word-processing software Microsoft Word in 1983.   
  • Google introduced Google Docs in March 2006 after it acquired Writely and Upstartle. 
  • According to a 2016 survey of millennial college students across 40 different US universities, 12% used Microsoft Word when writing papers by themselves while 78% used Google Docs when writing papers in groups. Likewise, 80% used Word for individual assignments, and 13% used it for group work.

Hugh (Microsoft Word)

Full-featured word processing mandates the use of Microsoft Word, which is so universally used even its main competitors have to support its file formats. Microsoft Word (being the first of its kind, introduced in 1983) has been the de facto business word processing standard for 37 years. Meaning, after these many years spent developing and perfecting its software, Microsoft Word has gained an 'advantage' over Google Docs. Because of its vast technical capabilities, Word is considered in many circles to be the 'breakaway winner' for technical and business writing. It features advanced capabilities such as incorporating images, graphics, footnotes, citations, mail merge, and its integration into the broader Microsoft Office ecosystem.

One of Microsoft Word's most robust features is its 'seamless integration' with the Microsoft Office ecosystem. This is critical within the larger context of Microsoft Office as this enhances overall business usage. The ability to seamlessly integrate Excel spreadsheets into Word documents, or PowerPoint slides, and have them automatically update across applications when altering the original files, make any comparison to other word processors meaningless. 

Further, Microsoft has introduced upgrades to its Office ecosystem, such as OneDrive and Office 365, which give users the accessibility and the portability some users want, negating the main technical strength of Google Docs. Finally, between reduced cost and even free versions of its software for students and educators, plus the free reduced feature set Word Pad (whose features are on par with Google Docs), the economic advantage of 'free' Google Docs is eliminated as well. 

This combination of features, integration within the broader Microsoft Office ecosystem, and web-based services make Microsoft Word ideal for all users.

Luna (Google Docs)

Google Docs is superior to Microsoft Word in nearly every way. It has a lower entry barrier with a FREE easy-to-access platform open to everyone regardless of their computer operating system requirements. Its cross-platform functionality makes it easier to sync and share content across devices. This tool benefits people working on multiple projects at once. Microsoft Word's system requirements limit its shareability. Every Word document needs to be manually shared, while Google Docs offers a seamless automated syncing system. One of the best elements of Google Docs is its editing functionality, where users, readers, editors, managers, or collaborators can efficiently view, highlight, edit and leave comments on any section of the post. Its one-touch suggestion system creates a frictionless editing/analyzing experience.

This feature is also useful for teachers assigning and grading homework. They can quickly leave classwork notes in the right places, making it easier for the student to understand exactly where and how they want wrong. Google Docs also lets you control who can edit, comment, or access the document with a single link, while MS Word docs can only be attached in emails as word files. Google Docs is available on every modern browser from Windows to Linux, while Word is limited to a narrow range of operating systems. Google Docs also functions well in the mobile compatibility mode – a development Microsoft Word is yet to bring about. Another element where Google Docs proves itself superior over MS Word is the auto-save function. Every document typed on MS Word needs to be manually saved while Google Docs auto-saves every change in real-time. As far as word processors go, it's the clear winner. 

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