Microsoft Office vs Google Docs - Battle of Productivity Suites

Discover the key differences between Microsoft Office and Google Docs, helping you choose the right productivity suite for your needs.
Microsoft Office vs Google Docs comparison

Are you torn between Microsoft Office and Google Docs for your productivity needs? This comprehensive comparison will help you make an informed decision based on your preferences and requirements.

In this article, we'll delve into the strengths of both Microsoft Office and Google Docs. Whether you're a student seeking user-friendly features for your academic tasks or a tech-savvy professional who thrives on the convenience of seamless access across multiple devices, we've got you covered. 

Join us as we explore the key differences between Microsoft Office and Google Docs, equipping you with valuable insights to find your perfect fit. Discover the full potential of these productivity suites and unlock new levels of efficiency in your daily tasks.

Table of Contents

  1. How to get Microsoft Word
  2. How to get Google Docs
  3. Microsoft Office vs Google Docs
  4. Microsoft Office vs Google Docs Comparing Main Features
  5. Microsoft Word Features
  6. Google Docs Features
  7. Google Docs vs. Microsoft Word: Which One Should You Use?
  8. Limitations of Free Google Docs: Offline Access and Control
  9. User-Friendly Google Docs vs. Feature-Rich Microsoft Word
  10. FAQs
  11. Final Thoughts

How to get Microsoft Word

Getting Microsoft Word is now available through two options: a one-time purchase of a perpetual version of Microsoft Office or as part of the subscription-based Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365) model. 

Microsoft Word

Here's what you need to know:

  • Microsoft Office Options:
  • One-time Purchase: With this option, you can buy a perpetual version of Microsoft Office apps, including Word, but it's limited to installation on a single computer.
  • Microsoft 365: This subscription-based model offers access to Microsoft Word and other Office apps like Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, Publisher, and Access. The number of devices you can install the apps on depends on the plan level you choose.
  • Word Online:
  • Microsoft launched Word Online as part of Microsoft 365 in 2010. It offers enough features for casual users but is not the full version of Word.
  • Some features, ribbons, and toolbars were removed to ensure smoother loading and performance, leading to a more streamlined experience.
  • However, Word Online may struggle with handling large or complex documents, and users may find it clunkier compared to the regular Word program.
  • Mobile Apps:
  • The Word app comes pre-installed on Windows Phone devices.
  • For iOS and Android users, there is a free, basic version of Word available, though it lacks many advanced features.

How to get Google Docs

Getting Google Docs is a hassle-free process as it is a cloud-based, cross-platform word processor. Here's how you can access Google Docs:

Google Docs
  • Online Access:
  • Google Docs is entirely web-based, eliminating the need for software downloads or purchases of unnecessary programs.
  • Simply log in to your Google account from any web browser and navigate to
  • Platform Compatibility:
  • Unlike Microsoft Word, which is limited to Windows and OS X computers, Google Docs works on various platforms and browsers, including Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, and Chrome OS.
  • You can use Google Docs from any computer and browser without any restrictions.
  • Mobile Access:
  • Google Docs offers mobile apps for both iOS and Android devices, allowing users to create, edit, and access documents on the go.
  • However, the app is not available for Windows-based phones like BlackBerry.

Microsoft Office vs Google Docs

Microsoft Word and Google Docs are both popular word processing software, but they have distinct differences and similarities that cater to various user needs. Here's a straightforward comparison to help you choose the right tool for your word processing requirements:

  1. Compatibility: Both Microsoft Word and Google Docs can handle standard word formats and process extensions like HTML and PDF. However, when saving a Google Docs file, you may need to save it as a Microsoft Word compatible file or convert it to ensure seamless sharing with others.
  2. Features: Microsoft Word offers a wide range of advanced features, making it ideal for complex formatting and layout work. On the other hand, Google Docs is better suited for basic word processing tasks and provides real-time collaboration, automatic cloud backups, and convenient accessibility from any device with an internet connection.
  3. Accessibility: Google Docs has a clear advantage in accessibility, being accessible from any device with a modern web browser. In contrast, Microsoft Word and other Office 365 apps can be installed on only five devices, restricting offline access.
  4. Cost: Google Docs is free to use, while Microsoft Word may require a subscription to Microsoft Office or Office 365 for full access to its features.
  5. Platform: Microsoft Word is a powerful desktop software available for Windows users, with companion apps for iOS and Android devices. Google Docs, on the other hand, is a cloud-based platform hosted online, compatible across all devices.

If you need advanced features and offline access, Microsoft Word is the preferable choice. On the other hand, if you prioritize seamless collaboration, cloud storage, and the convenience of working across multiple devices, Google Docs may be the perfect fit for your basic word processing needs. 

Microsoft Office vs Google Docs Comparing Main Features

Google Docs and Microsoft Word are both powerful word processing tools, each offering unique features to cater to different user preferences. Let's compare their main features to gain a better understanding:

Microsoft Word Features

  1. Availability: Microsoft Word needs to be installed on your device, and it's compatible with various operating systems, making it widely accessible.
  2. Powerful Document Processing: With a history dating back to 1989, Microsoft Word has evolved to provide efficient text formatting, image positioning, indexing, and dynamic table of contents.
  3. Seamless Integration: Word seamlessly integrates with other Microsoft Office programs like Excel, enhancing productivity through tasks like importing charts and graphs between applications.
  4. Wide Array of Templates: Microsoft Word offers a diverse range of templates, simplifying the creation of impressive documents such as resumes.

Google Docs Features

  1. Web-Based: Google Docs is an online word processor accessible via any web browser, eliminating the need for installation. Users can access files from any device with an internet connection using their Gmail account.
  2. Promotes Teamwork: Google Docs fosters collaboration by allowing multiple users to work simultaneously on the same document, enabling real-time edits, comments, and access control.
  3. Plethora of Editing Features: Similar to Microsoft Word, Google Docs provides numerous features for text formatting, image insertion, tables, and more, empowering users to create compelling documents.
  4. 100% Free: Google Docs is entirely free to use, making it an attractive option for budget-conscious users. However, additional storage space may require payment if the Google Drive limit is reached.

Microsoft Word excels in offline capabilities, advanced formatting, and seamless integration with other Office applications. On the other hand, Google Docs stands out with its web-based accessibility, real-time collaboration features, and cost-effectiveness. 

Google Docs vs. Microsoft Word: Which One Should You Use?

Google Docs and Microsoft Word are two leading word processing applications with their unique strengths and weaknesses. Let's compare them based on their main features to help you decide which one suits your needs:

User Access or Accessibility

Microsoft Word is available on various devices, including PC, Mac, and mobile devices, offering offline access, but requires installation.

Google Docs is entirely cloud-based, accessible from any browser and device with an internet connection, providing seamless collaboration and unlimited access.


Microsoft Word and Office 365 come with a price tag, either as a standalone product or through a subscription.

Google Docs is entirely free, requiring only a Gmail account, but additional storage may require payment.

Reliability and File Organization

Google Docs relies on a stable internet connection for viewing, editing, and saving files, with automatic autosave ensuring real-time access to documents.

Microsoft Word offers offline access and autosave features when connected to a Microsoft account, but files might be more prone to loss if saved locally.

Interface and Features

Google Docs boasts a user-friendly and streamlined interface, but may lack advanced features and third-party add-ons available in Word.

Microsoft Word offers an extensive set of templates and features, making it a heavyweight app for various writing tasks.


Microsoft Word is compatible with multiple operating systems and allows local file storage in addition to cloud storage.

Google Docs is accessible through any browser and is highly compatible with various file formats, giving it a slight advantage over Word in this aspect.


Google Docs excels in real-time collaboration with simple sharing options, allowing multiple users to edit simultaneously without the need for subscriptions.

Microsoft Word offers collaboration through Office 365, but all users need subscriptions for real-time collaboration, making it a more complex process.


Both Google Docs and Microsoft Word have mobile apps for iOS and Android devices, ensuring accessibility from anywhere.

Add-ons and Plugins

Microsoft Word offers a wide range of third-party connectors and plugins, enhancing its functionality and workflow capabilities.

Google Docs also has add-ons, but they might not be as robust or frequently updated as Word's, making Microsoft Word more suitable for professional use.

Google Docs excels in accessibility, simplicity, and real-time collaboration, making it ideal for basic word processing needs and teamwork. On the other hand, Microsoft Word stands out with its advanced features, offline capabilities, and extensive add-ons, making it more suitable for complex writing tasks and professional use.

Limitations of Free Google Docs: Offline Access and Control

Google Docs offers a free version for average users, while Microsoft Word comes with various pricing options. Here's a breakdown of the costs and limitations of both:

Google Docs

  • Free for average users.
  • Business version (G Suite) starts at $5 per user per month.
  • Entirely online, accessible from any browser, and saves documents to Google Drive cloud.
  • Limited offline access available, but internet connectivity is usually required for full functionality.
  • Potential issues during outages or server problems may disrupt access to files and editing.

Microsoft Word

Various pricing options:

  • One-time fee of $149.99 for a single installation.
  • Yearly fee of $69.99 or monthly fee of $6.99 for one computer installation.
  • Yearly fee of $99.99 or monthly fee of $9.99 for up to five computer installations.
  • Business plans priced differently, offering desktop and web-based access to Office apps.
  • Offline desktop version of Word allows users to work without internet connectivity.
  • Files are saved locally, giving users control over their documents even without internet access.

User-Friendly Google Docs vs. Feature-Rich Microsoft Word

Google Docs offers a user-friendly interface with a simplified layout and easy-access toolbar, making it more manageable and efficient compared to Microsoft Word, which is often overloaded with features and ribbons. Here's a breakdown of the differences:

  • User-Friendliness:
  • Google Docs streamlines the toolbar, placing frequently used buttons in an easy-access toolbar, and other options in dropdowns.
  • Microsoft Word's ribbons, such as References, Mailings, and Acrobat, can be overwhelming to navigate, and changing ribbons alters the entire toolbar.
  • Interface Comparison:
  • Microsoft Word's ribbons in both Windows and OS X versions contain a multitude of buttons, potentially leading to confusion for casual users.
  • Google Docs' toolbar is much simpler, focusing on essential functions for a more straightforward and intuitive user experience.
  • Customization:
  • Microsoft Word allows users to customize the toolbar to add frequently used buttons, but this process may be daunting for novice users.
  • Google Docs' straightforward layout reduces the need for extensive customization, ensuring quick access to frequently used tools.

Have you Tried Truly Office?

truly office

Alternatively, for those seeking a versatile middle ground between the feature-rich Microsoft Office and the user-friendly Google Docs, Truly Office offers an attractive solution. With Truly Office, you can enjoy a comprehensive office suite that combines powerful productivity tools with seamless collaboration, all while maintaining affordability.

Say goodbye to the dilemma of choosing between two giants and embrace Truly Office's diverse capabilities for a balanced and cost-effective approach to your document management needs.


Do I need Microsoft Office if I have Google Docs?

While Google Docs offers robust online document editing capabilities, Microsoft Office might still be necessary for users requiring advanced features and offline access.

What is the difference between Google Docs and Microsoft Word?

Google Docs is a cloud-based platform accessible from any device, whereas Microsoft Word is a desktop software with a more extensive range of formatting and layout options.

Can Google Docs replace Microsoft Office?

For basic document editing and collaboration, Google Docs can be a suitable replacement, but for complex tasks and specialized features, Microsoft Office might still be preferred.

What are the benefits of using Google Docs?

Google Docs provides real-time collaboration, automatic cloud backups, and seamless integration with other Google Workspace apps, enhancing productivity and collaboration.

Is Google Docs better than Office 365?

The choice depends on individual needs; Google Docs excels in collaboration and cloud accessibility, while Office 365 offers a comprehensive suite with diverse applications for various tasks.

Final Thoughts

The choice between Microsoft Office and Google Docs ultimately depends on individual needs and preferences. Microsoft Office offers a robust suite of applications with advanced features, making it an excellent choice for professionals and users who require extensive functionality, offline access, and seamless integration between various Office apps. 

On the other hand, Google Docs excels in simplicity, accessibility, and real-time collaboration, making it a strong contender for casual users and those who prioritize cloud-based work and team collaboration. Both options have their strengths, so users should consider their specific requirements and working styles to determine which productivity suite best suits their needs.

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