Comparing Word Processing Programs

Users now have more options when it comes to selecting an application for their word processing needs. Both Microsoft and Google are recognised, well established brands in the tech field. So, which should you choose?

The answer largely depends on how you would use the applications. In this blog, we’ll be going through some of the key similarities and differences to help you decide which program is right for you!


Generally speaking, Microsoft Word is pretty well known for its broad functionality. It’s been around since 1989 and, like Google Docs, allows its users all the basic functionality you’d expect from a word processing program. Either application allows users to create documents, format text, insert tables, and allow files to be saved in multiple ways. However, it’s the additional features that Microsoft Word packs that truly sets it apart from Google in our opinion.

As a Microsoft company, we tend to use Word more often than Docs. This is largely due to Word’s ability to integrate with the other Microsoft products we use on a daily basis. This allows us to easily access and share our documents internally, and is also great when it comes to utilising features in Word such as mail merge.

Google Docs offers a lot of the same functionality as Microsoft Word, however, a key difference lies in how it is fully cloud functional. This means that Google Docs can be accessed from any device that has an up-to-date web browser!


Both Google Docs and Microsoft Word feature similar interfaces where the functionalities are located in the top ribbon. However, one key difference you’ll see in the below screenshots is that Microsoft Word features a more detailed interface. This reflects how much you can do with this application!

However, it is important to note that you are able to hide the Ribbon in Microsoft Word. To do this, simply click the drop-down arrow (located to the bottom right in the screenshot below) and select the display that works best for you.

Microsoft Word Interface
Microsoft Word’s Interface
Google Docs Interface
Google Doc’s Interface


Users are now able to use live, collaborative features in both Google Docs and Microsoft Word. With Google Docs, you can share your documents with up to 100 users who can all make edits in real-time! This is different from Microsoft Word, where you typically need to send the document to a user at a time. (Unless you are using other Microsoft products, wherein multi-user capability alters with ease!).

Sharing in Google Docs
It’s easy to share documents in both Microsoft Word and Google Docs!

Access and Compatibility

One of the key differences between the two programs is that Google Docs offers the ability to access your documents anywhere you can log in with your Google account credentials. This is different to Microsoft Word. Though there are many options to access your documents in a similar manner, (via other Office applications or otherwise), Word typically requires you to save a document to your device or an alternate form of storage before you can edit. Both programs now allow users to access their documents offline. This is a new feature, and Google users previously needed a G Suite Business account to achieve this.

Word and Docs are each compatible with the most common word processing formats (such as Word, PDF, rich text, etc.). Yet, Microsoft Word allows its users to import files at a far quicker rate than Google Docs. It is also generally better at displaying complex file formats across the different applications associated with Microsoft. In addition to this, Word is great for additional security features (such as offering users the ability to password protect features like track changes, comments, and forms)!

Cost and Value for Money

In terms of cost, Google Docs is available for free online and all you need is a registered Google account to begin. Microsoft users can also make the most of the free online version of Word, PowerPoint, and Excel—however, the desktop versions of these applications offer more functionality.

If you want to use the desktop versions, all you need is a relevant Microsoft License which will grant you access to even more!

Key Points and More Information

The bottom line is, both Microsoft Word and Google Docs are powerful word processing programs that are capable of fulfilling the basic needs of most users. The key differences lie in the below points:

  • A free Google account will give you more functionality than the free version of Microsoft Word.
  • The desktop version of Word offers more all-around functionality.
  • Microsoft Word is cleanly and easily integrated with other Microsoft Office applications.

Ultimately, it depends on what you are looking for as either a single user or a business. Microsoft Word is great for offering more functionality and integrating with your other applications for maximum capability. Google Docs is a good option if your primary concern relates to pricing.

If you would like more information about what else is included, why not get in contact or even book in for a free license review with us?

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