Google Docs vs Word
In this comparison of Google Docs vs Word, we’ll outline the basics and review some features they have in common. We’ll give you a side-by-side comparison and highlight some reviewer insights on Word versus Google Docs. If you’re a writer, make sure you stick with us to discover the features writers will love in both Google Docs and Word.

  • Google Docs vs Word
  • How Do I get Google Docs?
  • Does Google Docs work for Mac?
  • Is Word compatible with Google Docs?
  • What Does Microsoft Word cost?
  • Is Google Docs Free?

Google Docs vs Word: Basics

When it comes to getting Google Docs vs Word, the process to get Google Docs is much simpler. In fact, those of you who already have a Gmail account for your email probably already have Google Docs, and you don’t even realize it. Google Docs (word processing), Gmail (email), and Google Drive (storage) are just three of the more commonly used components of the GSuite program package provided by Google. The entire package is available at no cost to both PC and Mac users.

Getting Microsoft Word if you don’t already have it, will take a bite out of your wallet. For $9.99 monthly you can subscribe to Office 365 which includes Word, or you can pay the licensing fee to get the full version for your PC or Mac. There is a free version of Word Online available, but its features are limited.

It’s relatively easy to move between Google Docs and Microsoft Word as demonstrated in this Google export tutorial because both programs include options to export into multiple different file formats.

Features of Word vs Google Docs:

Speech Recognition

Google Docs has a Speech Recognition add-on which appears to work well. This means you could speak your story, article, or text without having to type it. You would, of course, have to go back and do detailed proofreading, especially in the beginning until your voice is fully recognized. You can configure spoken commands for punctuation and move to the next line.

It was easy for me to have it working within just a few minutes. Word appears to have the ability to dictate text using speech recognition as a feature of Windows, but I wasn’t able to set it up easily just for Word. It appears you have to set up voice commands for all programs rather than just Word.


There are a range of Google Docs add-ons broken down into categories such as business tools, Education, Productivity, Social and Communication, and Utilities. You can also browse all add-ons or search by keyword to find the ones that suit your needs.

MS Word also offers a fair selection of add-ins in categories such as Best Apps of the Year, Communication, Document Review, Editor’s Picks, Education, File Converters & Viewers, Productivity, Reference, Sales & Marketing, Search, Training & Tutorial, and Utilities.

The downside for the Word add-ins is that the majority of them indicated an additional purchase might be needed for use whereas it seemed many more of the add-ins for Google Docs were free.

Google Docs vs Word 2017: Side-by-Side

Saving and syncing are automatic in Google Docs, and it has a revision history that lets you view all previous revisions.

Using Google Docs or Word you can export files quickly and easily into a Word document (.doc or docx), an OpenDocument, PDF, .rtf (rich text), .txt (plain text), or even Html format. Google Docs recently added the ability to export into Epub format which is great if you intend to digitally publish your document.

Inserting header and footer information is simple and intuitive in Google Docs versus Word. Even though I’ve used MS Word for many years, formatting of headers, footers, page numbers, footnotes and other special features are still frustrating, and yet in Google Docs, I could figure it out in minutes.

Word vs Google Docs: What Reviewers Say in 2017

Reviewers rave across the board about Google Docs. Pros include the ability to use Google Docs on an Android phone with a Bluetooth keyboard; to write wherever and whenever their muse shows up; and to edit, share, and publish once they are on their PC or Mac.

The good news is that MS Word is now available for just about anyone on any device. The downside is many users still experience crashes and lost work in Word and while its collaborative features have improved greatly in recent years, they there still some sync problems and they don’t work quite as nicely as Google Docs.

Google Docs vs Word for Writers

Word vs Google Docs

Collaborative Writing

Google offers three different modes of working with your documents, including:

  • Editing mode for complete control over the document
  • Suggesting mode which displays edits as suggestions for review
  • Viewing which limits permissions to read only.

Assign co-authors and even editors editing privileges; beta readers can work in suggesting or viewing mode. Word offers “track changes” and “insert comments” features which are popular with traditional publishing editors. It makes it easy to accept changes one by one or all at once. Using Microsoft OneDrive or SharePoint allows for multiple people to work on a document together.

Research Panels

Word comes built-in with a Research side panel and Smart Lookup. Both features can be found and toggled on and off under References. Word also offers a Wikipedia add-in under Insert which you can then access by highlighting a word or phrase and right clicking. These features can save time for writers who need to do research on a topic or look up a word or phrase.

In Google Docs, a similar research feature is available but feels less intrusive to the writing process. Simply right click on a word or phrase to quickly open the panel and define or “Explore” the chosen word or phrase. You can insert images with a click of a button, find quotes on a topic, etc.

In both Google Docs and Word, the search results come right into the Research panel on the right side of your document so you can choose which one seems most relevant and then go view that page.

Helpful Add-ons

Add-ons that writers will love in Google Docs include Track my Words, Screenplay Formatter, Better Word Count, Doc Tools, Conditional Text Highlighter, table of contents, easy accents, and much more. You can use this as a foundation to create letters, magazines or even an online directory. Word didn’t appear to have as many choices other than standard spelling or grammar apps.

Summary: Word 2016 vs Google Docs

From my comparison of Word 2016 vs Google Docs, surprisingly Google Docs was a clear winner for its ease of use, functionality, and ease on the wallet. If you’re one of those users who continues to hang in with MS Word 2016 simply because it seems less frustrating than switching, you may want to reconsider and give Google Docs a try.

You should also check our Google Docs vs Office page. In this comparison of Google Docs vs Office, we’ll outline the basics and review the common features. We’ll give you a side-by-side comparison and share some reviewer testimonials about Office and Google Docs. Writers read on for some features that are sure to please in both Office and Google Docs. We’ll summarize our review with final thoughts.

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