The Student News Site of Bryan High School

The Norseman

The Norseman

The Norseman

Microsoft provides One solution for everyday problems

I guess I could do a fancy introduction, but this is going to be a long article, so I’ll just jump straight to the point.

An unfortunate number of people are suffering under the delusion that Google Docs is actually better than Microsoft Word. Perhaps I should cut people some slack, especially teenagers. In school, all of us are required to use Google Docs. Why? In elementary and middle school, it was a great option for classroom settings, allowing things like sharing and internet access.

But times have changed, and Microsoft Office has made up the distance. However, tons of people are still clinging to their precious, oh so simple Google Docs. There are numerous reasons to prefer Word over Docs, despite emotional attachments people have.

One of the biggest things people take issue with is the price. Google Docs is completely free, and Microsoft is not. However, though it has the reputation of being very expensive, Microsoft Office can be affordable.

One of the more common plans is called Office 365. At $100 a year, six people can use Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook (email), Publisher (desktop publishing), Access (database management), Skype (60 minutes a month to anyone outside of Skype, but Skype-to-Skype calls are free), and OneDrive (cloud storage with a terabyte of storage per person).

Through OneDrive, one has access to Word, PowerPoint, and Excel Online, available anywhere with internet access. Users can even access the online versions without paying anything if they have a free Microsoft account, albeit with limited storage. It’s also compatible with PCs, Macs, Androids, and IOS systems.

Don’t need six people? That’s fine, there’s an individual version with everything previously mentioned included for $70 a year.

Only want the bare basics of Word, PowerPoint, and Excel? Buy the Office Home and Student package for a one-time $150 price. It may not be free, but Microsoft is not as outlandishly expensive as it’s made out to be.

But why pay money at all when you can get things for free with Google? As the saying goes, if a product is free, the user is the product. For anyone unfamiliar with the expression, this means the company is still making money off of the user, but by other means than by paying for the product. Because Google is free, it has to get money from somewhere, or it wouldn’t make a profit. So while Google users are happily making documents, Google is looking at that information and using it for targeted advertising. Even though I don’t have anything to hide, I don’t want strangers looking at my stuff. Who does?

One of the many nice things about Microsoft is that you can edit offline. Since it started out as a desktop application, it has stuck to its roots in remaining that way. However, it’s also caught up with the times and allows online access through OneDrive.

Simply transfer the document to OneDrive (or just create it in OneDrive), and users instantly have access to it anywhere with internet and can share it with anyone.

Even if one uses OneDrive to access the document, if the device has Word, you have the option to open the document there and work on it. Though Word Online is much more simple than regular Word for functionality purposes, its features are pretty much just regular Google Docs.

And what can Docs do? Yeah, you can edit offline…if you’re already connected to the internet, using Google Chrome, have an extension, and are not on private browsing (which as a writer who looks up weird stuff for research, I’m always on private browsing).

And if their servers are down? Too bad so sad. Word can save locally, so you have more control, and on the cloud, so you have access from anywhere.

I will give it to Google that collaboration is slightly easier with Docs, but even in the time I’ve been using OneDrive, it’s vastly improved. Really, the main problem is that uploads are not as instantaneous as in Google Docs, but that is only a real issue if two people are editing the exact same part of the document at the same time.

In reality, the most common place this might occur is school projects, but even then, it would be specific cases. In Word, users can also leave comments, look at previous versions of documents, and compare changes.

Additionally, Microsoft Word has so many more options. Its list of fonts alone makes Google Doc’s list look weak and feeble. One can barely even draw simple shapes in Google Docs, having to go through this whole rigamarole of drawing indirectly through a pop-up window. I’m not even sure how to describe it.

Stylistic options are off the charts in comparison to Docs. For a while, Docs wouldn’t even let you cut, copy, or paste through menus, only through keyboard shortcuts. Formatting in Docs is awful, and sometimes a graphic will not be the same if opened elsewhere.

Some complain that Microsoft Word is hard to navigate, but really, it’s common sense. Instead of drop down menus, there’s a ribbon across the top with different tabs like “Home,” “Insert,” and “Design,” each tab containing a wealth of different options. If users don’t like the ribbon being constantly up, they can hide it. There’s also a customizable bar at the top where users can place some of their most frequent commands, like “open” or “save.”

Speaking of saving, a frequent criticism of Word is that it doesn’t have an autosave feature. However, if the document is uploaded on OneDrive, there is an autosave feature. It’s not as instantaneous as Docs, but it does save automatically. And, really, as convenient as autosave may be, saving documents as they are being worked on is a good habit. People also complain about computers breaking and all their work being lost, but really, it’s not that hard to simply upload files onto the cloud or on a flashdrive. If you know your computer’s getting old, start backing it up. Don’t be so irresponsible with your computer that it breaks, at least physically, before you were expecting. Even if it won’t turn on, it is possible to still recover files from the inside of the computer. It doesn’t always vanish into the ether. 

Google’s autocorrect also leaves much to be desired, sometimes telling me that words are wrong that I can look up in the dictionary and giving me terrible grammatical tips. While Word hasn’t always been perfect, it’s easy to understand how an unusually-structured sentence may have triggered something in their system. I almost always take Word’s useful suggestions and almost always reject Google Docs’s awful corrections.

So…where does Docs have any sort of edge on Word? There is a slight edge on collaboration in Google Docs, but really, Word has worked great for me in collaboration. I’ve done several school presentations through PowerPoint and shared them with my teachers, and for the past several years, I’ve been working on a novel with a friend through Microsoft Word. After working a couple of kinks out, it’s worked beautifully, helpfully sending me an email any time she edits, allowing me to compare documents to see what she’s done, leave comments when I have questions about something, and then when I’m working, automatically uploading my work. We tried Google Docs for a time, but it just did not work well. With such a large document, it was difficult to navigate, but in Word, once it’s loaded, it’s loaded. And it only takes maybe 30 seconds for a document of over 250 pages long to fully be pulled up.

I hate how I’m typing this on Google Docs, but my journalism teacher makes us write all of our articles on Docs. Otherwise, I’d be happily using Word. Word is superior to Docs in nearly every aspect, and wherever it’s lacking, it makes up for it in another area. So don’t listen to the lies told about Word being so complicated and inferior. Take just a little bit of time to learn navigation and formatting, and you’ll be able to do things you never realized you could on a document…because Docs just can’t do it.

Donate to The Norseman

Your donation will support the student journalists of Bryan High School. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Norseman