The Paradigm of Microsoft Office vs. Google Docs

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As I am a little late into working on my graduate degree, a fair number of my courses have younger students in them. One can never escape group projects, even on a fully online degree. With that said, discussion comes up on how to collaborate. Being almost 30 years old, I grew up in the era where Microsoft was dominant. In a finance course where classmates are roughly 24-26, they grew up in the era where Google was dominant in most software and services, and continues to be today.

Growing up on Office, I consider myself somewhat an expert on its capabilities with formatting, tables, creating reports, importing Excel sheets and the like. To me, Google Docs feels like the Fisher-Price stepchild of Office. For complex situations such as grad school documents, reports, and appendices, Office has always worked, and worked well. Google Docs lacks many of the salient features that make it usable for such a case. However, my younger cohorts seem to blast away at it, however, lacking important formatting issues that Docs simply cannot manage.

Features such as hotkeys and second line indents, table of contents and research inclusion are quite difficult and not very intuitive on such a platform. Office does have everything Docs has and more, including the sharing feature and real-time coauthoring. This slight paradigm shift from Microsoft to Google domination of the market happened quickly, and does not make anyone think twice about what the right tool for the right job is.

I sure hope my teammates know what they’re doing in terms of proper formatting in Docs, because I don’t. At the end of the day, this is also why there are certifications for Office, but none for Google’s platform exist. Granted Docs is easiest for simple note taking, but again, OneNote solves all of those problems for me, and some. Even if the world continues to shift to Google Docs and its increased usage, I’ll be a loyal Office user for years to come.

Comments (2)

2 responses to “The Paradigm of Microsoft Office vs. Google Docs”

  1. hrlngrv

    In Google Docs you can have 2nd+subsequent line indent/outdent using separate controls in the ruler, similar to one way to do it in Word. As for intuitive, that's subjective. For you, given your usage and experience, Office is more intuitive. For your classmates, Google's web apps would seem to be more intuitive.

    For me, spreadsheets matter more than the other components. Google Sheets lacks table and pivot table/pivot chart support close to Excel's level, and using Google's variant of JavaScript for limited automation and user-defined functions isn't as comprehensive as what VBA provides for Excel. OTOH, given Google Sheet's FILTER, SORT, UNIQUE and regular expression functions, there's A LOT OF THINGS for which Google Sheets is one helluva lot easier and less error-prone than Excel. Part of the problem with Excel is that MSFT has preferred to provide dozens of additional functions rather than revise existing functions. With respect to Excel at least, there's much MSFT does poorly.

  2. ians

    Google Docs and Sheets, Slides, Drawings, Keep, Maps integration, Sites integration, Google Classroom integration, and importantly, Forms, all work together extremely well. They don't take up Google Drive storage, and they all are powered by the robust GDrive sharing options with permissions on a folder-by-folder basis and shared to a domain (GSuite) or personal (Google Account). The fact that there is only 1 login for consumer & business and for the majority of users, enough features, Google is taking over the workplace and more. Everyone has a Google account, not everyone has a Microsoft account.

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