Google keeps up the pace.
If you compare apples to apples, then the Google Docs word processor in Google Apps has quite a few features that put it head and shoulders above Microsoft Office 365’s online version of Word, officially called Microsoft Word Web App.
Google Docs comes off much worse in a comparison if you include the combined might of Microsoft Office 365 with the desktop suite Microsoft Office 2010 (or 2011 for Mac), which are tightly integrated with each other.
But adding the cost of the Microsoft desktop suite (retail price from US$280 to US$500 per user for the disk-less business versions) pushes the Microsoft approach much higher than the US$5 per user per month charged for both Google Apps and Office 365.
So, counting down, here are the top 10 features that the current version of Microsoft Word Web App lacks.
10. Better layout tools. Google Docs can insert page breaks, headers, footers, bookmarks and table of contents.
9. Document layout. Google Docs has a ruler and can define margins and orientation (portrait or landscape).
8. Insert drawings. Google Apps includes Google Drawing, which Google Docs users can use to create their own drawing and insert it in a document. Useful for quick sketches. No drawing tool is included in Microsoft Office 365.
7. Comments and footnotes. For basic annotation of a document. A big one for students.
6. Word count. This is a big plus for students, journalists and others who make a living from writing.
5. Revision history. This is viewable within the document itself by time and date with changes made at each point highlighted. Word Web App does have revision history but it can only be accessed when the document is closed.
4. File formats. Google Docs can be saved and download in ODT, PDF, RTF, Text, Word and HTML formats. Microsoft Word Web App automatically selects .docx for new documents, with no alternatives. It can open an existing document saved in any Word format, however.
3. Online collaboration. It is much easier for multiple users to work on the same spreadsheet, document or presentation. Online collaboration is not even possible for Microsoft Word Web App.
2. Find and replace. A major omission for Microsoft not just in Word Web App but also the Excel and PowerPoint Web Apps too.
1. Autosave. A critical issue. Google saves documents every couple of seconds without you thinking about it. Microsoft Word still relies on autorecovery which swings into action if your browser crashes and gives you a roughly 30-minute window to restore your changes or lose them. Keep pressing that Save button.
Read on for the 10 vital features that Google Docs lacks compared to the joint might of Microsoft Office 365 plus Microsoft Office 2010.