Comparison of Google Docs (Drive) and Office Web Apps

Comparison of Google Docs (Drive) and Office Web Apps

Comparing Google Docs (Drive) and Microsoft Office Web Apps is similar to comparing cupcake flavors. Although they both belong to the same tool category and perform basic tasks efficiently, each has unique features. Just as you have personal preferences for cupcake flavors, you might favor Google Docs or Office Web Apps depending on your ecosystem dependence.


Compatibility is the most important factor when comparing web-based editors. It refers to how well these editors handle complex documents with images, tables, and rich-text. To test this, I uploaded my college project documentation and presentations, which were edited in Word and PowerPoint, to both editors.

Comparison of Google Docs (Drive) and Office Web Apps

When comparing the files, Google Docs provided the necessary text but with messed up formatting. The word art and table formatting disappeared, affecting the document alignment. On the other hand, Office Web Apps retained the rich text formatting and displayed centred and right-aligned images and tables. To see how a rich document would look on either service, check out this live online demo.


If you come from a Windows background and use Microsoft Office 2007 or above, you will feel at home while working on Office Web Apps. Just like any other application, Microsoft provides Ribbon and buttons readily available to the user while editing a document. In comparison, Google Docs can be compared to Office 2003 or Open Office, which has all the features but hides them in menus. This simplicity makes Google Docs easy to use.

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Comparison of Google Docs (Drive) and Office Web Apps

If you’re a Windows user who loves keyboard shortcuts and a simple interface, you’ll love Google Docs.

Storage and Sharing

Another great aspect of document sharing is the ease and storage space provided by both services. They offer similar sharing features, with the main difference being the real-time collaboration feature. In Google Docs, multiple authors can see all edits made by each collaborator in real-time. In contrast, Office Web Apps locks a paragraph when a collaborator is working on it, reflecting changes and removing the lock once the document is saved.

Comparison of Google Docs (Drive) and Office Web Apps

Microsoft is the clear winner in terms of free storage and paid pricing. They offer 7 GB of free storage with every new account, which is 2 GB more than what Google Drive offers. For paid storage, SkyDrive charges $50 per year, while Google Drive charges slightly less, just under $60. However, if you need more than 100 GB of storage, Google Drive is your only choice.

When downloading a document from Office Web Apps, you can only download it in Microsoft Office format. In contrast, Google Docs supports various formats including PDF, HTML, and RTF. Therefore, if you plan to compose and share your document as a PDF file, Google is your only option. It also supports download in Open Office formats.


These are the key differences between Google Docs and Office Web Apps from a normal end user perspective. I won’t give a verdict, but I’d like to know which one you would choose. Tough decision, huh?

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