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Stop Using Word

This goes out particularly to arts nonprofits, with whom I work quite a bit, but it's a more general plea to small businesses (and maybe large ones):

Please stop using Microsoft Word for the vast majority of your documents.
Use Google Docs instead.

I have no connection to either company, so I don’t stand to gain or lose financially from your choice, but consider.

Word docs are emailed as attachments. When you need to find it again, you have to search your email. If more than one version was mailed, you have to make sure you find the right one. Did you save it in a downloads folder? Is it still just an attachment in your email? Which version? A Google doc is always up-to-date and you can always see how it looked in the past (using the "Version History" feature), and it's always in the same place—Google Drive.

Word docs cannot be collaboratively edited. If two people receive an attachment, and each one makes edits, there is no way to merge the edits. If you make edits to a version that turns out to be out-of-date, it is painful to try to replay your edits into the latest version, assuming you can confirm where that version is. Google Docs doesn't have this problem.

Word docs must be backed up. You do back up your hard drive or SSD, right? Because it's not a question of whether it will someday fail but when. You could back up your Word docs to the cloud, of course. But Google Docs are already there.

Word docs require Word. Word isn't free. Many universities/businesses have site licenses, so you personally may not have had to pay for your copy. But for individuals, Microsoft Office (now called Microsoft 365) runs between $70-$150. And it will not run on Chromebooks, which are much cheaper than Windows or Mac computers and often a great choice for low-intensity tasks. Google Docs is free, as in beer.

But Google Docs can only be edited if you're connected to the Internet! You can't view or edit them when disconnected! Wrong. Yes you can.

But Word has a million features that Google Docs lacks. True, but when's the last time you used such a feature? (OK, Outline Mode is pretty cool. But for short documents it's rarely needed, and for long documents neither Word nor Docs is adequately powerful.)

But Word has many more pretty fonts. Wrong. Also, you should leave font choices to professionals. Unless you're a designer or typographer and going for a very specific aesthetic, do us all a favor and stick to the classics—Times New Roman, Helvetica, Courier/Monaco/Consolas, and so on.

So should I use Google Sheets and Google Slides instead of Excel and PowerPoint? Maybe. I find Google Sheets takes care of the vast majority of my simple Excel needs, but I'm not an Excel power user, and full Excel is far superior to Google Sheets. And Google Slides is definitely nowhere near PowerPoint. But for bread-and-butter memos, short documents, meeting minutes, and the like, for me GDocs over Word is a no-brainer.
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