Is Google Docs the way to go?(11 Posts)
I have just bought a new, very cheap laptop after years with the same one and I find that the world has changed when it comes to the microsoft office programmes. I had office installed on my laptop via a disc which I owned. Now, it all seems to be subscriptions which is pissing me off as it seems far more expensive than before.
I have a vague idea about things like Google docs. Is this the way to go now? Or do I get caught up in constantly having to upgrade that too?
Thanks for your guidance. I swear it is only seven years since I bought my last laptop but everything has changed!
I think it depends what you'll be using it for. I have a Chromebook, so I only really use Google drive (the suite of Google docs, drawings and spreadsheets). I really like it, and find the layout much more intuitive than newer versions of Word. I also like that you can share documents with others and edit them together in real time, rather than having to email edited versions of a Word document back and forth. And as long as you have internet access it auto-saves to the cloud every few seconds, so you never have to worry about remembering to save or losing your work. (If you're not constantly connected to the internet it's quite straightforward to set it up for offline use - it'll just save to your computer instead and then sync to the cloud once you're back online.)
The downsides I've found are that if someone sends you a Word document and you open it in Google drive sometimes the formatting changes. Not for paragraphs of prose, but if it's something complex with lots of tables and tabs, images inset into the text etc. Also it doesn't have the "track changes" feature that Word has, so if you use that a lot then you'll definitely notice its absence in Google docs.
Thanks. I do do editing of word documents but without tables usually. Perhaps I just need to try it and see. I also want it for DD who is getting her first computer at Christmas. PErhaps it would be confusing for her as Word is so dominant.
I hate all this subscription nonsense though. I want to own what I own!
I did see on an american site links to the microsoft site where you could buy single elements of the word suite, like powerpoint, as a one off. I can´t seem to find a UK version though. I really only need powerpoint and word, so that would be ideal if I could only work it out.
Libreoffice - it is free and looks like MSOffice
Libre Office is great. I would never buy Microsoft Office.
You can track changes in Google Docs.
'To make tracked edits in Google Docs, pop open the 'Editing' menu at the top right hand corner of your document. Your Google Doc now functions exactly as a Word Doc when you turn on 'Track Changes' You can see who made the change, when they made it and what the change was, just as you can in Word'
And you can share your docs and see their track changes as they make them.
You can use Word Online and Powerpoint Online for free. I use Google at work extensively and it has got fantastic collaboration features, definitely the best. However, it does have some limitations as a tool for complex document writing - cross-referencing, paragraph numbering and the ability to view a document map. However, you can use it for free and see if it will meet your needs and likewise compare with Word Online, which should be similar enough to what your dd will ultimately use at a school that she won't get confused.
No upgrades for Google docs, as it all runs in the browser. You will need to use Chrome to be able to work offline. I suspect with a very cheap laptop you're better off not trying to install the office software locally anyway as it may make it run like a dog. See how you get on with the online versions first and then decide.
Online tools have 2 huge disadvantages - you can only use them online and you are dependent on your internet speed.
Google's suite works offline as well, but yes internet speed will be a factor.
MS Office 365 is only £59.99 (one device) for a yearly subscription (£79.99 for up to five devices), which is roughly what I used to pay for Office when it was a boxed product.
I really like that it gets upgraded as soon as new iterations are released, without having to buy a new product each year. I have all my Adobe products on subscription too. You also get 1TB of cloud storage, and 60 mins of Skype phone calls per month.
But... and this is a big but... I don't have any need of collaboration features, so I don't see any point in using Google (for me). Plus, I'm not always in locations with decent internet (sometimes no internet), so again, Google would be pretty useless. Also, I've been using Office since 1995, and find it to be far easier to work with than other suites.
Open Office might work for you too, though - like Google, it's also free. www.openoffice.org/
OpenOffice isn't getting much love these days LibreOffice had the same base code but gets substantially more work done on it.
Join the discussion
Please login first.