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G Suite vs Office 365 Part 2 – Documents, Spreadsheets, and Presentations

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A longtime Office user will view Google Docs as a cheap imitation of Office. At least at first.

In reality, Google products get the job done. You may need to search for how to do things in Docs, such as “how to adjust vertical alignment in a table.” But if you know how to do something in Office, there’s a good chance G Suite will do it too.

TL;DR Like you may have read in Part 1, I keep Office installed but now very rarely use it. That’s because the things Office does better are not deal-breakers for most tasks. I think the main exception is Excel, because Sheets does not have the same breadth of functions or processing power.

Note: Stay tuned for Part 3, where we’ll cover Google Drive vs. OneDrive and Sharepoint, as well as my final thoughts.

G Suite’s Web Apps vs Office’s Combination Approach

Online And Offline Availability – Office 365 applications are available as web apps as well as client apps on your computer, while G Suite apps are web-only. Office 365 web apps work only when you have an internet connection, while G Suite web apps work when you’re offline (turn on the Work Offline feature though).

O365 Web Feature Limitations – Office 365 client apps include more features than the O365 web apps; they are priced differently, so you pay more for offline access or advanced features.

Heavy Processing – You may notice significant slowdown in Sheets when processing thousands of rows of data and formulas; Excel’s desktop client can handle these complicated tasks much faster.

Docs vs Word – Either one will get you through the day

Google Docs Pros:

Collaboration – Google Docs beat Microsoft to collaborative editing by many years. Microsoft has now caught up, but everyone involved needs a paid Office 365 subscription; anyone with a free Gmail account can edit a Google Doc.

Google lets you assign edits and comments to people directly from the document to their inbox, a handy feature when you want someone to help with parts of a document.

Instant saves and version history – Google Docs saves constantly, and you can always go back to prior versions. That’s been a big improvement over Word. I’ve lost paragraphs or statements I really wanted because I saved and closed, losing my ability to Ctrl+Z to near-infinity. (Note: Office 365 apps now can save constantly, but you have to be working on the cloud-stored version of the doc, not the locally-stored version, severely limiting the usefulness of this feature.)

Word Pros:

Advanced Features – For some things like Mail Merge and revision tracking and markup, MS Word still has better advanced features built-in. That’s a recurring theme in G Suite vs Office.

Formatting and finishing – Word just seems to require fewer clicks to make the same formatting. I’ve learned to love the format painter in Google Docs simply because I find Docs’ formatting cumbersome at times.

PS – Microsoft just rolled out a refreshed look and feel for Word Online. I put it side by side with Google Docs. Look familiar?

Sheets vs Excel – Sheets has some great things, but Excel helps you go big

Sheets Pros:

Plugins – Sheets works very well with other Google products and makes installing add-ons easy. Of course, you can find the top 50 add-ons for both Sheets and Excel. However, Sheets brings specialized integrations like the Google Analytics add-on, enabling you to run reports with more variables than you can from Analytics itself.

Things already covered like version history and ease of collaboration are true here as well. Overall, I think Sheets offers fewer advantages over Office than Google’s other products.

Excel Pros:

Fewer bugs and faster with large files – Occasionally, in the middle of putting a complicated formula together, Sheets will lose my work. It’s typically if I’m clicking other sheets in succession. Excel, as a desktop application, seems better equipped to handle larger files without lag or bugs.

Chart customization –  I like to make pretty graphs, and Excel gives me more options. For instance, Excel allows you to place data labels (the legend) next to the bars or lines in a graph. Sheets only allows this with pie charts (or add-ins).

Formula interface – Excel provides an optional, on-screen interface for formulas. The modal window will persist between sheets. It helps if you are working with an unfamiliar Excel formula. Sheets lacks this feature entirely.

I still prefer Excel, but for day to day, I see no reason to leave Sheets. However, if I was working with much larger or complicated datasets, I would probably stick with Excel.

Slides vs PowerPoint

If your decision rests on the distinctions between these two, then please contact me at info@alpin.io. I would like to know more about your curious business.

For me personally, I see few advantages of one over the other, besides the general differences between G Suite and Office already discussed (collaborative, Office has some more features, etc). I enjoy the multi-monitor support and presenter view in PowerPoint; Slides is like going back 10 years in that respect.

On the other hand, I enjoy the diagram builder more in Slides. PowerPoint will do more things for you automatically, including breaking your diagrams (sometimes). Slides requires a little more manual work, but I think the end-products look better.

Lastly, some people mention that PowerPoint offers more animation and effects. To me, that’s just more ways to make obnoxious presentations (annual survey results from thinkoutsidetheslide.com). To quote from the link:

ou may think that choosing interesting colors and flashy animation effects will make you look “cool.”  They won’t. As one respondent said, “When color and animation are so distracting that all I can think about is how awful it is, and I’m completely distracted away from the subject matter.” Your design choices matter.