Google Docs isn’t worth the gamble

When you open a Microsoft Office application, you know what you’re going to get. Whether you’re working from a PC, a browser or a smartphone, the way the software functions is familiar and consistent. You don’t have to fret as to whether you’re seeing the Office document as it was intended. Productivity software is built to help people communicate. It’s more than just the words in a document or presentation; it’s about the tone, style and format you use to convey an overall message. People often entrust important information in these documents — from board presentations to financial analyses to book reports. You should be able to trust that what you intend to communicate is what is being seen.

Converting Office files into Google Apps is a gamble. See what happens below when our friend is given the opportunity to take the gamble.

On the web:

Why take the gamble on converting your Office files to Google Docs when you can use Microsoft Office and the Microsoft Office Web Apps to create, share and edit your Office files with your content intact? Converting Office files into Google Apps is a gamble. Don’t take our word for it; see for yourself. Below is a document created in Microsoft Office 2013 that we opened in both Google Docs and the Office Word Web Apps so you can see the difference:


As you can see, you can lose quite a bit when opening Microsoft Office files in Google Docs including text boxes, columns, graphics, image placement, watermarks, charts, text, spacing and more. The experience with both Excel and PowerPoint files is similar. Check out live side-by-side demos showing some examples here:

PowerPoint Web Apps vs. Google Presentations

Excel Web App vs. Google Spreadsheets

Word Web App vs. Google Documents

On a tablet:

Consistency and trust are really important when you choose a set of tools to help you communicate. Given the importance of mobile devices in our lives, that consistency and trust now extend to our phones and tablets. That is why we recently announced that we are bringing more of the Office experience to the Office Web Apps including the ability to edit and create Office files using the Office Web Apps on Android tablets-in addition to mobile devices in the Windows ecosystem and the iPad. Soon you will have the same consistency and familiarity of Office Web Apps on your tablet of choice. Google, on the other hand, only supports Android and iOS mobile devices. It provides you with two different experiences depending on whether you want to edit Google’s proprietary format, Google Docs or Microsoft Office files, Quickoffice. Each has separate compatibility issues. Our goal with the Office Web Apps is to provide people a reliable familiar experience to create Office documents from start to finish, all from the web and to deliver the tools that customers need to be productive anytime and anywhere.

Below is a screenshot of a document created in Microsoft Word 2013 and opened with QuickOffice on an iPad next to the same document opened with the Word Web App on the iPad.


Google Quickoffice does not convert Office files well due to its extremely limited feature set. As you can see, Quickoffice has different yet equally significant formatting and data loss issues compared to that of Google Docs.

With a viewer:

The last gamble with Google is how the company helps you view Microsoft Office documents using their file viewers. Even this is a gamble that may be too risky to take. Google has two Office file viewers: one is embedded into Google Drive, and the second is a new beta application that is part of the Google Chrome browser.


As you can see, even these simple viewers fail to provide you with an adequate picture of the content in the Office file even to the extent of merging two separate pages of the document in the Google Drive Office preview application.

Why gamble with your time and Office content? When you build and share compelling, accurate, and impactful information, make sure you get what you bargained for.

Keep an eye out for more to come on whether Google has the features and skills to play the productivity game…