Microsoft Office has become a staple of almost all businesses. We don’t really even talk about Word Processors any more, we just talk about Word. But, at $300 – $350 for the full version, it can quickly become a very expensive choice. For a company with 100 employees, this comes out to a cost of $300,000! And, assuming that Office is upgraded every 3 years, that cost continues to grow!
But, is there really any other option? Don’t I just have to own Microsoft Office if I want to work with the rest of the world? The answer is a resounding NO! There are many options. And, the best news is that many of them are FREE!
I want to look at just one option here – Google Docs. This is, in my opinion, one of the best options available to replace Microsoft Office. It has most of the critical features found in Word, Excel and PowerPoint, and it is free! 100% FREE! And, Google Docs, offers some great collaboration tools that you simply cannot find in Microsoft Office. So, if you are interested in saving $300 per employee, and want to work together better, read on!
First of all, let me say that this isn’t a review of Google Docs. Nor is this a side by side comparison of the benefits of Google Docs versus the benefits of Microsoft Office. All I want to do, is introduce people to Google Docs, and maybe, just maybe, make you think that there might be another option.
Google Docs provides an excellent replacement to MS Word, MS Excel, and MS PowerPoint. Below you will see my file listing (well, part of it), in Google Docs:
Looking over the list, you’ll see that my files include Word Processor docs, Spreadsheet Docs, and PDF’s. Also, you will notice that many of them are shared – “me to 1 collaborator”. This means that we BOTH can work on the document.
Recently I was working on a project with a client. She e-mailed me a list of edits in a Word Doc. I made the changes and noted all my changes/question in BLUE. Then e-mailed the new document back to the client. She made further comments, this time in red. The client’s associate also made comments and clarifications, this time in green. The process continued a back and forth process until the Word document was basically useless.
There is, of course, a better way. All three of us could have been working on the SAME document. Then we can see all the revision
Once I open up a Google Doc, you’ll see from the file menu an option to “See revision history”. Clicking on this option brings up a screen like the one below:
From this screen, you can see the entire revision history, when the revision was made, and who made the revision. You can instantly roll back to a previous version and then come back to the current revision.
Now, there is never a need to e-mail documents back and forth. No need to invent different colors for everyone on the team. And, no need to use the ultimately annoying track changes in MS Word (where every change, every spelling fix, everything has a line and box beside it).
Now, just share the doc on Google and you can all work together.