Google Docs

A Full Review of Google Docs, a Free Online Word Processor

Screenshot of a document in Google Docs
Google Docs

Google Docs, a part of Google Drive, is the most popular and arguably the best free online word processor available.

It's easy to create, upload, save, share, and collaborate on documents at Google Docs, and they can be created and edited with a rather impressive selection of formatting options.

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Pros & Cons

You can't find a better online word processor tool than Google Docs:

Pros:

  • Accepts most popular file formats
  • Files can be downloaded in a variety of formats
  • Documents are auto-saved to your Google account
  • Has an uncluttered and simple interface
  • Easy to share your documents or keep them private
  • Automatically identifies spelling errors
  • Embedded chat application makes it easy to collaborate

Cons:

  • Only works as fast as your Internet connection
  • You must be logged on to use it
  • Missing advanced formatting and style options only found in a traditional word processor
  • Uploading other document files sometimes results in missing or changed formatting

More Information on Google Docs

Here are some additional noteworthy features you can enjoy with the free Google Docs:

  • Documents in Google Docs can be started from scratch or from public templates
  • Google Docs can open files from your computer and your Google Drive account, such as Microsoft Word's DOC, DOCX, DOCM, and DOTM files, as well as the popular HTML, RTF, and TXT formats
  • Folders full of documents can be uploaded at once or you can choose single documents only
  • While uploaded documents (which you can do here) counts toward the 15 GB storage space offered for free with Google Drive, any document created from scratch with Google Docs (or uploaded and converted to Google Docs' native format) does not count against this space
  • Documents saved in Google Docs can be saved to your Google Drive account and used again in any browser, as well as downloaded offline in the DOCX, ODT, RTF, PDF, TXT, or EPUB format
  • A full revision history shows changes made to a document, with each change marking who it was that did it, which is handy if you're working with multiple people
  • The page color, paper size, orientation, and margins can all be customized
  • Google Docs also lets you type using your voice. You can learn more about this feature here
  • As with any good word processor, Google Docs has an Undo and Redo button to quickly correct any mistakes
  • The formatting options let you manipulate text with bold, italic, underline, strikethrough, superscript and subscript, alignment, varying font sizes, paragraph styles, line spacing, and more
  • Images, hyperlinks, equations, drawings, tables, footnotes, special characters, page numbers, page breaks, headers/footers, and bookmarks can be inserted into a Google Docs document
  • A built-in search tool lets you research without leaving Google Docs, like look up word definitions, find and import images, and use famous quotes in your document
  • In just a couple clicks, documents can be copied and translated into dozens of languages
  • Add-ons can be added to Google Docs to provide additional features
  • Deleted documents are kept in the Trash section so you can easily restore them
  • Google Docs can use Gmail to share a document with others as an attachment or shared link to the online version
  • Documents can be printed directly from Google Docs as well as shared with the world through a public link and embedded in a website through the Publish to the web option
  • The Office Editing for Docs, Sheets & Slides is a browser extension for Google's own Chrome web browser that lets you open and edit online documents without having to download them to your computer first, and then upload them to Google Docs. It's also a quick way to edit the document files on your computer by just dragging them into the Chrome browser

My Thoughts on Google Docs

There's not much I don't like about Google Docs.

I still find myself using Microsoft Word but if there are documents I'm sharing for work or with family then Google Docs is the way to go.

If you have a descent Internet connection and don't have a great need for all the bells and whistles of a traditional word processing software, then save yourself hundreds of dollars and sign up for the free Google Docs.

Note: If you already have a Gmail, Google Plus, or YouTube account, you can login to Google Docs with that same information since they're all Google products.

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If you like Google Docs, I highly recommend checking out Google's other online tools, Google Slides and Google Sheets, if you're looking for a free alternative to Microsoft Office.