There’s no doubt that Apple and Microsoft are two of the dominant software giants in the market today. For Mac users, Apple has the iWork software suite, which includes Apple Pages. The comparable software suite for PC users is Microsoft Office.
Microsoft has done a LOT of experimentation in recent years with offerings such as Office 365 and Microsoft Online in an attempt to provide the collaborative sharing needed by businesses and individual users.
These two software giants have recently made it easier for Mac users to get access to MS Word. Pages is also available for iOS devices and as a cloud-based app which works for PC users.
But there’s a relatively “new” kid that has crept somewhat quietly into the office software block, and that is Google. In fact, you may already be using Google Docs, and other offerings like Google Calendar and Google Drive. These are all part of Google’s software package G Suite, a software suite that parallels the offerings of MS Office and Apple iWork.
Pages versus Google Docs-Get Up and Running
Because G Suite was cloud-based from the start, users quickly discovered that Google Docs could be collaborative in real-time. You can get free access to Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides, along with Google Drive storage simply by opening a Google account with an email address. In fact, if you already have a Gmail account, you may already be using parts of G Suite without even realizing it. It’s that easy to use and completely free.
For those who need more storage, there is an option to upgrade G Suite to 1 TB per user for $10 monthly. With the upgrade, you also get an ad-free business email with a customized email firstname.lastname@example.org instead of one ending in gmail.com.
Apple Pages is also available for PC users as a cloud-based app, called Pages for iCloud. It’s quick and easy to get access to Pages. Simply set up an Apple ID using your name and email address. Verify your email address, enter the code provided, and you can access Pages as a cloud-based app from your PC, Mac, or iOS devices. I followed this process to access Pages for iCloud on my PC, to get a first-hand look at this article.
So, for this Pages vs Google Docs review, I accessed both iCloud Pages on my PC and Google Docs and simply poked around a bit playing with the available features. Here is what I found:
Pages Versus Google Docs: Look and Feel
When comparing the look, and feel of the user interface in Pages versus Google Docs, you’ll find many similarities. Google Docs more closely resembles a scaled down MS Word interface, complete with pull-down file menus like in Word. Both Pages and Google Docs are word processing programs. But they are designed to be just the basics, without all the page layout and formatting options that most people don’t take full advantage of in MS Word anyhow.
I was able to quickly insert, modify, and then delete a table in Pages and Google Docs, something that always seemed to be fraught with frustration in Word. As a long-time MS Word user, I found the Google Docs screen and file menu very familiar.
The iCloud Pages app immediately looked and felt very foreign to me, and this initially threw me off a bit. But I dove in, and within minutes I could quickly format my document, almost quicker than in MS Word which I’m very comfortable using.
So, I can confidently say that when considering the learning curve of Pages versus Google Docs, Pages wins out hands down.
I had two minor frustrations with both Pages and Google Docs. As a heavy MS Word user, I have come to rely on the formatting available through the right click menu, mainly copy and paste features. For both Pages and Google Docs, you must use the Ctrl-X and Ctrl-V keyboard commands to copy and paste. Not a huge deal, but it did slow me down at first.
Also, both Pages and Google Docs save your file automatically and don’t ask you to name your file before you get started. Google Docs does have a “rename” option on the file menu which is helpful. In Pages, files are named untitled, untitled 1, untitled 2 initially. You must exit the editing screen, click the file you just finished editing and give it a name. If you aren’t diligent about renaming files, you could end up checking multiple files name untitled 1, 2, etc. to find the file you want.
Pages vs Google Docs-Import/Export
In comparing file compatibility for Pages versus Google Docs, both programs seem to hold their own. In Google Docs, you can export into a .docx,. odt, rtf, .txt, html, zipped (web page), or even a .epub file formats.
Note: I was able to create a file in both Pages and Google Docs, download it as an MS Word file and then open it using MS Word with no funkiness or conversion issues at all. I see this compatibility as a huge plus for anyone looking to switch from MS Word when it comes to Pages versus Google Docs.
Pages for iOS lets you export to .docx (Word), .pdf (PDF), and a .epub (E publication) and open files in Pages ’05 or later, plain text (.txt), or MS Word-Office Open XLM (.docx) and .doc (Office 97 or later). Mac or PC versions of Pages have additional file format capability when exporting.
Pages vs Google Docs-Helpful Features
When it comes to the standard word processing features that most users will need regularly, Pages and Google Docs both make the grade. In doing my review of both programs, I found the following helpful features in each program:
- Format Window
- Find & Replace Search Feature
- Word Count
- Pages Editor–right side window
- Share easily with collaborators via email link to document in iCloud
- Editing as in MS Word using toolbar, pull down menus
- Suggestion Mode (changes you make become suggestions only for other users)
- Explore feature-right side window which suggests additional websites and relevant information as resources.
- Tons of Add-ons available to help polish writing and skills
- Share via Google Drive with collaborators (real time edits)
For writers who struggle with MS Word or who don’t need all its powerful page layout capabilities, there’s no harm in some exploration. You can get access to Pages or Google Docs quickly and easily on your Mac, PC, or iOS device without negatively impacting your current setup at all. Give one or both a try, they are free or low cost, and your writing productivity may thank you for it one day soon!