Microsoft office has been an industry standard in both the home and professional environment for over a decade.
With that said, making the switch to Google Drive and it’s suite of software can be extremely daunting.
Almost every PC user is dependent on Microsoft Word and Excel for common tasks, but these programs are easily replaced by Google Docs and Spreadsheets. Most people discover after using Google’s software that they can use it with ease, and many users find it both more pleasant and easier to use than MS Office!
This post has been assembled to explain the ins and outs of migrating from Office to Drive as well as simplifying the overall transition.
Is Google Drive Right For Me?
Before even considering your initial migration, it is absolutely essential that you feel comfortable with the Google Drive suite of software.
There are some minor features from Microsoft Office that are lacking in drive, and this may be a major problem to some people. This is however not noticed by most users as the features lacking are often considered to be MS clutter. All standard features are included with Google such as font styling, margins, tables, colors, images etc.
There is also the issue of missing software. At the time of writing, there are three major components of the Drive suite: Docs, Spreadsheets and Slides. For the few users that depend on software like Microsoft Publisher, Google Drive may not be appropriate suite for you, unless you can find a way to create within the boundaries of Drive.
The best way to really decide if you should be replacing Office with Drive is really to just experience Drive for yourself. Get accustomed to Drive, create a few documents and see how you feel about the whole process.
What is so great about Drive?
Other than Google offering its software for free, there are an array of reasons why you may want to use it.
Drive is extremely easy to use. You can essentially think of it as MS Office minus the bloated features that you never use. This makes for a simpler user experience without unnecessary confusion over irrelevant options and features.
By taking advantage of the cloud experience and storing all of your documents in a Google account, you can access your files from almost anywhere that has an internet connection, including on a phone or tablet (especially easy on Android).
Although Drive stores your files on the cloud, you can easily download a file to store on your device, making it easily available to email or use for other purposes.
Using the Google Toolbar, your files, emails and tools are all readily available direct from your desktop, simplifying the experience even more.
All things considered, ease of use, cloud storage and a series of other handy features make Google Drive a breeze to work with. It is intuitive, simple and sleek.
Reasons Drive may not be for you
There are a few things that may cause users to squirm away from Drive.
First of all, a lack of software equivalents for Microsoft tools like Publisher render Drive an unfit replacement for Office to some users. There may be new Google software additions on the horizon, but for now we will just have to wait.
The features that Google chose not to add to their suite will not be missed by most, but some people have grown to depend on some of these options, and this could be a deal breaker for these people.
Moving to the cloud may seem daunting to some people, and many prefer to be completely in control of their files. This could be due to security concerns or something else, but either way it is worth giving a try before writing off the cloud as a suitable method of document storage, considering its many benefits.
Is Drive suited to businesses?
Drive is extremely well suited to a business environment, provided Word, Excel and Power Point are the only Microsoft tools your business depends on.
Of course emails can be handled by third party software such as Mozilla Thunderbird, so Outlook can be easily replaced as well.
By making use of the share feature within Drive, a file can quickly be set as a group file. This allows any number of chosen people access to view or edit files. They will automatically display within other users Drive folders once those users have been selected as a group member. This feature can make network servers obsolete in some cases, eliminating the need for excess power consumption and maintenance from IT staff for server upkeep.
This set up is relatively quick and simple to implement for most smaller workplace environments.
I’ve tried it, I liked it, what now?
If you decide Google Drive is well suited to your needs and feel comfortable using the software suite, you will need to migrate all of your documents to your Drive account.
The easiest way to do this is to ‘attach Drive to your desktop’. This can be done by clicking the link provided in your Drive home page.
Once this is set up, you will then have a folder on your desktop that you can drag and drop files into, instantly synchronizing them with your cloud storage. Add folders inside your Drive folder to organize your files with.
Access your files via chrome or android / apple app, and make use of Drive’s Windows features for a smooth migration.
The more you know about Drive and it’s features, the easier your transition will be, so get to know it as much as you can. Experiment, play around and learn.