How I Removed Microsoft From My Life

Moving from Microsoft to Google

I’m going to tell you about how I removed Microsoft from my life, my experience with the G Suite applications and then show you how to do it, too.

After being a devoted Microsoft Product user for very many years, I realized being tied down to a particular PC or a program that was only accessible through ‘my machine’ was hampering my productivity and even affecting my personal life.

How My Microsoft-free Experiment Started…

My decision to drop Microsoft was at first involuntary and was initiated when I joined CloudNow (in the early days), which as a company operates completely free of Microsoft products. Admissibly, even though I thought I would never be able to manage, at work, I was forced to work independent of all Microsoft Office Applications as everyone in my new company were using G Suite which included: Gmail, Docs, Drive, Calendar, Maps, and Search and I realised that it was quite easy to use. Different, but easy.  

Storing Files on the Cloud: I started with saving my data on Google Drive instead of the old way of dumping everything on my hard disk. This actually helped in making sure I had all my important and useful data only on the Drive, which was accessible to me on any device anywhere anytime. Now, I didn’t need to carry my PC with me wherever I went. My work followed me.

Instead of Microsoft Applications (Word, Excel & Powerpoint): Docs, Sheets and Slides are Google’s equivalents of Word, Excel and PowerPoint and I was taken aback on its simplicity and ease of use rather than all the power features of Microsoft applications. I realised my efficiency increased substantially.

I will never want to write a novel or a manuscript in Docs, but then that isn’t what Docs is designed to do. It’s a fast and user-friendly way to create everyday documents and to share them with colleagues and clients. But I cannot help but think how awesome it would have been to have Docs back when I was studying in college, working endlessly on projects and assignments and have had to deal with power cuts, no autosaves and what not. I’ve had to redo my work – something which would never have happened with Docs.

Similarly with Sheets, which covers the most common Excel functions (including pivot tables). It is fast improving and now that it supports Google’s App Script add-ons, it’s possible to automate workflows and develop custom apps.

But the icing on the cake is online collaboration in G-Suite which make sharing documents with colleagues or clients effortless. The Revision History panel tracks changes and there’s a separate panel for comments, which can be notified via email as well as in the app.

Getting Rid of Skype was the easiest: Contrary to what I believed, jumping ship from Skype to Hangouts was a piece of cake. By using Google’s Hangouts service, I could make text, voice and video calls with anybody or limit conversations to just those people who are members of the same organisation. Hangouts can be shared with up to 25 people and used for video chat, presentation sharing or screen sharing. For me personally, Hangouts was so much easier as it simplified business communication.  

So, I was literally thrown into using G Suite and its applications, but it was refreshing to find how simple and easy it really was.  And thinking back I realise how thankful I am, for making that jump. For those of you who are oscillating between whether you should make the jump as well, I would advise you to follow my lead. You’ll thank me for it, you see!