We've compared Office Web Apps and Google Docs, and found plenty to like in both. But how does Office Web Apps measure up to the full-blown version of Office 2010 in terms of features?
Office Web Apps, made available earlier this week, has one obvious advantage over its due-next-week desktop counterpart: you don't have to pay for it. But there's definitely more on offer in the desktop version.
In this case, pictures tell the story better than words. Shown below are the ribbons available in the full Office 2010 release, and their equivalents in Office Web Apps, with a blank document open in each case. I haven't included the Developer tab, available across the desktop release but not switched on by default, in these counts. And I haven't included shots of the extra tabs included in each desktop version, because even comparing the tabs they have in common demonstrates how many more features are included in the full version. While the Office Web Apps do a good job of opening files that include more advanced features, your ability to alter them is definitely restricted, particularly in Excel.
Click on any image for the full-size version.
Word desktop has 7 ribbon tabs (Home, Insert, Page Layout, References, Mailings, Review, View); Word Web apps has 3 (Home, Insert, View).
Excel desktop has 7 ribbon tabs (Home, Insert, Page Layout, Formulas, Data, Review, View); Excel Web apps has 2 (Home, Insert).
PowerPoint desktop has 8 ribbon tabs (Home, Insert, Design, Transitions, Animations, Slide Show, Review, View); PowerPoint Web apps has 3 (Home, Insert, View).
OneNote desktop has 6 ribbon tabs (Home, Insert, Share, Draw, Review, View); OneNote Web apps has 3 (Home, Insert, View).
More doesn't necessarily equal better, of course. For a simple document with basic formatting, there's more than enough in the basic versions to get the job done. And for simple editing rather than in-depth tweaking — which is the basic philosophy behind the Web Apps versions — there's more than enough here. But if you do need to invest in the full Office 2010 experience, you can at least feel you're getting some extra options for your money.