Among the many types of word processing software, Google Docs has undoubtedly disrupted (and vastly improved) the scene.
For starters, this free, cloud-based application has all the bells and whistles that premium tools tend to charge you for. It also comes with tons of templates and a robust range of styling and formatting options.
However, sometimes I want something slightly more “minimalist” to accomplish my core job. I was also tired of relying on Microsoft Word to compose even a small amount of writing.
That’s when I switched to Gmail’s own composition feature (yes, the very same window used to compose emails). This effectively removed the fanciness provided by the likes of Google Docs and traditional word processing tools.
In this case, simplicity is a great thing when you’re only worried about accomplishing your most basic job: Writing.
Let’s look at the many benefits available within Gmail itself, and why you should consider using it over other types of word processing software and tools. That is, as long as fancy formatting isn’t an immediate necessity for you…
It Saves Your Progress Automatically
First off, I must confess that I haven’t used the most recent versions of Microsoft Office, Open Office, or other types of (off-line) word processing software. But whether they save your progress automatically has little weight on my decision to stick to Gmail.
The ability for my words to be saved every couple of seconds is something that I have always admired. This feature ensures that my work remains secure and it keeps me from manually pressing any given “Save” icon over and over.
And while Google Docs has this feature built-in as well, I am more attracted to the overall simplicity this little writing window has to offer.
Your Work Resides in the Browser Itself
When I use an off-line processor and need to conduct further research, I have to switch to the browser and then switch back when ready. While this process is obviously not intensive, it still feels somewhat disruptive due to the change of environment.
With Gmail as my word processor, I can easily open a new browser tab right next to my inbox and conduct my research more efficiently. Without a doubt, the process feels more seamless and effortless this way.
The Writing Area Sits in a Corner
While a traditional word processor normally hugs the entire screen, I appreciate that Gmail’s “Compose” window sits perfectly on the lower-right corner by default.
How can this help you? Well, put it this way: This enables you to open a work-related email without disturbance. You may also search through your inbox and gather any other type of information you may have stored.
Bonus: You may even switch to full-screen mode if necessary. What’s not to love?
A traditional word processor is usually full of features that (quite frankly) the average Joe doesn’t use very often. Sure, they may come in handy once in a while, but we tend to use only standard features for the most part.
This is where Gmail shines as a word processor, thanks to its “What you see is what you get” design. There are no more buttons and icons than necessary, which is perfect for the writer that simply needs to get the most basic job done.
Thankfully, the writing area does have some formatting features in case you need them. Some of these include sizing, coloring, and alignment settings.
Perhaps the best feature is Gmail’s ability to save everything over the internet, much like Google Docs but without the fanciness involved.
I personally switch between two computers throughout the day, depending on whether my roommate needs to use one. In this case, I simply reopen my draft article from that alternative computer and resume work without any issues.
Send an Email Copy with Ease
You are, after all, right in your inbox. Send someone your work effortlessly! This is somewhat of an alternative to Google Docs’ collaborative features, assuming you don’t need to do much other than sending your work.
All in all, this is my personal definition of efficiency. Gmail isn’t technically meant to be used this way, but it turned out to be extremely convenient for me and (hopefully) other content writers.
Give it a try and see how much you enjoy this small, simple, convenient tool. Otherwise, can you recommend other types of word processing software that handle the job simply and effectively?