Do you struggle at the keyboard? Do you cringe when you need to write a school assignment, work email, or other documents all because you don’t excel at spelling or grammar?
Relax, even those tasked with checking for writing errors have experienced the embarrassment of a misplaced apostrophe or misspelled word. Thankfully, with grammar and spell checkers, your writing errors don’t have to make the front page.
Grammarly, the popular spell and grammar checking software, and the native AI Google Docs have new competition in Microsoft’s AI-powered Editor. This writing assistant for Microsoft 365 is looking to change the way you write both in the Office Suite and on the web.
Intro to Grammarly
Grammarly provides several features, including:
- Spell checker
- Grammar checker
- Writing clarity
- Delivery style
- Plagiarism detection
To access these features, you can enter your text directly into the online Grammarly Editor, use the Add-in for Microsoft Office, or Grammarly for Microsoft Word on Mac. Other platforms exist including the browser extension and Grammarly keyboard for iOS and Android. Tap or click for more Grammarly details.
Although Grammarly is easy to use and relatively effective, the assistant does have its weaknesses. The vocabulary is lacking, glitches cause your cursor to jump, and if you want any features outside spelling and grammar checks, you will need to subscribe to the premium service, which can run you up to $29.95 a month.
Meet Google Docs
Google Docs is an online word processor that lets you create, edit, format and share documents with other people. As an online tool, Google Docs has the edge over both Grammarly and Microsoft Editor, as you don’t need to download anything and is free to use.
While you can use Google Docs across any browser and operating system, it has limitations. Because your documents are stored in Google Drive cloud, if the internet goes out, you have no access to your work.
Google Docs is user friendly and does a decent job in the editing department; however, suggesting mode can be difficult to navigate and makes following the suggestions from others a bit tricky.
Welcome to the Microsoft Editor
Similar to Grammarly, Microsoft offers a free and paid version of its built-in AI editor that covers your spelling and grammar.
However, if you want advanced writing and style features such as formal language and vocabulary suggestions, you will need to subscribe to the Microsoft 365 Personal or Family subscription which is cheaper than Grammarly and will run you $6.99 to $9.99 a month.
Here’s how the Microsoft Editor works
Because the editor is a built-in Microsoft Word feature, no need to download or install anything; merely launch Word and locate the Editor in the Home tab. You should notice the Editor icon in the toolbar. If you don’t see the icon, make sure your version of Word is up to date.
When you are ready to check your writing tap on the Editor, and it will open up on the right side of your document. The editor will automatically read through your document and return the number and type of errors detected.
As noted below, we altered the document to contain errors as a way to test Microsoft’s Editor. The AI assistant found the you’re mistake and the misspelling of form, but overlooked the usage of instill.
To compare whether Grammarly would detect the errors Microsoft missed, we launched Grammarly. While that program found the you’re error, it missed the other two, but marked the word icon and suggested we replace it with a better word.
At any time, if you find Microsoft’s Editor is not detecting common or easy mistakes, check out the app settings. Tap Settings to customize or adjust everything from what type of words the editor should ignore, to the language it recognizes (which is over 20). Tap or click discover the five hidden Microsoft Word tricks that will make you stand up and cheer.
While all three editors are user friendly and perform satisfactorily, none stand out as superior. Regardless of which you choose to use, given time, it’s safe to assume that developers will improve the software and thus improve your editing experience.