Create IT’s series of blogs examining the apps that come with Microsoft’s Office 365 today turns to a traditional desktop application: Word.

Create Word documents online, and anywhere

Microsoft Word Online – Office 365Word Online is a part of Office 365. It allows you to create and edit Microsoft Word documents in your web browser, saving them automatically to your OneDrive, where you can share them and collaborate with your colleagues.

Word Online creates fully compatible Office docx files, which can be opened with the desktop version of Word. Word Online isn’t a straight copy of desktop Word, and we’ll look below at some of the differences.

What you see

Word Online launches from Office 365 and presents you with the new document/template screen that has been the default launch screen since Office 2013.

Microsoft Word Online – Office 365Here’s what you see when launching Word Online:

  1. Recently opened Word documents
  2. New blank document and online document templates
  3. ‘Get Word for your device’, and your Office 365 account link.

Once you’ve chosen your document template you’ll be taken to the new document in the edit window. The edit window has the same tabs menus that Office introduced Office 2007 (although this has been heavily modified since the original tabs were launched).

Microsoft Word Online – Office 365The basics of the edit screen are shown here:

A. The tabs field, where you can choose from File for new documents and to open, print and share documents; Home for most document editing options; Insert for inserting images, tables, links, etc; Page Layout; Review; and View tabs. You can also choose to open the document in the desktop version of Word, if you have it installed
B. The document editing field
C. Pagination, word count and language information

Using Word Online

Word Online is very similar to Word from Office 2013 and 2016. If you’ve used either of those versions you’ll find options in the same tabs as you’re used to, which makes for easy document creation and editing.

Word Online is more limited than the desktop version, however. In creating this blog I started with Word Online, formatting, inserting images, etc, but I had to polish the document in the desktop version of Word, as some options were missing: for example I was unable to align inserted images at the right and wrapped by the text.

Here’s an example of the Insert tab from Word Online and Word 2013:

Microsoft Word Online – Office 365
Word Online Insert Menu
Microsoft Word Online – Office 365
Word 2013 Insert Menu


Such small limitations are not unexpected, however, and were easy to manage.

Powerful collaboration and co-authoring

The few limitations mentioned above are counter balanced by the great ease of collaboration using Word Online and shared documents on Office 365. Collaboration is the reason Word Online exists.

More than one person can edit a Word Online document at the same time, opening new options for your teams to collaborate wherever they are. Co-authoring is seamless – you simply start editing your document and Office Online tells you when someone else is also editing it, and shows you the changes that they make.

Integration with other Office 365 apps

Word Online saves documents to your OneDrive folder, where you can share them with people in your team, attach them in emails, download them to your desktop or share them on SharePoint.

Previous posts

We have an ever-growing list of articles about the apps in Office 365, including Mail, Calendar, People, OneDrive, SharePoint and more. To view them all see our list of Office 365 blogs.

Future posts and more details

We will continue to provide introductory blogs about the apps in Office 365 to help you get started. If you want to know more about how Office 365 can help your business, contact Create IT.

Back to Blog