Difference between word online and word

Microsoft Word has been an all-time favorite for users worldwide. A Word document is in most cases used synonymously with a typed document. With the introduction of office 365, Microsoft Word has become even more convenient. This article helps users understand what is the difference between Microsoft word online and Microsoft word.

The major difference between Microsoft word online and Microsoft word is that word online is the free version of office 365 which offers a desktop application as well. All you need to do is login using your outlook account and choose a subscription plan. You can also choose to purchase the desktop version of Microsoft office that is independent from the online account.

What is the difference between Microsoft word online and Microsoft word?

When it comes to the main difference between the online and offline versions of Word, Real-time Collaboration tops the list. Word online is the free version on office 365 that allows you to create and share documents. These documents can then be reviewed and edited by anyone with the link in real-time. This feature makes it extremely convenient for collaborative work.

Difference between word online and word
Difference between word online and word
  • Start by creating a document in Word online.
  • After the document is created you can click on share and send it to people you would like to collaborate with.
  • While sharing you can specify if the participants can edit the document or just view it.
  • You can track the edits in real-time. All edits made to the document will be saved under the collaborator’s name. For this permission needs to be specified while creating and sharing the link.
  • Another interesting feature about working online is that you can comment on the changes made.

Read How to add a horizontal line in word online

Collaborating on documents using Microsoft word

Collaborating using Word is a little complicated as there is no option to do it in real-time. You will need to create documents and share them via email. There is an option however to track the changes made to the document and include comments but that’s about it.

The major drawback when it comes to collaborating using the desktop version of Word is that you need to download all the versions of the document. This can get extremely confusing.

Collaborating on documents using Office 365

Office 365 as we know it is the paid version of Word online. The best part about using office 365 is that is the sweet spot when it comes to real-time collaborative work. It comes with access to both the online and offline versions of word. This makes it easy to create and save documents online but also allows you to access, edit and share them from the desktop version of Word.

Along with the ease of creation it gives you access to all the features that come with the desktop version. Office 365 also gives you a lot of storage space which is an add-on when it comes to saving all the documents on the drive.

So you can save documents while they are being created, share them and also work on them on the desktop version of Word.

Read How to get word count on word online

Is Microsoft word good to use on phone?

When it comes to using Microsoft word on your Android or iOS devices downloading the Word application is a good option. This application can be linked to your office online account. This way, you will have all the files created, saved, and shared on word online on your phones and tablets.

To use this feature all you need to do is log in to word online using your outlook account. You can then edit documents and also share them and collaborate in real-time with an active internet connection. If you would like to use all the features of Word on your phone subscribe to office 365.

Word on browser Vs Word on Desktop launching and saving documents

The major difference between Word online and the desktop version of Word is in the way you launch and save them.

  • To work on word online you need to have an account.
  • Start by creating an account using your outlook email id and password.
  • After creating the account you can log in from any computer as long as you have an active internet connection.
  • Simply open your browser login into your account from the office online.

Documents created using word online are save in One Drive a cloud storage space. You can retrieve documents by going to the onedrive website > using your outlook account to login. From here you can view, share or download documents.

The desktop version of Word on the other hand is an application installed on your computer. This means that it takes up space on your computer and runs as an individual application. The documents created are stored on the computer.

  • You will need to purchase the setup file for the desktop application
  • Install it on your computer. You do not need an active internet connection to edit files using the desktop version of word.
  • As the documents are saved on the computer itself, they can be retrieved easily.
  • To create a document go to the start menu in Windows or Launchpad in Mac and look for Word.
  • Open the application and you can start typing. To save the document you can use the save button in the File menu or use the keyboard shortcut – Ctrl + S Windows and Command + S for Mac.
  • To retrieve files search for them in local folders on your computer.
Difference between word online and word
Difference between word online and word

Read How to transfer Word online doc to google docs

Word on browser Vs Word on Desktop features

When it comes to features the desktop version is considered superior as there are more editing and formatting options available. We have listed out a few features that are present in the desktop version of Word.

  • The desktop version of Microsoft Word can add captions, citations and a bibliography. This is not possible in the online version.
  • When it comes to reviewing documents Word online gives users an option to comment on and make changes to the document in real-time. When it comes to the desktop version users can benefit from advanced tools like Track Changes, merge, compare and combine documents, Print with comments, etc.
  • When it comes to the desktop version you have more design support from Microsoft in terms of advanced page layout tools and superior printing and reviewing tools.
  • You can also count on the Reference and Researcher tools provided by Microsoft in the desktop version
  • Along with pictures, you can insert videos, Gifs, and other content in word documents from the desktop application. You can also insert links to videos from streaming platforms and play them with internet access from the document itself.
  • The desktop application of word supports watermarks on pages and also allows users to print the watermark.

Read How to merge table cells in word online


Now that we have a decent picture when it comes to the strengths and drawbacks of the online and desktop versions of Microsoft Word. It is safe to say that if you are someone who uses only the basic features of Word go in for the word online. As this is a free service you will not need to invest anything and can upgrade at any time.

Word online is also great for collaboration and you can access files created from any laptop, desktop, phone, or tablet as long as you have an active internet connection. Users can go in for the desktop version if they are looking to use advanced features. Another option when is office 365. Here you can get the best of both the desktop application as well as word online with additional cloud storage.

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