Online Microsoft Office free

office-onlineMicrosoft’s Office Online is a completely free, web-based version of Microsoft Office. This online office suite is clearly competing with Google Docs, but it’s also a potential replacement for the desktop version of Office.

We’ll compare Office Online to both the desktop version of Microsoft Office and Google Docs to see where it fits. Should you use Office Online instead of Office 2013 or Google Docs?

Office Online vs. Desktop Office

Unlike all of Microsoft’s other Office products, Office Online at is completely free. This is Office Online’s biggest advantage over desktop versions of Microsoft Office. You can use it on all the PCs you want without paying for additional boxed copies or subscribing to Office 365, Microsoft’s subscription service for Office.

word-onlineBecausee it’s a web application that runs in your browser, Office Online will run on everything, from Linux PCs and Chromebooks to iPads and Android tablets. It doesn’t require any special plug-in and works in any popular browser, including Firefox, Chrome, and Safari — not just Internet Explorer.

Office Online saves your documents to your Microsoft OneDrive (formerly known as SkyDrive) storage online. You can use the OneDrive integration in Windows 8.1 or the OneDrive desktop application on previous versions of Windows to sync the documents you create to your computer, getting local copies in Microsoft Office format. Office 2013 saves your documents to OneDrive by default, so Office Online works well as a companion web application. Your documents may already be available in OneDrive.

excel-onlineThe web-based version of Office also offers better collaboration features than the desktop-based version of Office does. For example, when you collaborate with other people in the desktop version of Word 2013, only one person can edit the same paragraph at a time. Word Online offers real-time editing that allows multiple people to edit the same paragraph at a time.

Office Online is more limited than Microsoft Office. Microsoft provides Word Online, Excel Online, PowerPoint Online, and OneNote Online. If you depend on other applications, like Microsoft Access, you’re out of luck.

These online applications are also simplified and stripped down. While they offer a similar interface to the desktop version of Office, complete with a ribbon, they have fewer features built in. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as most people don’t use all of the features available in the desktop Office apps. Want to do a mail merge or run macros? You can’t do that in Office Online, but you probably don’t need those features anyway.

Office Online also won’t work when you don’t have an Internet connection. If you want to edit documents offline, you’ll need the desktop version of Office.

Pros: Office Online is completely free, can easily be accessed from any device, and is better for real-time collaboration.

Cons: Office Online only provides a few popular Office applications, doesn’t have many of the more advanced features, and only works when you have an Internet connection.

Office Online vs. Google Docs

Google Docs is Google’s free, web-based office suite. Office Online is Microsoft’s response to the rise of Google Docs.

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Microsoft Software Microsoft Office Home and Student 2016 | PC Key Card
Software (Microsoft Software)
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  • NOTE: Does not include Outlook, Publisher or Access
Microsoft Corporation - Microsoft Office 365 Personal 32/64-Bit - Subscription License - 1 Pc/Mac, 1 Tablet - Non-Commercial - Pc, Intel-Based Mac, Handheld - English "Product Category: Software Products/Software Licensing"
CE (Original Equipment Manufacture)
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  • 1TB of online storage in OneDrive for anywhere access to your documents. // Use OneNote to capture and share notes, pictures, web pages, voice memos, and more. Allow...
  • Office 365 goes where you go: Sign in to get Office on your PC, Mac, Windows tablet, iPad, and multiple smartphones - including iPhones, and Android phones (Office...
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TP-Link TP-LINK Archer C7 AC1750 Dual Band Wireless AC Gigabit Router, 2.4GHz 450Mbps+5Ghz 1300Mbps, 2 USB Port, IPv6, Guest Network
Personal Computer (TP-Link)
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  • Supports 802.11ac - The next generation of Wi-Fi, and be connected to extra devices
Microsoft Microsoft Surface Pro 3 (64 GB, Intel Core i3, Windows 8.1) - Free Windows 10 Upgrade
Personal Computer (Microsoft)
  • Intel 4th Generation Core i3 Processor
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  • 4 GB RAM; 64 GB Storage Capacity (37 GB Available)
  • Windows 8.1 Pro
  • 36W Power Supply and Surface Pen Included; Keyboard sold separately
hp HP Stream 11.6 Inch Laptop (Intel Celeron, 2 GB, 32 GB eMMC , Horizon Blue) Includes Office 365 Personal for One Year (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
Personal Computer (hp)
  • Intel Celeron N2840 2.16 GHz Processor
  • 32 GB eMMC Storage; No Optical/Disk Drive
  • 11.6 inches 1366x768 pixels LED-lit Screen
  • Windows 8 Operating System; Horizon Blue Chassis

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