Is Free Microsoft Office Online Worth Giving a Try?

Undoubtedly, Microsoft Office suite is one of the best productivity suites to cater your personal, household, business and work related computing requirements. But is the free Microsoft Office Online a virtual productive solution to cater your entire productivity requirements? Well, read the article below to know how online Office version is different from the desktop Office suite.

Microsoft is popular for its excellence and simplicity that allows users to communicate, store data, and create multiple files without any confusion and interruptions. MS Office suite and its endless editions cater millions of user requirements by typing large documents in the MS Word, making business presentations in Microsoft PowerPoint and connecting clients through MS Outlook. Do you think that there is any other productivity suite that can match up with this ever-popular productive solution? Many of its users complain that they miss Microsoft experience while using non-Windows devices, so the company launched Office Online, a web-based version of Microsoft Office. The web-based version of MS Office is completely free and it is a close competitor of Google Docs, catering desktop productivity needs of users.

Read below to compare web-based version of Microsoft Office to both the desktop Microsoft Office and Google Docs:

Microsoft Office Online vs. Desktop Office

Unlike all Microsoft’s products, online Office version is completely free, and you can use it on all the PCs without paying a single penny from your pocket. The online version of Office suite doesn’t require purchasing any additional boxed copies or Office 365 subscription because it runs in your browsers. The online platform takes Microsoft’s desktop productivity to all non-Windows devices like Linux PCs, Chromebooks, iPads and Android tablets.

The company hasn’t limited its access to Internet Explorer rather the web-based Office applications work seamlessly with every popular browser, including Firefox, Chrome, and Safari. Since cloud storage has raised the bar for network and sharing, these web-applications save your documents to your Microsoft OneDrive, making them accessible anytime anywhere. The web-based version of MS Office offers better collaborative features than the desktop version of Office as Word online offers real-time editing feature in groups to save time and reduce confusion.

But online Office version is limited programs than the desktop Microsoft Office suite as it only provides Microsoft PowerPoint Online, Word Online, Excel Online, and OneNote Online. If you need Microsoft Access and want to access it online, then you’re out of luck. It is important to acknowledge that all the web-based applications offer a similar interface to the desktop version, but have fewer inbuilt features and can’t work without a working Internet connection. Users wishing to edit documents offline will have to download and install the desktop version of MS Office to open the desired online files.

Office Online vs. Google Docs

Office online and Google Docs are quite similar in nature as both are free and operate as web-based applications that can run in your browsers. Users can say that both of them are simplified and offer stripped-down experiences by saving your files on online storage service — Microsoft OneDrive or Google Drive. Both the options feature real-time collaboration and provide access to web-based applications for creating documents, spreadsheets, and presentations, but they do have some specializations.

Google Docs feature applications for creating forms and drawings, but web-based Office suite provides OneNote, a note-taking app, to ensure that you never miss anything important. You may like it or not, but accessing online Office version feels more like using Microsoft Office while Google Docs simply looks like a strange application. Online version of MS Office saves your documents in .docx, .xlsx, and .pptx formats and has better compatibility with Microsoft Office files. Google Docs support different file formats and often find it difficult to be compatible with Microsoft Office.
Google Docs can work offline without an Internet connection, but web-based Office always requires it to operate its basic functions. Google Docs is ideal for users who are looking for a free office suite offline and online, but Microsoft would make you to purchase a desktop version for using it in offline mode.


The need of making everything available everywhere is transforming the present and future of computing world. Undoubtedly, all the major tech giants and IT manufacturers are coming up with solutions to connect to the ‘Internet of Things’ technology, and web-based Office is one of such solutions. Office online is completely free and offers real-time collaboration, but it can offer a few popular Office applications, not all of them. Since the web-based version is only accessible when you have a working Internet connection, it becomes difficult to rely on it for your entire computing requirements.