Office virtual is feature-rich and responsive, however can it stand as much as a payment Microsoft 365 subscription?


With therefore much totally free office software easily accessible from various providers, it’s a tiny surprising that Microsoft has actually come so late to the game. We’re glad they did, though: Office on the web (formerly Office Online) is lightweight however surprisingly feature-rich, making it among the finest productivity tools accessible for free.

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Businesses and individuals feather for an easy document, spreadsheet, and slideshow creation and collaboration will discover the free, digital apps much more than sufficient. However, no all Office apps room available, and also some necessary features are missing. For this reason, creators of advanced and skilled content will desire to opt because that Microsoft 365.

In this article, we’ll look in ~ the most vital differences between these two Microsoft office suites, for this reason you can decide i m sorry product is ideal for you.


At an initial glance, both office suites watch similar, v the familiar ribbon of features up top. We took a closer look at the main differences.

A acquainted layout through Office top top the Web. (Image credit: Microsoft)

The application is surprisingly feature-rich and also will be instantly familiar come anybody who’s operated with the Office suite. Only a few functions are lacking from indigenous Online, and they might or might not it is in a deal-breaker, depending upon your usage of the suite.

First, there’s no drawing support because that Word Online, i m sorry is disappointing. The is existing in PowerPoint and OneNote, wherein it’s arguably an ext useful, however it would be pretty to have actually it across the board.

Shapes, smart Art, and also Charts are also missing, which boundaries Word digital to basic text editing. You likewise can’t produce diagrams or visual aids in the application itself, only add them indigenous elsewhere.

The Design and Mailing tab are both lacking from native Online. Mailing, which support mail merge and designing envelopes, most likely won’t it is in missed, but not having the style tab severely boundaries one’s capability to make widespread file changes. Office virtual supports Styles, however they cannot be edited or also updated to selected text.

The phone call Me dialogue is also lacking in Word, return PowerPoint and also Excel both have this comfortable feature. That said, none of the virtual apps assistance a Sidebar because that layout and navigation.

On the plus side, Office online does encompass Add-ons, i beg your pardon is quite exciting due to the fact that many the the lacking functions deserve to be included as third-party plugins. Because that example, there’s no quote manager in indigenous Online, but you can add Mendeley, SmartCite, and others. The very same goes for mathematics equations and icons, and also tons of Excel and also PowerPoint features.

In keeping with Microsoft’s push for greater and easier cooperation tools throughout its Office suite, the Online review tab is completely functional. You deserve to track, accept, and reject changes and add, show, and also resolve comments. This is true of all the apps.

Like word Online, Excel digital lacks illustration support. The page Layout is absent, although most of the layout functions are easily accessible from the publish dialogue, consisting of scaling.

The formulas tab is present but it might also not be: its only function is calculate Workbook. We were happy to see that the Insert function button still exists—it’s simply been moved to the Insert tab.

All the said, many of the actual spreadsheet attributes are there. In fact, over 400 features are included online, do this among the most complete online spreadsheet apps available. There’s likewise support because that conditional formatting, external references, filters, slices, timeline controls, tables, and also most charts. It’s fairly a complete spreadsheet product.

Drawing is back! It’s additionally robust and also responsive: top top Safari with our iPad Pro and Apple Pencil, it was pressure-sensitive and worked flawlessly. (For factors unknown, though, the draw tab is only visible through the simplified Ribbon view.) The full range of Shapes and SmartArt is also easily accessible in PowerPoint.

It’s too bad that Microsoft didn’t include these in Word, and also the truth that they’re therefore well applied in PowerPoint means this is clear a advertisement decision, not a technological one. At the very least OneNote acquired drawing, return it’s absent Shapes and Draw come Shape.

Printing is a little more restricted (you can’t choose how numerous slides every page), as space the various Views accessible (you can only rotate on and also off notes). That method no presenter view, i beg your pardon is sorely missed. Finally, there room no rulers or guidelines, for this reason on-slide company is much less precise.


Dialogue boxes and also right-click occupational flawlessly online. (Image credit: Microsoft)

Obviously, the responsiveness, smooth animations, and also overall look and feel of desktop software is tough to beat. That being said, we found the Office online apps remarkable responsive and easy come use. HTML5 has actually come a long way, and also with smooth right-click dialogues, a snappy ribbon, and also rich formatting, Office ~ above the net feels much like making use of a fully-featured desktop app, despite missing a few features.

It’s additionally worth discussing that in regards to CPU, RAM, and energy use, the digital apps actually use fewer resources than the desktop versions, at the very least in our trials. If you’re functioning off low battery power or an older device, you might want to opt because that the virtual apps, also if you have a 365 subscription.

On the flipside, Office virtual doesn’t support any offline editing. If you shed your connection, girlfriend can’t accessibility or edit any type of of her files.


A large array of to plan exist because that businesses. (Image credit: Microsoft)

Office because that the web is complimentary to use and also includes 5GB of virtual storage. One Microsoft 365 subscription for individuals costs $6.99/month, and also for businesses, the starts in ~ $5.00/user/month.

Office Online has Word, Excel, Powerpoint, OneNote, OneDrive, and also Outlook, yet not Access, Publisher, SharePoint, or Microsoft Teams. Office ~ above the Web additionally does not include the interesting new AI-driven editing and also review of Microsoft 365, a attribute that some might find valuable for composing clearer, much more concise documents.


Overall, we are happy with Office Online. The apps room responsive and also have sufficient features because that those looking to create, edit, and also collaborate on straightforward documents, facility spreadsheets, and also engaging PowerPoints. Because that individuals and even tiny businesses, they give Google Docs a real run for their money. We wholeheartedly recommend offering them a try.

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Larger businesses and also enterprises trying to find professional paper creation and extensive participation features, however, will desire to opt because that the Microsoft 365 subscription. The apps are an ext robust, documents can be edited offline, and also Teams and SharePoint make participation easier and much more effective.