Reviewing Microsoft Word Online from Windows Live Web Apps

Microsoft Office is moving to the cloud and this is a first look at what you can expect.

After trying out the recently launched Office Live, I started looking at some of the features from Windows Live a little more carefully.  As much as I like Google Docs, I have to admit I’m glad to see Microsoft pushing the boundaries and bringing some competition into the space.  If nothing else, it will drive innovation and keep prices low (and yes, free is good!) Let’s take a look at the Flagship Office Live Web Apps product — Word Online.

Over the next few days, I will dedicate a few articles to each of the new Office Live Web Apps – including Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and OneNote.  To begin, let’s take a look at Microsoft Word Online.

What’s different between the Word Web App and the Word 2010 Professional?

The Office Web Apps Word Online is honestly pretty nice.  Microsoft not only put Word on the web, but they’ve done a few other new things as well, which I’ve not seen yet with other online word processors – such as drag and drop into the browser as an upload function (excluding email.As mentioned earlier, when you compare the Office Live Web Apps to the Desktop Professional version of Microsoft Office 2010, they look and feel like a free version rather than a fully online version of the Office Suite.  Fortunately, each app packs the most commonly used tools that you use, and Word is no exception.  Here’s a side-by-side screenshot comparison of the free web version and the $140 USD desktop version of Word 2010.

The new Microsoft Word Web App in Live Office

microsoft word web app is free

Compared to Microsoft Word 2010 Professional desktop client

microsoft word 2010

It’s clear the web app is missing more than half of the ribbons and all of the features that go with them, and unlike the desktop version, you can’t customize the ribbons.  With that said, the Microsoft Word web app still makes for a groovy tool when you need to edit a document on the fly, draft up something quick, write up something or store something you might need to access on the road.  Saving it to “the cloud’ does exactly that, and this is where the SkyDrive 25GB of storage becomes so useful.

How To Access Office Live and The Microsoft Word Web App

The Office Live Web Apps like Word are completely free to use. The only thing you need to access Office Live is a Microsoft Live or Hotmail account. If you have one, visit and sign in. If you don’t have one, you can sign up and create one there.

sign in to windows live


The Live Office summary page has two options for using the web apps. You access Word from within both of these buttons, and we’ll talk about them below.  Alternatively, if you already have documents uploaded to SkyDrive, then you can click on them to open them up in the Microsoft Word web app.

create a new word web app or add new files

Make A Brand New Microsoft Word Document For Free Using Office Live Word

From the Office Live site, Click New > Word document.

create a new word doc online in office live

Before entering the web app, you’ll be asked to enter a name for the document; click Save to start writing!

name your word document and save it in office live web app

How To Open Microsoft Word 2010 Documents In The Live Office Web App

From the summary page, you can add files to your SkyDrive so that they can open in the Word web app.  Click the Add files button to get started.

add files to skydrive via office live

The add documents page has the groovy ability to use Drag and Drop functionality with Internet Explorer.  To add a file, all you have to do is Drag it right into the browser window. Alternatively, you can browse your computer for individual documents using the select documents from your computer link, the default for other browsers and the Mac.  Once uploading is finished, then click Continue.

add documents to my documents from office live

Once you’ve finished uploading your documents, you can view all of them from your My Documents area of Live Office; and if you have just uploaded a file, you’ll automatically go there.  To open up the document in the Word web app, hover over the document with your mouse and select Edit in browser.

edit a skydrive document in browser


Microsoft has made it easy to use Word online. Although it may be lacking all the features of the desktop version, the fact that it’s integrated with SkyDrive, works with any browser or operating system, is free, and integrates with desktop versions of Microsoft Office makes it a pretty groovy release from Microsoft this week!

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. mike.smith -

    This application is a direct response do Google docs. No wonder Google pushed/pushes so hard to move its large and paying customers to its solutions.

    But I heard that from the long run MS Web App should be co finance by commercial. This brings a privacy issue since it will scan your documents to display relevant adds. I know that gmail already does this with emails, but documents are somehow considered more private matter than emails. I am not saying whether it is good or wrong, but it is so.

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