15 Differences between Word Online and Office 365/2013 Word

Word Online

Office Online is free, but Office 365 or its traditional version Office 2013 isn’t, so what are the features that you primarily miss when you use Word Online compared to its desktop counterpart? Word Online was not great at the initial launch stages, but the 2015 update did some wonders for the app online. It may still not be suitable for everyone out there, but for some Word is enough for getting a quick job done. Let’s see how the Word Online stands up against the desktop Word. I am not going to compare every tiny bit of differences that don’t matter much, but here are 15 most important ones that could affect the way you work online and on desktop Word.

1. Templates

Templates are the fastest way to make a great looking Word document. Word Online doesn’t pack all the templates which the installed Word version offer. Having said that Word Online templates are not at all bad, they look cool and you will find free templates from several categories like Flyers, Business, Resume, Calenders, etc, but Office 365 Word gives more elegant and professional looking templates.

Word Online Free Templates

Showing some Word Online Free Templates

Office 2013 Word Templates

Showing Some Word 2013 Templates

2. Print Layout view

Word Online displays a document as it looks in Print Layout view which uses a PDF reader to print documents. Outline, Draft, Web Layout, and Full Screen Reading that are seen in the Word desktop app are not available in Word Online. You will also miss the Navigation pane, side-by-side viewing, and split windows in Word Online. Other important missing features include Ruler and Gridlines.

Word Online Print View Features

Word Online Print View Features

Desktop Word Print Layout Features

Desktop Word Print Layout Features

3. Password Protected Word Files

Word Online can’t open Word documents that are password protected; it throws error.

Word Online Password Protection Error

Word Online Password Protection Error

4. Styles

Word Online only lets you to apply one of a gallery of built-in styles, including option to clear formatting, but you cannot create new styles or modify styles.

Word Online Preset Styles

Word Online Preset Styles

In desktop Word you can create your own style.

Word 2013 - Create a Style

Word 2013 – Create a Style

5. Theme and Page Background

Theme and page background are saved in the document but can’t be edited in Word Online.

6. Spell Check, Auto-correct, Grammar, Translation, Thesaurus

Word Online comes with a spell check tool using its built-in dictionary, you can’t customize dictionary.  Word Online does not include grammar checking, translation, or a thesaurus. Word Online corrects common mistakes as you type like the for teh etc. Unlike the Word desktop application, Word Online does not include a way to customize the AutoCorrect options.


7. Tables

Word Online comes with Tables support, but you have to use the built-in styles only.

Word Online Table Defaults

Word Online Table Defaults

You can’t customize table styles like you do on desktop version.

Desktop Word Table Style Modification

Desktop Word Table Style Modification

8. Picture Options

Picture Options are very limited in Word Online, you can insert a picture and then Shrink or Grow it, you can’t crop it, or apply sophisticated filter effects that you can do in the desktop version of Word.

Word Online Picture Options

Word Online Picture Options

9. Advanced Save Options

Word Online saves the file in its basic form; you won’t get advanced Save As options like adding a digital signature or applying restrictions.

Advanced Save As Options in Desktp Word

Advanced Save As Options in Desktop Word

10. Header and Footer Options

You can add Header and Footers in Word Online editor mode, including picture and text, but you won’t get advanced styles as seen in the desktop counterpart.

11. Symbols, Shapes and Equations

You can insert symbols, Footnotes in Word Online. You can’t insert Shapes, Equations, Fields, content controls, and Cover Page in Word Online.

Word Online Insert Tab

Word Online Insert Tab

12. Macros, ActiveX controls, Embedded OLE objects

You can’t create Macros ActiveX controls, and embedded OLE objects in Word Online, you can only see them as place holders in a document created in desktop version, and you can only delete them online.

13. Chart and Screenshot

Chart and Screenshot features are not found in Word Online. You can only view those that are created on the desktop version.

Insert Features in Desktop Word

Insert Features in Desktop Word

14. References Tab

If you use the features in the References section of desktop word, then there is a bad news for you – No references tab on Word Online for now.

References Tab in Desktop Word

References Tab in Desktop Word

15. Inking

Word Online doesn’t have Inking tools like Pen, Highlighter, Eraser etc, I hope Microsoft gets them here in future updates.

Ink Tools in Desktop Wor

Ink Tools in Desktop Word

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Kiran Kumar

Hi there! Kiran Kumar is an Engineer by profession, and loves blogging primarily on Microsoft Windows operating system and also enjoys reviewing software and products. Currently, he is exploring Windows 10 and you will see a lot of articles on know-how about it. When he is not writing for TWP, he enjoys time with his Family, listens to lot of music, enjoys Biking, and occasionally plays racing games on Xbox One.