Microsoft Office Online Review

Picture of the Microsoft Office logo


Microsoft Office Online can serve as a free Microsoft Office alternative, as it lets you edit and share files created in a word processor, spreadsheet, and presentation program, as well access MS Outlook and OneNote.

Everything done through Microsoft Office Online is performed through a web browser and saved online so you can access the files from anywhere.

More About Microsoft Office Online

Microsoft Office Online gives you free access to Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook, and OneNote.

Also available is an online calendar and OneDrive, which is a free online storage service.


  • No software download
  • Opens every file type that MS Office can use
  • Share files with anyone
  • Work with others on a file simultaneously
  • Free templates are available
  • Saves your work automatically
  • Familiar interface as MS Office
  • Automatic spell check in Word, OneNote, Calendar, and Outlook


  • Files must exist in OneDrive before being used
  • Can't check for spelling errors in Excel or PowerPoint
  • 2 GB is the largest file size that can be used
  • Unable to save files to their original format

Microsoft Office Online File Formats

Microsoft Office Online fully supports the following file types, meaning that you can open and save back to these formats:


As you can see, the newer file formats found in the desktop version of Microsoft Office, such as DOCX, PPTX, and XLSX, can be used in full in Microsoft Office Online.

Microsoft Office Online vs. Microsoft Office

The desktop version of Microsoft Office is very much similar to the online version. Though some features may not be present, the overall look and feel are nearly identical.

They both contain Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and OneNote, but one major difference is that files are automatically saved when using Microsoft Office Online.

Also, Microsoft Office is able to save file types in their original format while Microsoft Office Online can't (read more about this below).

Thoughts on Microsoft Office Online

If you're familiar with the desktop version of Microsoft Office, using Microsoft Office Online is a breeze, as the menus and functions are similar, if not the exact same.

Common file formats are allowed and every single format that Microsoft Office supports is supported in the online version. However, there is a major difference in the way Microsoft Office Online uses these files compared to the desktop version.

Say you're working with someone else on a DOC file that was created in a program like SSuite Office. If you load this DOC file into Microsoft Office Online and attempt to make any edits, the file is automatically converted to DOCX. This means when you save the file and return it to the SSuite Office user, edits can't be made because that office suite doesn't allow DOCX files to be opened.

My point is that I think it creates unnecessary issues to be unable to save files in their original format. The same goes for PowerPoint and Excel file types.

Also, it's unfortunate that you must first upload files to OneDrive before using them in Word, Excel, etc. This means you can't load a file directly into PowerPoint, for instance, for editing, but instead must first upload it to OneDrive and then start the edit from there.