Create, Edit, and View Microsoft Word Documents for Free

Take advantage of Microsoft Word Online, Microsoft 365, and the Word app

Microsoft Word is a powerful word processor available as part of the Microsoft Office/365 suite or as a standalone application. While Microsoft Word typically isn't free, there are a few ways to use Word at no cost if you need to edit or view a file with a DOC or DOCX extension.

Here's a look at the top tools you can use to view, edit, and create Word documents for free.

This article's information addresses working with Microsoft Word documents for free on various operating systems and platforms.

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Microsoft Word Online

ADOCX file open online with Microsoft Word Online
What We Like
  • Available for any operating system.

  • Sharing and collaboration features similar to Google Docs.

  • Multiple templates to choose from.

What We Don't Like
  • Lacks some features of the desktop version.

  • Must upload images to OneDrive to use in documents.

Word Online offers an almost-full version of the popular word processor in a browser window. As part of Office Online, it provides all the viewing and editing features you need to create and edit new or existing documents. While not all features in the desktop version made it to this browser-based app, it stores edited files in a cloud-based OneDrive repository and on a local computer in DOCX, PDF, or ODT formats.

Word Online includes sharing features, so you can invite other users to view or collaborate on any document. It also includes a feature that embeds documents into a blog post or personal website. Word Online is compatible with the latest versions of most well-known browsers on Linux, Mac, and Windows operating systems.

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The Microsoft Word Mobile App for iOS or Android

Microsoft Word (for iOS) running on an iPad Pro
What We Like
  • Intuitive touchscreen interface.

  • Dictate text with the iPhone voice-to-text feature.

  • Share files easily.

What We Don't Like
  • Typing on a small screen can be difficult.

  • For tablets bigger than 10.1 inches, you can view documents for free, but can only create or edit with a Microsoft 365 subscription.

The Microsoft Word mobile app is available as a free download for Android and iOS devices through the Google Play Store or Apple App Store.

For iPads bigger than 10.1 inches, you can view documents for free. However, you need a Microsoft 365 subscription to create or edit documents. With an iPhone, iPod touch, iPad Air, or iPad mini, it's free to create, edit, and view Word documents. Still, some advanced features are activated only with a subscription.

The app's Android version has similar limitations. Authenticating with a free Microsoft account unlocks the ability to create and edit Word documents on devices with screens 10.1 inches or smaller. This feature is great for Android phones. On an Android tablet, you need a subscription to do more than view documents.

Microsoft also offers a unified Office app simply named Microsoft Office, which includes Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. It has the same limitations as the standalone Word app.

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Microsoft 365 Free Trial

Using the free trial version of Microsoft Office 365 to create a graduation announcement for Microsoft Word
What We Like
  • Store documents online to sync and share between devices.

  • Unrestricted access to the Microsoft Office suite.

What We Don't Like
  • A credit card is required.

  • Automatically renews at the annual rate if you don't cancel the trial.

If you want the advanced features of Word that aren't found in Word Online and the Word mobile apps, Microsoft offers a free trial of Microsoft 365 Family. The free trial includes the complete version of the Word word processor along with the rest of the Office suite. Use Microsoft 365 Family for up to six people across various platforms and multiple devices.

The free trial lasts 30 days and requires entering a valid credit card number. At the end of that time, Microsoft charges a yearly fee if you don't cancel the subscription. Register for this trial subscription on the Microsoft Office Products portal.

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LibreOffice Writer
What We Like
  • Looks like the classic version of Word.

  • Doesn't collect data from you.

  • Completely free.

What We Don't Like
  • Online collaboration requires advanced setup.

  • The prompt and dialog menu text is small.

While not a Microsoft product, the LibreOffice suite is a free alternative that supports Word document formats. Writer, part of the open-source package available for Linux, Mac, and Windows, provides an easy-to-use word processor interface. Use Writer to view, edit, or create new files from more than a dozen formats, including DOC, DOCX, and ODT.

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WPS Office

WPS Office website
What We Like
  • Downloadable templates.

  • Multilingual support.

  • Clean and simple interface.

What We Don't Like
  • Limited collaboration options.

  • Must watch ads to use some features.

WPS Office (formerly known as Kingsoft WPS Writer) is another multi-platform word processor. WPS Office supports documents in Word formats and provides some unique features, including an integrated PDF converter. WPS Writer is available for free as part of the WPS Office package and works with Android, iOS, Mac, Linux, and Windows devices. A business version of the product is available for a fee.

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Google Docs

Page Numbering in Online Google Docs
What We Like
  • Save documents to the cloud and access from all devices.

  • Real-time collaboration with detailed tracking of changes.

What We Don't Like
  • Offline editing requires a browser extension.

  • Fewer features than similar desktop programs.

Google Docs is a full-featured word processor that is compatible with Microsoft Word file formats. It's available free of charge with a Google account. Docs is browser-based on desktop platforms and has regular apps on Android and iOS devices. As part of Google Drive, Docs allows for seamless document collaboration with several users.

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