View, Create, and Edit Documents in Microsoft Word for Free

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

Available as part of the Microsoft Office suite or as a standalone application, Microsoft Word typically isn't free. However, there are a few ways to use Word for free if you need to edit or view a file with a DOC or DOCX extension.

Microsoft Word Online

What We Like
  • Available for any operating system.

  • Sharing and collaboration features similar to Google Docs.

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

  • Must upload images to OneDrive to use in documents.

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

A DOCX file open online with Microsoft Word Online.

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

The Microsoft Word Mobile App

What We Like
  • Intuitive touch screen interface.

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

What We Don't Like
  • Not available for free on all tablets.

  • Typing on a small screen can be difficult.

The Microsoft Word mobile app is available as a free download for Android and iOS devices through Google Play or the Apple App Store. The app requires an Office 365 subscription to create or edit documents on an iPad Pro. However, the core functionality is accessible for free on iPhone, iPod touch, iPad Air, and iPad mini devices and includes the ability to create, edit, and view Word documents. There are some advanced features that are only activated with a subscription.

Word for iOS

Similar limitations are found on the Android version of the app, where 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 is great for Android phones. On an Android tablet, you'll need a subscription to do more than view documents.

Office 365 Home Trial

What We Like
  • Store documents online to sync and share between devices.

  • Unrestricted access to the Microsoft Office suite.

What We Don't Like
  • Credit card 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 Office 365 Home. This version installs the complete version of the Word word processor along with the rest of the Office suite. You can use Office 365 Home on up to five PCs or Macs as well as the full version of the apps on five tablets and phones.

Graduation Announcement Template or Printable for Microsoft Word

This free trial requires a valid credit card number and lasts for a full month. At the end of the free trial, you are charged a yearly fee if you don't cancel the subscription. Register for this trial subscription on the Microsoft Office Products portal.

LibreOffice

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

  • Doesn't collect data from you.

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

  • 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 users, provides an easy-to-use word processor interface. Use Writer to view, edit, or create new files from over a dozen formats including DOC, DOCX, and ODT.

LibreOffice Writer

Kingsoft Office

What We Like
  • Downloadable templates.

  • Multilingual support.

What We Don't Like
  • Limited collaboration options.

  • Must watch ads to use some features.

Another multi-platform word processor, Kingsoft WPS Writer, supports documents in Word formats and also provides unique features including an integrated PDF converter. Downloadable for free as part of the WPS Office package, WPS Writer can be installed on Android, iOS, Mac, Linux, and Windows devices. A business version of the product is available for a fee.

Start Page for Kingsoft Office

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 and can be used free of charge with a Google account. Docs is browser-based on desktop platforms and accessible through native apps on Android and iOS devices. Integrated with Google Drive, Docs allows for seamless document collaboration with several users.

Page Numbering in Online Google Docs

Word Viewer

What We Like
  • Compatible with older computers.

  • Supports DOC, RFT, TXT, HTML, XML, WPD, and WPS files.

What We Don't Like
  • No editing capabilities.

  • Outdated interface.

Microsoft Word Viewer is a free application that runs only on older versions of the Windows operating system (Windows 7 and below). Use Word Viewer to view, copy, or print documents saved in one of the multiple Word formats (DOC, DOCX, DOT, DOTX, DOCM, or DOTM). If you have an old operating system and cannot locate Word Viewer on your PC, get it from the Microsoft Download Center.