Microsoft Word is the original productivity application and is still a market leader thanks to features that should put a smile on the face of 21st-century creatives.
Extensive range of features
Intuitive to use
No free plan available
No cybersecurity protection with a one time purchase
No phone support on personal plans
Why you can trust TechRadar We spend hours testing every product or service we review, so you can be sure you’re buying the best. Find out more about how we test.
Professionals in a range of fields consider Microsoft Word an indispensable productivity application, and since 1983, Microsoft Word users have happily been able to write documents and format their text in numerous ways.
The application’s current capabilities extend far beyond text formatting, though, to include features like instant translation, web page formatting, and 3D model insertion. With all these new features, Microsoft Word is even set to challenge other Office application PowerPoint as some of the best presentation software available.
In this Microsoft Word review, we’ll assess all aspects of the application, from price to support, so you can decide if it’s the best word processing application for you.
Microsoft Word: Plans and pricing
Microsoft Word has a free application called Word Mobile, which allows you to edit Word documents on your mobile phone and read them on laptops, desktops, and tablets. Word Mobile is insufficient for creating and editing professional documents. Those who want free office software with more features than Word Mobile can use Office Online, which includes all formatting options of a paid plan and allows you to store up to 5GB of documents on the cloud.
Microsoft encourages those who want an Office application to purchase a Microsoft 365 subscription instead of a one-time purchase. One-time purchases cost $149.99 and do not include updates, technical support, advanced security, or license-free content, to name only a few of the features inclusive to the subscription plans.
Business users can choose a Microsoft 365 subscription with no security features for only $8.25 user/mo. Microsoft 365 plans for businesses that include Word and enhanced security measures also provide collaboration tools. Business users can choose between a $12.50 user/month Standard Plan or a $20.00 user/month Premium Plan, with the more expensive plan including enhanced cybersecurity measures.
Microsoft Word: Features
Microsoft Word is no longer a simple word processor. New features make it indispensable for professionals who need to give presentations as often as they take notes.
Insert 3D models from a file into Word documents as you would 2D images. If you don’t have your own 3D model on file, search Word’s catalog of license-free media for a 3D model you like. You can tilt models and alter size so they cohere with the rest of your document.
Subscription versions of Microsoft Word allow you to access Microsoft’s huge library of icons. Icons include representations of individuals with accessibility requirements, road signage iconography, and stylized renderings of animals. You can rotate, resize, and color icons, without losing image quality.
Translate a whole document or sections of text into other languages, to share your work with those you can’t share a conversation with.
With a touch-enabled device or trackpad, draw liberally on Microsoft Word documents. Choose the thickness of pen and color, then scribble away. You can use ink to draw shapes or highlight text.
Learn how accessible your document is to those with access needs with Microsoft’s Accessibility Checker. It not only tells you how your document may be inaccessible to those with specific needs but also provides solutions.
Microsoft Word: Interface and in use
When you’ve chosen your Microsoft 365 subscription or made a one-time purchase, download your application via the link provided. Once your package has downloaded, click the file and install it on your device. When it’s installed, you’ll be able to open Microsoft Word from your menu or taskbar.
Microsoft Word makes it easy to find what you’re looking for, as all menu options and features are named to represent their function. When you first open Word on a laptop or desktop, it gives you the option of selecting from recent files, templates, or a blank document. Word Mobile works the same but can be uncomfortable to navigate on a small mobile device.
Once you’ve selected your recent file, blank document, or template, write away. Select Insert, Draw, or Design from the menu bar to add visual elements to your document. Every tool you need is a couple of clicks away.
Microsoft Word: Support
Individual Microsoft users and family plan users with technical issues can only solicit help from Microsoft’s Virtual Agent, who may connect you with a human chat operator if it can’t solve your problem. Business users can submit a service request via their admin console or call a telephone customer service representative.
Microsoft Word: Security
Microsoft 365 subscribers benefit from enhanced cybersecurity protection that one-time purchasers do not have access to. If file security is important to you, choose an Microsoft 365 subscription over a paid plan as ransomware detection and recovery are included as standard. Users can also choose to enable two-factor authentication on their most personal files. Business users on the Standard Plan enjoy the same cybersecurity protections as personal users.
Those on the Business Premium Plan will also benefit from advanced threat protection. This includes tools to detect hidden ransomware and guard against insider threats. Word files can be remotely wiped from devices in cases of loss or theft.
The best alternative to Microsoft Office is Google Workspace, and Google Docs is offered as a rival to Word. It is entirely online, unlike Microsoft Word, so users do not have to download an application to their desktop or laptop. Most importantly, it is free to use for individual users.
Google Docs makes it easy for users to collaborate on documents in real-time, as the document creator simply needs to grant editing rights to another user. Microsoft Word users can also do this, but only with the collaboration suite, Microsoft Teams.
However, Google Doc images do lose granularity at a higher rate than those on Microsoft Word, making it less appealing when creating complex presentations with visual elements. Additionally, Google Docs is not so user-friendly, and can suffer from formatting issues when converting files. Microsoft Word is easily superior.
Microsoft Word is the best word processing application available on the market today. If you want to incorporate graphic elements into presentations, its features greatly surpass those available on Google Docs. There are few reasons to choose a one-time purchase and be stuck with aging software, so choose a subscription plan for enhanced cybersecurity protection.
- We've featured the best online courses for Word.
You might also want to check out how to download and use Microsoft Word for free.