My Office365 subscription expired recently, and I don't have the money now to renew.

But I may have a writing/editing gig coming up which involves MS Office. I already have LibreOffice, but I don't totally trust it with MS Word especially because the deliverable will probably be MS Word. There's a good chance that I'll be using track changes and/or comments.

The document probably doesn't have a lot of formatting.

I was wondering:

  1. Has anyone tried taking an original docx file, write comments/changes in LibreOffice and then use LibreOffice to export to .docx? Were there any problems?
  2. I notice that in my Live Account I can create and edit a doc via this URL. It seems to work well without requiring a license. What limitations are there on the free online version? Anything I need to know?


UPDATE: I see that the free online version has been around for a while. (See this article) Does anyone know how the free online version differs from the paid version?

  • 2
    I think this question is okay here. I lean on the side of allowing Word/Office questions in a writing context unless they turn into obvious tech-support or recommendation questions. I think this one is specific enough to common writing situations to be on-topic here, and possibly generally useful. MS Word is such a common writing tool that unless someone is asking "how to I make the font size bigger" or something similar I'd like to allow it. Sep 15, 2017 at 1:10

1 Answer 1


I have played around with the free online version of MS Word, and the best I can tell is that it imports otf files easily (not a surprise), has collaboration functionality as well as MS Word's grammar checking. It doesn't appear to be limited in functionality, and there is a fairly generous amount of storage space. You can share view capability with people without a MS account, but being able to edit another person's doc requires a MS account.

Update: I have been editing a 100 page document shared by someone else in the online free version of MS Word. I noticed that you don't have access to Track Changes feature unless you download and pay for the desktop version. See https://support.office.com/en-us/article/Can-I-use-Track-Changes-in-Word-Online-9016b7f8-b864-458f-ba45-183049f90bd8 According to that article, track changes are working when you edit online; you just can't see it on the online version.

I have also noticed that adding comments tends to make editing extremely sluggish. I would recommend making comments on a separate file instead of on the online version of MS Word.

Update 2. Unfortunately, I've noticed other deficiencies. In the online version, you can't custom edit styles like Headings, lists, etc. All you can do is to individually format elements on a page using format controls. You can apply the styles; you just can't edit the styles themselves.

As a workaround, I tried creating a template in LibreOffice, saving it as MS Word 2013 file and uploading it to the free online version of MS Word. Be sure NOT to upload the .odt file. You must save the .odt file as a .docx before uploading to the MS Office website.

  • 1
    Again, your own answer illustrates that your question has nothing to do with writing but with features of a software that you could as well have asked about on Superusers or a similar site.
    – user26338
    Sep 12, 2017 at 12:14

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.