How to Check a Microsoft Word Document for Plagiarism

539485 How to Check a Microsoft Word Document for Plagiarism

In the digital age, the ease of copying and pasting text has made plagiarism a widespread issue. Whether you’re a student, a teacher, a writer, or a professional, it’s crucial to ensure that your work is original and properly cited. This article will guide you on how to use Microsoft Word’s built-in Similarity Checker to detect potential plagiarism in your documents.

What is Plagiarism?

Plagiarism is the act of using someone else’s work or ideas without giving them proper credit, presenting it as your own. It’s a serious ethical violation that can lead to severe consequences in both academic and professional settings. By checking for plagiarism, you can ensure your work maintains its integrity and respects the intellectual property of others.

Enabling the Similarity Checker in Microsoft Word

Microsoft Word, one of the most widely used word processing tools, has a built-in feature called the Similarity Checker. This tool compares your document to online sources to identify potential plagiarism. Here’s how to enable it:

  1. Open your document in Microsoft Word.
  2. Go to the Home tab.
  3. Click on the Editor pane.
  4. Select Similarity.
  5. Click on Check for similarity to online sources.

Running the Similarity Check

Once you’ve enabled the Similarity Checker, running a check is straightforward:

  1. Click the Check for similarity button.
  2. Wait for Word to compare your document to online sources.

The Similarity Checker will show you what percentage of your document matches content found online. It will also highlight specific passages that it has identified as similar, allowing you to review them.

Reviewing the Results

After running the Similarity Check, it’s time to review the results:

  • Carefully examine the passages that Word has flagged as similar to online sources.
  • Determine whether these passages require adding a citation, rewriting, or if the match is a false positive.

Remember, it’s not just about avoiding plagiarism; it’s also about ensuring your work is original and contributes something new. If a passage is flagged, consider how you can rewrite it to better reflect your unique perspective.

Understanding the Limitations

While the Similarity Checker is a powerful tool, it’s important to understand its limitations:

  • The Similarity Checker can only compare your document to online sources. It cannot check against books, articles, or other documents that are not available online.
  • The tool only works for documents written in English.
  • Human review is still necessary. The Similarity Checker should be used as a starting point for further investigation, not as the final verdict on whether or not a document contains plagiarism.


The Similarity Checker in Microsoft Word is a valuable tool for checking documents for potential plagiarism. It’s easy to use and can provide a quick overview of how much of your document matches online sources. However, it’s not infallible and should be used in conjunction with careful human review and proper citation practices. By understanding how to use this tool and its limitations, you can ensure your work is original, ethical, and respectful of others’ intellectual property.