How to Create, Edit, and View Microsoft Word Documents for Free

62544 How to Create, Edit, and View Microsoft Word Documents for Free

Microsoft Word is considered the gold standard for word processing and document creation. However, the full Microsoft Office suite requires a paid subscription, which can get expensive. Thankfully, there are free alternatives that allow you to create, edit, and view Word documents without spending any money. This guide will walk you through several methods.

Use Microsoft Word Online

The easiest free option is to use Microsoft’s own Word Online web application.

To get started:

  1. Go to and click Sign in in the top right corner
  2. Sign in with a free Microsoft account or create one if you don’t have one
  3. Click on Word to launch the Word Online app

Key features:

  • Create new Word documents or upload existing files
  • Basic editing tools for formatting text, paragraphs, lists, etc.
  • Real-time co-authoring capabilities
  • Share documents by inviting others to collaborate
  • Export files as PDFs or Word documents

The main limitations are lack of advanced features like macros, extensive formatting options, and extensive editing capabilities. But for basic everyday word processing needs, Word Online works quite well and requires no specialized software.

Install Free Office Suites

If you need more robust document creation and editing capabilities, consider installing free office suite software on your computer. The two best options are:

1. LibreOffice

LibreOffice is an open-source and completely free office software suite. It is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Key features:

  • Word processor Writer can open DOCX/DOC files and retain formatting
  • Support for complex layouts, images, tables, macros, etc.
  • Fully compatible for exporting and saving as Word documents
  • Completely free with no limited trial
  • Available in over 100 languages

2. Google Docs, Sheets & Slides

Google’s web-based office suite is another excellent free option accessible from any web browser.

Key features

  • Create documents, spreadsheets, slides, forms and more
  • Real-time collaboration capabilities
  • Available offline with the Chrome browser
  • Convert Word documents to Google Docs format to edit them
  • 15GB of free Google Drive storage space
  • Share and export files in Microsoft Office formats

The only potential downside is that complex Word documents with intricate formatting may lose some fidelity when converted to Google Docs. But it works very well for most everyday needs.

Use the Microsoft Word Mobile App

Microsoft offers free Word mobile apps for Android and iOS. This allows you to view and do basic editing of Word documents on your mobile device.

To get started:

  1. Install Microsoft Word on your Android/iOS device
  2. Open the app and tap on Open file location
  3. Select the storage location of your Word docs
  4. Tap any file to open it

You can view documents, make minor text edits, modify formatting, leave comments, etc. But extensive editing capabilities require a paid Office 365 subscription.

Convert Files Using Google Drive

If you have Word documents stored in Google Drive, you can convert them into editable Google Doc formats.

To convert:

  1. Go to Google Drive on the web
  2. Right click on any DOCX or DOC file
  3. Select Open with > Google Docs
  4. The file will convert to an editable Google Doc

Now you can edit, share, export as a Word doc, and so on. The conversion process is usually seamless, but formatting errors can occur in complex documents.

Use Browser Extensions

There are Chrome and Firefox extensions that allow you to directly open and edit Word documents within your browser.

For example, Office Editing for Docs, Sheets & Slides provides extensive editing tools for Word and Excel files.

To use:

  1. Install the Chrome extension
  2. Go to Google Drive and open any Word file
  3. The file will open in an editing view powered by the extension
  4. Edit as needed and export back to Word format when done

This provides much more robust editing capabilities compared to converting to Google Docs.

Quick File Viewing Options

If you just need to quickly view Word documents rather than edit them, here are some options:

  • Windows 10 – Use the free Microsoft Word Mobile app
  • Mac – Use the built-in Quick Look feature by hitting the Spacebar key
  • Any Device – Use Xodo Docs to quickly open and view Word files

None of these options allow editing – just viewing. But they work well if you need to briefly check a file.


As you can see, you have several solid options for working with Word documents entirely for free:

  • Use Word Online for basic editing needs
  • Install LibreOffice or Google’s office suite for more advanced capabilities
  • Employ mobile and desktop apps for quick viewing
  • Leverage browser extensions for robust editing

So don’t feel like you need an Office 365 subscription. With the above solutions, you can create, edit, and view Word documents without spending a dime!

The key is identifying your specific needs. Casual users will probably be happy with Word Online. But power users may want a complete office suite like LibreOffice.

Hopefully this guide has provided some clarity on the best free options. Let me know if you have any other questions!

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