In a basic sense, a Word processor is a program for creating, editing, formatting, saving and printing text documents. A Word processing program is a mix of a simple text editor and a full-fledge desktop publishing software.
Microsoft Word is the most popular Word processor. It is available as a part of the Microsoft Office suite and is not free. Microsoft Word goes a long way further by giving lots of formatting options and templates for creating different kinds of documents.
There are a lot of free options like Wordpad and notepad which come built into Windows but nothing is as good as Microsoft Word.
Microsoft has also integrated Word with OneDrive cloud storage service which means that you can edit your documents using Microsoft Word and save your documents to the cloud easily.
With the boom of software-as-a-service and cloud services, it is logical that people start looking for services that can be operated within a web browser and do not require any installation.
In this article, we will discuss the best cloud-based services which provide free Word processor functionality with additional benefits and work without any installation required.
We can’t say that these services are competitors as each service comes with its own set of unique features. We will discuss the following features for each service and then you can select the features which are important to you and select the best online document editor for yourself.
Features that we are looking for in each online Word processing service:
- Creating new documents
- Editing existing documents
- Saving documents in the cloud
- Sharing with others
- Real-time collaboration (editing with multiple users)
- Chat and comment
- Save the document in Microsoft Word supported format
- Ready-to-use templates
- PDF integration
You may click on the features you want and the Word processing software list will automatically display the services that come with that specific feature. You can also select multiple features.
Microsoft Word Online
Microsoft Word Online offers you to create and edit documents online (you can edit Offline Word documents only when they are uploaded on OneDrive, otherwise they will not be edited in Word Online).
Word Online has a lot of file-sharing options and allows you to easily save your data to OneDrive. It offers you to invite other people using link-sharing or email invite to edit and view your documents along with providing the document version history and the person who edited it.
It allows real-time collaboration, making it easier to work within a group. Word Online also has a variety of ready to use templates which saves time. Online saving of documents offers portability and easy access. You can also save documents in PDF, Word, and ODT formats (.pdf, .doc, .docx, .odt). However, PDF format documents can not be edited in Word Online.
Google docs is a well knows online document creating a source that can act as a really impactful alternative of Desktop-based Word Editors. It allows you to create documents and edit them ( For editing, Word and PDF format documents are not supported.
You can convert them into Google docs format to further use). You can save your document in Google Drive in real-time and see the previous history of documents too, along with the person who made changes in the document.
Multiple users can view and edit a document at the same time. It also provides you multiple templates to work with. It allows you to save documents in Word format and PDF format (also supports .otd, .rtf, .txt, .html.zipped, .epub)
Yandex disk offers all the features as of Microsoft Word Online. You have multiple templates to work with and an online saving feature. It offers you all the saving formats as of Word Online. The only difference is, the data would now be saved into Yandex Disk instead of OneDrive.
Zoho Writer is a part of the Zoho Office suite. Zoho Writer lets you create and edit documents online (Word Formats and PDF can only be viewed, but can not be edited). It allows you to edit and share documents in real-time.
Zoho Writer maintains a history of changes made to the document and the user who made the changes. It provides enhanced review and collaboration features, making it very efficient to work within teams.
It also provides you the distinct feature to directly post the document to your desired blogging website. It offers built-in templates, and supports a variety of saving formats including .doc, .docx, .pdf, .odt, .rtf, .txt, .html.zipped, .epub)
OffiWORD is also a powerful alternative to both online and desktop-based free Word processor programs. Its unique feature is that it allows you to create documents without signing in.
You can create and edit documents in OffiWORD by using its web app OffiDOC. (doesn’t support PDF and Word format editing though) . OffiWORD does not offer real-time editing and sharing of documents, and also doesn’t provide built-in templates. It offers you online saving documents to a cloud service (Google Drive, OneDrive, Yandex Disk, etc.) and allows you to save files in Word and PDF formats (also supports .odt, .rtf,)
ONLYOFFICE personal is another alternative to create and edit documents online. (it can also edit Word format documents). Offering you the unique quality of directly working from the cloud by enabling the integrated document management space feature.
It has the ability to switch your documents from online to offline mode in case of loss of internet connectivity without any data loss.
It provides you different formatting tools and desired objects including charts, shapes and also provide you the ability to insert pictures and videos in your document.
It allows real-time editing and sharing of documents. It does not offer built-in templates. You can save your data online to any cloud service and documents can be saved in Word and PDF formats (also supports .odt, .txt, .html, pdf/A, .ott, .rtf). Another amazing feature of ONLYOFFICE personal is that it works not only on Desktop based OS like Windows and Mac but also works in mobile devices including Android and iOS.
Selecting the best free Word Processor that works online really depends upon your choice of brand as well as specific requirements. If you are a Microsoft lover and have OneDrive and a Microsoft ID (outlook.com or hotmail.com or office 365) then you should select Microsoft Word Online. You can also go with Yandex Disk which also offers the same Microsoft Word Online but with a different cloud storage service.
If you have Gmail and Google Drive installed on your computer, you should try out Google Docs which is completely web-based and tied directly with Google Drive.
For a quick creation/editing/converting of documents, I would prefer OffiWord as it does not require any sign-ups. Which is your favorite Word Processing app?