Have a Microsoft 365 license? Then you can also use the included programs on any computer as an online application in the web browser. But even without a license, the applications are available free of charge – as a limited basic version.
With a Microsoft account, sign in to Microsoft’s online office.
The central contact point for the online office from Microsoft is the website www.office.com. The online versions of Microsoft Office offer you all the basic functions for creating and editing files and documents. However, some functions are only available with a paid subscription.
Buy a Microsoft 365 subscription from Amazon
But what exactly is the advantage of the online office? Regardless of the end device used, you can use the basic version of Word and Excel free of charge – for example on a family member’s PC or notebook. This also works on older computers that would be overwhelmed in terms of performance with the desktop versions of Microsoft 365. A stable Internet connection at DSL level is sufficient for using the online applications.
With a Microsoft account – ideally the same one you use with Windows 10 or 11 – log in to Microsoft’s online office. The web interface opens. In the large area, the most recently opened, pinned and shared documents are displayed in the respective tabs.
The icons on the left of the screen give you access to Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Outlook, Onedrive, Teams, OneNote, To do, Family Safety, Calendar and Skype. Clicking on the square with the nine dots takes you to the app overview – even from any active application.
Text editing with Word
After you have started Word (“New empty document”) you will see an interface that at first glance does not differ from the permanently installed desktop program. You can now design the document and fill it with content. As an alternative to an empty document, open a template or a file in the Onedrive storage. The final files can be saved in the Microsoft cloud. You get 5 GB of storage for free with your Microsoft account. The paid subscription even includes 1 TB of storage. You can also use the storage space for other documents, photos, videos and other files.
The basic Word functions are also available in the free version.
The basic Word functions are also available in the free version. You can format text extensively and use extras such as styles, spell check, search and replace as well as headers and footers. Tables, images and page numbers can also be inserted. You can even turn on dictation, but you’ll need to allow the website to access your microphone. Practical for collaborating with other people: Share documents and allow joint editing. To do this, click on “Share” in the upper right corner and enter the email address of the person(s). If you wish, you can write a note for the recipient(s).
Some advanced features are reserved for the Microsoft 365 subscription. But that doesn’t really matter that much. The Word online application with its basic functions is sufficient for most everyday tasks.
Excel & Powerpoint for everyday tasks
What applies to Word also applies to the spreadsheet and the presentation program: You can create new spreadsheets or open existing documents in the Microsoft cloud. The basic functions and formatting are available. Common diagram types can also be generated with just a few mouse clicks.
Even the basic version of PowerPoint is sufficient for simple tasks. With just a few clicks you can add text and images to a presentation and use the formatting functions. You use designs from the templates, animations and slide transitions. With extensive presentations, however, you quickly reach the limits of what is feasible – or rather the possibilities of the online version.
The Outlook mailbox is included
The free Outlook mailbox is generously dimensioned with 15 GB of storage space. That should be more than enough for most users. In the paid version of Microsoft 365 you get 50 GB of storage and the mailbox is also ad-free. While the free version of Outlook is limited to only one Microsoft account, Gmail accounts can also be added to the subscription edition. However, other IMAP and POP3 mailboxes are left out. The detour via the collection service for the Gmail account may help here. Outlook Online is ideal for being reachable with an Outlook email address (.de or .com). The web interface is easy to use and provides all basic functions. The web calendar for managing all appointments and Microsoft To-do for planning tasks are docked to Outlook.
Outlook Online is ideal for being reachable with an Outlook email address (.de or .com).
Use Teams as a web app in the browser
Microsoft Teams can be easily run in the browser via the web application offered by Microsoft. This is useful if, for example, you want to access Teams on someone else’s computer or tablet PC even though the program is not installed. And this is how it works: Open the website www.office.com in the browser and start Teams using the corresponding icon.
Buy a Microsoft 365 subscription from Amazon
The free online applications from Microsoft are sufficient for many everyday tasks. A paid subscription is not mandatory. Who comes to the functional limits of the web apps or additionally the desktop versions on PC. If you want to install a notebook or tablet, Microsoft 365 is the best choice.