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Is a Chromebook Right for You? Comparing Word for Windows and Word for Android

Is a Chromebook Right for You? Comparing Word for Windows and Word for Android

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Credit: Google

If you’re considering buying a Chromebook, you might be wondering if it’ll run a word processor that fits your needs. If you use Google Docs, no problem. Similar to Google Docs on Chromebooks and Windows platforms. Microsoft Word is another matter. There is a Word for Android app that works beautifully on Chromebook, but it’s not as fully-featured as Word for Windows. Here’s how the two versions of Word differ so you can decide if Word for Android will work for you.

Word is part of the Microsoft Office suite and Office comes in many versions. In this article, I compare Word for Android to the version of Word for Windows that comes with Office 2016 or Office 365. Office 2016 is the package you buy, own, and install on your computer. Office 365 is the subscription model. Microsoft Office apps for Android, including Word, are built into Office 365.

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This comparison of Word for Android and Windows is based on a non-exhaustive support document according to Microsoft. Unless you rely on some deep but rarely used features of Word for Windows, it should give you enough information to determine if Word for Android has what you need. A summary of the missing features of Word for Android that are included in Word for Windows can be found at the end of the article for easy reference.

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Edit Features

All the editing features listed by Microsoft are in both Word for Android and Windows. Both versions of Word let you view, add, delete, and change comments, add and view threaded comments, and track changes. Find and replace also works in Word for Windows and Android.

Item Features

Like editing, all the features of items listed by Microsoft work in both versions of Word. You can create tables, insert pictures, create lists, add shapes, text boxes, and hyperlinks in Word for Windows and Android.

Embedded objects, chart data, and SmartArt features

You can view and perform limited formatting for these types of objects in both Word for Android and Windows. You can add and update in Word for Windows. Microsoft notes that the add and update is limited to tablet mode in Word for Android, but I wasn’t able to update the SmartArt feature in tablet mode on the Pixelbook.

Credit: Kevin Mornan

View file

View modes in Word for Android are limited to reading, editing, 100%, single page, and page view. No print and web layouts, and split and multi-windows are not available. Word for Android does not save the zoom level.

Typing and Macro Features

Both versions of Word support full print functionality. Macros are not available in Word for Android.

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Audit features

Both versions check spelling, show word count, and support smart search. Word for Windows also checks grammar, while Word for Android doesn’t.

Save files

Both versions of Word let you save to OneDrive, other cloud services like Google Drive, or your local device. Word for Android does not support direct posting to a blog. The Document Inspector is also not available in Word for Android.

Credit: Kevin Mornan

Reference Features

You can view footnotes and add and update footnotes and endnotes in both versions of Word. You can view quotes and annotations in Word for Android but you can’t add or update them. Similarly, Word for Android allows you to open the Table of Contents without adding or updating it.

Sharing features

Word for Android and Windows lets you share a document as an email or link, or send a document as a PDF, attachment, or document saved to OneDrive. People can be invited to view or edit a document in both versions. Word for Android does not allow co-authoring, comparing, restoring, or merging reviews in real time.

Style Features

Both versions of Word allow you to view and add styles. You can apply existing styles using Word for Windows, and you have to use the paste function with Word for Android. You can customize a style in Word for Windows but you can’t customize it in Word for Android.

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Credit: Google

Here is a summary of the missing features in Word for Android that are available in Word for Windows.

  • Print and web layouts cannot be displayed.
  • Split and multiple windows cannot be displayed.
  • Zoom level is not saved when viewing a file.
  • Macros are not supported.
  • Grammar checking is not supported.
  • Quotes cannot be added or updated.
  • Subtitles cannot be added or updated.
  • The table of contents cannot be added or updated.
  • Posting directly to a blog is not supported.
  • Document inspector is not supported.
  • Real-time co-authoring is not supported.
  • Comparing, restoring or merging reviews is not supported.
  • Patterns cannot be customized.
  • Patterns can be pasted but not applied directly.

You can easily create a document on both platforms by storing your work on OneDrive. It can be very convenient if Word for Android meets all your needs. However, making sure you have access to the Windows platform when you need to use the missing features from Word for Android can be tricky. We hope this article helped you decide if Word for Android running on Chromebook will work for you.

If you are interested in Chromebooks and Chrome OS, here are other articles you might enjoy.


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