Microsoft Office Online; Familiar and Free

In case you hadn’t yet heard, Microsoft Office Online is now available for free to anyone that’s got a Microsoft account (Live, MSN, etc). It’s part of Microsoft’s strategy to have a full cloud suite of applications that competes with (and in Microsoft’s opinion, trumps) Google’s Drive – formerly Google Docs – as well as Apache’s OpenOffice.

Microsoft’s thinking is that why would anyone settle for something that’s ‘somewhat’ compatible when they will now give you the real Microsoft Office for free? And when you go to and open Word, even the menus and screen layout are very familiar to someone that’s worked with Office 2010 or 2013.

There isn’t quite the full range of functionality that’s available in Office 365 or the standalone version of Office Professional, but for banging out a quick letter it’s more than adequate. And of course they’ve neatly tied in online storage with SkyDrive, now renamed OneDrive.

In our testing everything works well and the familiar menus definitely help make the experience friendly.