Use the smart features in Word web app when creating documents

Top tips for working with Word online

Use the smart tools in Word web app to find commands and functions. Use Smart Look-up to find information and images.

For those that don't have Word installed on their computer, the Word web app at the OneDrive website is an excellent substitute. It also has some smart features that you probably missed. Let's take a look.

The Word web app is basically a cut down version of Word that runs in a web browser. Although it has fewer features than the desktop app, it has almost everything most people need. It is certainly good enough for creating simple documents and it even has templates to get you started quickly with resumes, trip planners, fliers, reports and so on.

To use Word web app, go to the website and click the menu icon in the top left corner. Click Word Online. You need a Microsoft account of course, but it is the same one used for, Windows 10 accounts, Xbox, and other Microsoft services.

Word smart feature #1

The ribbon toolbar was introduced by Microsoft many years ago, and in some ways it is a great way to present the functions and options in Word. However, it can sometimes be difficult to find what you want if you don't know where it is.

The web app's ribbon tabs are slightly simpler than the desktop app, but if you are having problems finding the feature you want, click next to the lightbulb where is says Tell me what you want to do. Then just type in something, such as 'create a table'.

Type commands into Word web app

Word tries to find matching features and functions to whatever word or phrase you enter, so even though there is not a 'create table' menu, it displayed a Table item.

Insert a table into a Word document

Sometimes a clickable item is displayed, but sometimes what you need is on a sub-menu. In this case, letting the mouse hover over Table displays a grid and I can select the number of rows and columns for the table. One click and it is inserted.

In this example a fairly obvious feature was used that could easily be found on the ribbon tabs. However, if you don't know which tab a feature is on, it can be quicker to type it in.

Word smart feature #2

Word is able to look up information, such as definitions, images, Wikipedia entries and so on. This feature can be a great resource and it provides help with creating the content of the document.

Let's say you are writing about elephants. I don't know why you would be doing this, but let’s say you are. Select the word 'elephant' on the page by double clicking it, then right click it and select Smart Look-up.

The Smart Look-up feature in Word online


A Smart Look-up panel appears on the right side of the browser window and it contains several items. At the top is an information section and clicking the elephant displays an extended extract from Wikipedia.

The Smart Look-up feature in Word online


Further down the Smart Look-up panel is a Bing image search section. Click it to open a new tab showing images from Bing.

Find images using Bing from within Word


Click the Filter button in the top right corner. Click the License menu that appears and select Public domain.

Filter images by license at Bing search


You can then view images of elephants and copy them by right clicking.

Copy an image in a web browser


Switch to the Word document, position the cursor and press Ctrl+V to paste in the image. You could also copy quotes and other information from Smart Look-up and paste it into your document.

Create a document using Word online

You now know how to find features and functions by searching for them, and you can look up information and images on the web using the Smart Look-up panel.


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