Word 365 version confusion

Occasional Contributor

I'm a new MS Office 365 subscriber. This is probably a very basic question - but after more than an hour of searching, I can find no answer to it.


I recently switched to a Chromebook, and, needing to edit Word docs, installed the Word for Android app, created a Microsoft account, and bought a subscription to Office 365. But the version of Word I can now access appears to be a severely stripped-down version, lacking (for me - I'm an author) essential features. (Two examples of many:  the ability to change style defaults; the ability to create a custom document template.)


So here's the question I cannot find an answer to: is what I am looking at *actually* the full MS Word 365 version - or have I failed to do something to enable that version? (Please see screenshot.)





6 Replies

Hi, it's a good question, there are two options, first, you can't install Office conventionally like you could with a PC or Mac, as Chromebooks don't work that way.  To recap, there is either Office Online, the web version of Office or the Office mobile apps, the Android apps which are supported on some Chromebook models, which is what you are using:


How to install and run Microsoft Office on a Chromebook


Chrome OS Systems Supporting Android Apps


You won't get all the functionality of the full Office 2016 programs but you get commonly used features and as a qualifying Office 365 subscriber, you get access to more features in the mobile apps when you sign in.


What you can do in the Office apps on an Android, iOS, or Windows mobile device with an Office 365 s...


Android extra features


So there are a few factors that come into this.


Oh wow. 


Let me be sure I'm clear on this. I have a 365 "qualifying plan" - Office 365 Personal. But you are saying that, because I'm on a Chromebook, I in fact *cannot access* a full-blown version of Word at all, only this stripped-down version.


It's important I get this right. I did extensive research on Chromebooks, and switched to one partly on the understanding (after reading dozens of web pages on the subject!) that I could use (not just some features of Word, but) the full Word program through a 365 subscription.


If that's not true, it's a complete deal-killer for me and I just either wasted a lot of money or will have to try to return the Chromebook ... I work in complex documents and alas, what I am seeing as Word 365 is essentially useless to me.


Best Response confirmed by Richard Farr (Occasional Contributor)

That is correct, unfortunately, you wouldn't get full access to the Office program functionality you get with Office 2016 that's part of your subscription, only what's available through the web browser or with the Android apps.


As you have discovered that's more limited, though new features are being added every month to the mobile apps, there is even an Insiders program to get features sooner (details here and here).  


I imagine that won't be sufficient though and yes, you may have to consider an alternative.  Chromebooks are great but this is one thing they can't do.

Agree here. You might have more luck using the office web apps they are fairly closer to their desktop siblings but being on a chrome book you will find that you will run into shortcomings across the board. It is not a pc replacement even less so than an iPad.

Thanks for your help anyway.


I really wish MS had been clearer about this - I read their site material quite carefully, I thought. But thanks for your help anyway.