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ISSUE 21.07.F • 2024-02-12 • Text Alerts!Gift Certificates
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Susan Bradley

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In this issue

MICROSOFT 365: Replacing WordPad (and more) with Office Online

Additional articles in the PLUS issue

WINDOWS 11: How to link your smartphone with Windows 11

FREEWARE SPOTLIGHT: Sandboxie-Plus — A safe place for apps to run

WINDOWS 11: The annoyances of a new computer

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Replacing WordPad (and more) with Office Online

Peter Deegan

By Peter Deegan Comment about this article

Anyone can view and even edit a Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, or OneNote file on a computer by using Office in a browser. It’s free for anyone.

Word for the Web is Microsoft’s recommended replacement for the soon-to-be-deleted WordPad app in Windows. The browser-based apps are worth keeping in mind. They let you keep working with Word, Excel, or PowerPoint docs if Office isn’t working or you’re at another computer. All you need is:

  • Any Microsoft account (free or with a Microsoft 365 plan)
  • A browser included with Windows (Edge) or Mac (Safari)
  • Chrome or Firefox

Edge, Chrome, and Firefox are supported on Linux, but not all features of Microsoft’s Web apps work there.

There is one important caveat: You must upload a document to your OneDrive storage, then open the document from there into Office Online. It’s not possible to simply upload a document directly into an Office app for the Web. In this respect, using Microsoft’s online apps is not the same as using a local app such as WordPad or another alternative.

Free Microsoft accounts have 5GB of OneDrive storage, which should be enough for hundreds of Office documents, unless a lot of the free quota has been gobbled up by other Microsoft services such as email attachments or Designer files.

Start at and log in to your Microsoft account. The webpage has a list of recently opened documents under “My Files,” along with other features. Alternatively, go to and open the online versions of Word, Excel, or PowerPoint from a blank page.

Upload from your computer

Go to your OneDrive account and upload your document or an entire folder, using — surprise, surprise — the Upload button.

Upload files or whole folder to OneDrive
Figure 1. Upload files or an entire folder to OneDrive

OneDrive will upload the file(s) into whatever folder appears in “My Files” on that page. By default, that’s the main/root folder.

Upload completed to OneDrive
Figure 2. Upload completed to OneDrive

In OneDrive

Once the document is uploaded, find it on the OneDrive webpage. Look in the My files list on the same page as the upload. Click on the Modified column header, then check Newer to older to see the most recent files (including your upload) near the top of the list.

Sort OneDrive folder by Modified date
Figure 3. Sort OneDrive folder by date modified

Click the “three dots” menu icon, then Open in Word Online, Excel Online, PowerPoint Online, etc.

Open Office document with the online or web app
Figure 4. Open Office document with the online or Web app.

All Office-compatible documents saved in your OneDrive account can be opened in the Office Web apps. PDF files can be viewed, but not converted/edited; that requires Word software.

Edit/View in your browser

Now you can view or edit the document, using many of the same features available in Word desktop apps for Windows or Mac — including Comments and Track changes (see Solo collaboration: Office’s untold advantage in AskWoody, 2022-07-25) as well as Print.

Word for the web with comments in a document.
Figure 5. Word for the Web, with comments in a document

Save to your computer

When you’ve finished editing, go to File | Save As | Download a Copy to save a copy of the document to your computer.

Download a document to local computer.
Figure 6. Download a document to a local computer.

The original document is saved on OneDrive. (Office Web apps autosave, so there’s no Save button.) Of course, you can download any file/document from, too.

Tidy up

Finally, you can choose to delete the file on OneDrive from the My files list; do this at Click on the … icon to see the many choices, including Delete and Download.

Delete or Download file from OneDrive
Figure 7. Delete or download a file from OneDrive.

The choice is yours. You might want to delete the document from OneDrive to avoid confusion between the online versus computer versions of the same file. Or if the file contains sensitive information, you may want to get rid of the online file. But remember that OneDrive keeps deleted files for 30 days unless the Recycle Bin is cleared. Alternatively, a copy on OneDrive can be a handy backup and can be accessed from any online computer that you sign in from.

Google’s apps on the Web work the same way: upload to Google Drive, edit in the Web app, then download, using Google Docs.

Give Office for the Web apps a try, even if just to familiarize yourself with them. They are a useful backup service for everyone.

Talk Bubbles Join the conversation! Your questions, comments, and feedback
about this article are always welcome in our forums!

Peter Deegan is the author of Windows 11 for Microsoft Office Users, Microsoft 365 for Windows: Straight Talk, Eye-Catching Signs with Word, Christmas Cheer with Office,
and others. He has been the co-founder and editor in chief of the Office Watch site and newsletters since they started in 1996.


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Here are the other stories in this week’s Plus Newsletter


Lance Whitney

How to link your smartphone with Windows 11

By Lance Whitney

Connecting your iPhone or Android phone to Windows 11 lets you make phone calls, send texts, and view notifications directly from your PC.

As an iPhone owner and Windows user, I’d like to be able to access my phone from my computer at times. Maybe I want to make or answer a call, or send or view a text message, but my phone isn’t handy. Or maybe speaking or chatting with someone feels easier when I’m already using my PC for other tasks. Whatever the scenario, this is a capability I often need. And it’s all doable with the right tools.


Deanna McElveen

Sandboxie-Plus — A safe place for apps to run

By Deanna McElveen

Whether trimming the rose bushes, pulling weeds in the garden, or watering the hanging pots, and when needing to take my eyes off my tiny twin girls, I just plopped them down in the sandbox.

It’s hard to do real-world damage to a castle when it’s only a castle in a sandbox. You can treat programs the same way.

In the sense of software, a sandbox is a way of running software in a protected space (virtualized) so that it can run as normal but can’t do any harm to the host computer.


Susan Bradley

The annoyances of a new computer

By Susan Bradley

There is a dirty little secret in corporate technology — we don’t care about your operating system.

If it misbehaves, we blow it off. If your computer doesn’t work, we issue you a new one. Don’t like that keyboard? Throw it away. Get a new release of Windows? We redeploy the entire operating system, using one of our various methodologies.

It’s my opinion that this mentality — that the desktop doesn’t matter and can be easily wiped away — persists inside the Microsoft organization.

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