How to make the writing process easier with Microsoft Word Web App

Meet Kevin, an undergrad at a large university in Oregon. Kevin lives on campus and uses his laptop everywhere from the library to his dorm, to the hallway outside the classroom. And he never goes anywhere without his smart phone, which he checks before, during, and after class. Kevin’s university provides Live@EDU for all its students and staff. With these great tools, he can do his homework, stay on top of his social life, and have non-stop access to all of his files. And the fact that it’s free? Bonus.

This semester, Kevin’s course load will help illustrate each of the tools within Live@EDU, their features, and the many ways the Microsoft Office Web Apps make life easier for both students and faculty. 

Word helps you showcase your writing and research from simple papers to complex documents. Writing papers is a common assignment in many classes, and Kevin’s Environmental Literature class is no different.

Kevin’s class: Environmental literature

Assignment: Mid-term paper - Compare and contrast A River Runs Through It and Walden Pond

After thoroughly reading and developing detailed notes, Kevin must compare and contrast the writers’ description and role of the natural environment across the two books.

In this case, he decides to compare A River Runs Through It, by Norman Maclean and Walden Pond, by Henry David Thoreau.

The writing process includes the stages of generating ideas, concept organization, writing and content composition, citing sources, proofreading, and editing.

Creating a new document is simple. Click on the icon of the type of document you would like to create, and you will be prompted to title the file. By saving the file, the interface opens in the browser. image
In order to make changes, click on “Edit in Browser” to view the editing tools and options. image

Everyone approaches the writing process differently and Kevin starts his papers by beginning with loose notes and working to organize them into an outline of points he wants to make.

Developing ideas and brainstorming -

To begin mapping out your ideas, type in the document space – write freely without specifying formatting, or start with sections of paragraphs or lists that you can go back and organize later.


Once a general list of topics and ideas are recorded, Kevin can start organizing the information. The concept organization stage is where he begins to create an outline of the paper.

Concept organization - Word's formatting features make it simple to create bulleted or numbered lists, commonly used for outlines.

You can create simple lists, or build your paper right within the outline to keep things organized before you construct the final paper.


There’s a point in developing the paper where you want to focus on the craft of writing—getting every sentence to read with the perfect message, content and rhythm. And there’s the part of writing where you need to be highly exact in your format, and prepare the document to present and share with others. Word is designed around all these stages. Kevin prefers to begin with an outline, and then perfect the composition before spending time on the paragraph alignment or section header font treatments.

Writing and content composition

Spend your time fleshing out the body of your work - the core points, the important messages, the theses, and then work to evolve each paragraph before worrying about the overall structure and presentation.

When you’re ready for finishing touches, formats, headers, lists, diagrams, etc. are there to help you create a polished final product.


Editing and collaborative editing are one of the greatest strengths of the Web Apps, and it’s the best way for the professor to provide feedback to his students as they are developing their papers. Kevin shares his outline with his professor, who can then provide tips and ideas directly on the paper—no emailing of the document required.

Edit and Collaborate with Others

Sharing your files lets others access your work. Set sharing permissions to ‘edit’ for contributors and ‘view’ for those you’d like to access your work. Never email a file again!


Word makes developing professional-looking documents faster to complete, simpler to produce, and easier to access wherever you are.

All of this is made possible with the Microsoft Word Web App, but the software version of Word provides more robust features and opportunities, including:

  • Tools for citations
  • Adding page numbers, Tables of Contents, and Sections
  • Automatically created bibliographies
  • Header and footer formatting
  • And more.

Learn more about all that you can do with Microsoft Word here.

Want to share this with your students? Click here to find this information in an email template you can send to others, or share the link directly.

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