Microsoft Word for Android and iOS: A Comprehensive Guide

Microsoft’s Word mobile app has achieved a significant milestone recently. The Android version alone has been downloaded over one billion times, according to the Google Play Store. Although Apple doesn’t disclose specific download figures, the iOS version of Word has garnered more than 608,000 ratings, clearly indicating its popularity.

Whether you’re on Android or iOS, this app allows you to effortlessly create and edit Word documents on your smartphone or tablet, completely free of charge. While typing on a phone can be less than ideal for composing lengthy documents, the mobile app is perfect for quickly starting new documents or making on-the-go edits to existing ones.

To take advantage of the app, you must fulfill two requirements. First, sign in with a Microsoft user account, which can be a free account, like, or an Office 365 account, which requires a subscription fee. Second, the app can only be installed on phones or tablets with screens measuring less than 10.1″ diagonally.

This guide will navigate you through the key features of the Word app and illustrate how you can collaborate with others by sharing your Word documents. Although we’ll focus on the Android phone interface in this article, the iOS app shares similar features and functions. We’ll make note of any differences along the way.

How to Open or Create a Document

When you launch the Word app, you’ll encounter a screen that allows you to access previously created documents or start a new one. The bottom of the screen features three buttons for accessing existing documents:


Tap this button to view a list of your most recently opened documents in the Word mobile app, Word Online, or the desktop version of Word connected online.


Tap this button to view Word documents that others have shared with you. You can conveniently open these documents in the Word app.


By tapping this button, you can open a Word document saved on your phone, OneDrive, SharePoint, or another cloud storage service. The Word app supports Google Drive, Box, Dropbox, and more, as long as you have the respective app installed on your phone.

Regardless of which screen you use to access documents, simply selecting any document from the list will open it in the app.

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To create a new document in the Android app, tap the “+” symbol within a page icon located on the upper-right corner of the screen. In the iOS app, the New button is situated on the far left of the row of buttons in the home screen’s bottom section.

You will be taken to a screen where you can either start a new blank document or choose a template for different types of documents, including to-do lists, outlines, resumes, business papers, or business letters.

The process diverges slightly between the Android and iOS app. In Android, “Create in” at the top of the New screen indicates the future location of your new document when saved. You can select a destination from the drop-down menu and then proceed to choose the document type.

When opening or creating a document on an Android phone, it will automatically appear in Edit mode. The editing screen exhibits toolbars at the top and bottom, which we will explore in more detail shortly. The name of the document appears at the top of the editing screen and can be modified by tapping on the current name and entering a new one.

The AutoSave feature, enabled by default in the Android app, automatically saves the document as you work on it. While you can disable it under Settings, we recommend leaving it on for convenience.

Creating a new document in the iOS app involves selecting the desired type of document on the New screen. After the document opens in the editing screen, you can choose where to save it by tapping the three-dot button on the upper-right corner, followed by the Save button on the subsequent screen. Here you can assign a name and select a save location for the document. This action simultaneously enables AutoSave. If preferred, you can toggle it off on the save screen, but we recommend keeping it on.

To save a document under a different name in the iOS app, tap the same three-dot button on the upper-right corner of the editing screen and select Save a Copy.

How to Compose or Edit a Document

While the Android and iOS apps possess slightly different interfaces, composing and editing Word documents maintain a similar process.

Once you open or create a document on an Android phone, it will appear on a screen featuring toolbars at the top and bottom. The top toolbar contains general commands for document manipulation, while the bottom toolbar provides controls for text formatting. Initially, no onscreen keyboard is present on this screen. However, by tapping anywhere in the document’s body, the keyboard will slide up from the bottom.

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On an iPhone, only the top toolbar appears upon opening a document. Tapping anywhere within the body area causes both the formatting toolbar and keyboard to slide up from the screen’s bottom.

Devices with larger screens adopt an interface resembling the Word desktop app, displaying a simplified Ribbon interface above the document body. The Ribbon tabs (Home, Insert, Draw, Layout, Review, and View) mirror the options found in the expanded bottom toolbar of the phone apps but remain constantly visible due to the screen’s larger real estate.

The top toolbar, shared by Android and iOS, encompasses the following buttons:

Show Commands

This icon, resembling an ‘A’ with a pencil placed over it, expands the bottom toolbar to reveal additional buttons for text and paragraph formatting when tapped.


By tapping the magnifying glass icon, a search toolbar will open. This allows you to locate specific text within your document. To access search options such as “Find and Replace” or “Match Case,” tap the gear icon situated on the left side of the search box.

Mobile View/Print Layout

Found to the right of the Find icon in Android and left of the Find icon in iOS, this button toggles between Mobile View and Print Layout. In Mobile View, your document’s text and other elements appear larger to facilitate better viewing and editing. On the other hand, Print Layout represents how your document would appear when formatted for printing. It is generally advised to utilize Mobile View when editing or reading documents on the mobile app.


Tapping this button allows you to undo the most recent edit or change made to your document.

The Android app contains an additional Checkmark icon situated at the leftmost part of the top toolbar. When selected, this icon shifts your document into View mode, which is ideal for reading without any editing. The bottom toolbar, along with the keyboard, disappear, and two new icons emerge on the top toolbar. A Pencil icon returns your document to Edit mode, while a Share icon facilitates collaboration by enabling document sharing with others. We will explore sharing in more detail later in this guide.

The Share icon is present in the top toolbar of the iOS app from the beginning. To activate View mode, simply tap the keyboard icon located at the rightmost part of the bottom toolbar. This action causes both the bottom toolbar and keyboard to recede from view.

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Finally, both versions of the app include a three-dot icon located on the far right of the top toolbar. Selecting this icon opens a menu offering various document functions and settings, including printing, exporting to other formats, collaboration through sharing, and accessing previous document versions. The latter two features will be covered further in this guide.

Using the Bottom Toolbar

The buttons within the bottom toolbar serve to format selected text within your document. Initially, only a few commands are visible, but scrolling horizontally reveals several more options.

The last button on the toolbar (often represented by a small triangle or three-dot icon) expands the toolbar, unveiling even more formatting options. Once expanded, the top toolbar disappears to maximize onscreen space. Scrolling down within the expanded toolbar presents additional text and paragraph formatting choices.

Tapping the Home button on the left side of the expanded toolbar unveils a menu that encompasses several options synonymous to the Ribbon tabs found in the Word desktop app:


This menu item houses the most frequently used text and paragraph formatting commands, including text size, font selection, bold and italic styles, bulleted and numbered lists, and more.


Select this option to add pictures, tables, shapes, or text elements (such as endnotes, headers, footers, footnotes, or page numbers). Moreover, you can incorporate blank pages, comments, or web links.


This function opens a simple drawing tool, allowing you to sketch directly on your document using your phone’s touchscreen.


Here, you can adjust document margins, orientation (landscape or portrait), and paper size.


The Review panel is particularly useful when collaborating on a document with others. You can review and respond to comments made by your collaborators. Additionally, spell-check and word-count tools can be accessed here.

This panel also allows you to review and accept/reject edits and changes made by collaborators. However, if you don’t already have an Office 365 subscription, you must pay an activation fee starting at $7 per month to enjoy this functionality.


This option offers different document viewing modes, including Mobile View and Print Layout mentioned earlier. You can also choose to view your document at 100% or adjust it to fit the width of your phone’s screen. Furthermore, the app allows for the display of multiple document pages simultaneously on your phone screen.

To return the expanded toolbar to its original size and restore the top toolbar to view, click the button located on the right side, usually represented by a downward-facing triangle.

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