Microsoft renames Office Online to Office

Martin Brinkmann
Jul 25, 2019
Microsoft, Microsoft Office

Microsoft announced yesterday that it decided to rename Office Online, a suite of Office applications on the Web, to just Office. Applications such as Word Online or Excel Online will be called Word or Excel going forward.

Microsoft is moving away from using platform-specific sub-brands for products that are available for more than one platform. The company plans to change the name of Windows Defender to Microsoft Defender going forward and the rebranding of Office Online to "just" Office follows the same line of thought.

In line with this approach, the official product name for what was previously referred to as “Office Online” is now simply “Office.” We have also discontinued use of the “Online” branding with each of the apps so “Word Online” is now “Word,” “Excel Online” is now “Excel,” etc.

office online name change

Microsoft is aware that the terms Word, Excel, or Office can refer to multiple products. To avoid confusion, it revealed that it plans to use descriptors when it refers to a specific version of Office such as Office Online.

It may use the term "Office for the web" or similar terms similarly to its use of Office for Windows or Office for Android. Office for the web is not a "new brand or strict naming convention" however, and Microsoft may also use other terms such as "on" or "in a browser" to refer to the online version of Office or online Office applications.

Microsoft expects to complete the branding change soon. Office on the web applications have not been modified at the time of writing as they make use of the old name, e.g. Word Online.

Server products that use "Online" in the name are not affected by the change. The names of products such as Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Project Online, or Office Online Server won't change.

Closing Words

Generally speaking: the term Office refers to the entire Office family of products, e.g. Office for the web as well as desktop and mobiles going forward and it should be read as such.

The name change could make things more confusing for users and customers if Microsoft, its partners, or third-parties fail to make proper distinctions between products.

Even if the distinction is made, it does not take into account references made in the past. If an article was published before the name change, it might use Office or Word to describe the desktop version of the product only.

Now you: What is your take on the name change?

Microsoft renames Office Online to Office
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Microsoft renames Office Online to Office
Microsoft announced yesterday that it decided to rename Office Online, a suite of Office applications on the Web, to just Office.
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  1. Anonymous said on April 8, 2020 at 6:00 am

    If they made the online version as powerful as the desktop version, I wouldn’t care. However, just think about the documentation in the world that is about Word, Excel, and PowerPoint that just doesn’t work AT ALL on the online version. Up the game Microsoft and make the online version as powerful as the desktop version, and it won’t be a problem. You know what Master Yoda said, “Do or do not; there is no try.” Web apps are a nice try.

  2. Anonymous said on July 26, 2019 at 3:16 pm

    Windows as a service. Office as a service.
    This renaming is a part of their disgusting plan.

  3. Mikayah said on July 26, 2019 at 12:29 am

    Hello Martin, I am not sure if this is the right medium for a suggestion. Would you consider registering with the Brave Browser Team as a content provider and earn BAT Tokens? I really enjoy your article. Regards.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on July 26, 2019 at 6:14 am

      I think I have done so already?

  4. John Fenderson said on July 25, 2019 at 4:54 pm

    That’s a very strange decision. It’s exchanging clear, concise product terminology for terminology that require more verbose, and more subjective descriptors in addition to the product name. I can’t say that I understand what Microsoft is doing here. From a marketing and branding point of view, this doesn’t look like a good move at all due to the increased ambiguity. Of course, this is Microsoft — and judging by how they do licensing, they really love complex and ambiguous customer-facing stuff.

    That said, it doesn’t really affect me at all, so my reaction is really to just shrug my shoulders. Microsoft can call their products anything they like.

  5. Max said on July 25, 2019 at 12:40 pm

    Seems it’s part of making ‘online’ the natural default. how long until they’re desktop office ‘legacy Office’?

    Me, I’ll be sticking with LibreOffice.

  6. SatanNečastivi said on July 25, 2019 at 10:48 am

    How cute, Microsoft doesn’t have anything better to do than rename products (again).

  7. John said on July 25, 2019 at 10:36 am

    What is the difference?!

  8. Anonymous said on July 25, 2019 at 10:14 am

    They want to push the idea that doing everything online, including writing our private documents, should now be the default. More opportunities for them to spy on us and censor us.

  9. John C. said on July 25, 2019 at 9:16 am

    I see this as another move on the part of Microsoft towards an attempt to force us all into using dumb terminals. In other words, we will be unable to store programs and data locally, they want us to have to depend on their servers (AKA the “cloud”.)

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