On March 30th, Microsoft announced rebranding Office 365 to Microsoft 365 in order to add new products outside of Office to the subscription suite offered by 365. As one of those new products, Microsoft announced Microsoft Editor which is intended to take on Grammarly. We wanted to share our Microsoft Editor review with you since we just got done testing it.
What is Microsoft Editor?
Microsoft has always had great grammar and spell checkers, but Microsoft Editor takes the grammar checking to a whole new level by incorporating new AI-based grammar checks in your standard Microsoft Office products. They also created plugins for the Google Chrome and Edge browsers so you can check your grammar and spelling as you type. Grammarly already has an existing Chrome plugin, but the Microsoft plugin offers the brand behind decades of spelling and grammar checking.
In addition, Microsoft Editor has the following features:
- Ways to improve sentence clarity
- Alternate vocabulary
- Support for over 20 languages
- A plagiarism checker
- Alternative punctuation
- Suggest gender-neutral and inclusive terms to reduce inherent bias in writing
- Time to read or speak your text
How Do You Get Microsoft Editor?
The plugin will begin rolling on immediately with full global availability by the end of April. You can find the links to download Microsoft Editor for various browsers here:
Once you’ve installed the app, you need to sign in to your Microsoft 365 account by clicking on the icon in the top.
You will then be able to see various settings for each site you visit.
How Much Does Microsoft Editor Cost?
For Home users, Microsoft Office costs $69.99/yr ($6.99/mo) for one user or $99.99/yr ($9.99/mo) for up to 6 users. This includes all Office products including Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft PowerPoint, and more. It also includes access to Microsoft Editor.
On the other hand, the basic version of Grammarly is free and includes over 150 standard grammar checks in your browser as well as in Google Docs and Microsoft Office. You can get more grammar checks by upgrading to Premium which costs $139.95/yr ($11.66/mo). You can get 10% off this price with our discount code.
Depending on what level of grammar checking you are looking for, you can opt for Grammarly or Microsoft Editor. You need a subscription to Microsoft 365 in order to get Microsoft Editor. If you’re not willing to splurge, we highly recommend the free version of Grammarly.
Which Grammar Plugin Is Better?
Since this is a Microsoft Editor review, we need to make a decision on which grammar checker is better. We’ve been using Grammarly for years so it will take quite a bit of additional functionality by Microsoft to convince us to change.
We installed the plugin to write this article (we had to download the Beta of Microsoft Edge to get it to work) so our learnings are based off of that. Unfortunately, the Editor doesn’t work with WordPress yet so all we got were simple spelling checks.
Testing Microsoft Editor with an Amazon Review
I started testing on an Amazon review as well and sure enough, Microsoft Editor started appearing. When I hadn’t yet finished a sentence, it promptly underlined the last word asking whether I needed a possessive. Actually knowing what the issue was unfortunately was not intuitive. I tried right-clicking on the underlined work, then hovering over it. Only when I single left-clicked did it actually show up.
I continued this nonsensical review in order to test hyphenations and sure enough Microsoft Editor underlined the incorrect hyphenated word.
Concerns with Microsoft Editor
My main concerns with Microsoft Editor so far are the lack of compatible websites and how non-intuitive it is to actually see the issues.
It is hard to tell how many websites are currently compatible with the Microsoft Editor extension, but we know for sure that Amazon and Microsoft websites seem to be enabled and that WordPress sites are not. This will definitely limit the adoption of Microsoft Editor for the time being.
Given that Grammarly was a frontrunner in the in-browser grammar space, Microsoft should have replicated the hovering effect to see grammar errors. This is particularly problematic since you can still see spelling errors by right-clicking on a word in non-compatible websites. For example, in this article I have to right click to fix spelling.
We will be updating this section once the Microsoft Editor application is widely available on 4/21.
Why We Still Love Grammarly
Grammarly launched in 2009 and has had over a decade to prefect their suite of grammar checking tools and plugins. They do not have any of the site limitations or usability issues that Microsoft Editor has above. It’s a shame that such a large company as Microsoft isn’t able to launch a plugin that is as fully user-friendly as Grammarly. For now, we have to say that Grammarly is still the winner.