Word processors are ubiquitous in schools, workplaces, and universities, but paying for an Office 365 subscription can add up over time. Merge Word costs the same as one month of Office 365, and you get to keep it for life. In this review I took a look at Merge Word through the lens of it could replace Microsoft Word in an everyday workflow.
I came away impressed by Merge Word which packs a lot of bang for its buck, though there are some downsides.
The app is available for $9.99 on Windows 10.
A familiar interface
At first glance, Merge Word will feel extremely familiar to anyone who has used Microsoft Word. In fact, even on further inspection, you could probably fool someone into thinking it was Microsoft Word. It has a familiar ribbon design, page layout, and set of features. It even has various themes that you can switch between including older versions of Office and some attractive dark modes.
Merge Word covers all the basic word processing tools such as editing page layout, inserting content, and reviewing your documents. For the average user, Merge Word has all the tools they would need to create a document for work, school, or anything else. It supports common file formats for opening up files in Microsoft Word so you can send a document to a coworker, teacher, or anyone using Microsoft Office. With this much in common with Microsoft Word, the main differenciator is the price. Merge Word comes in at $9.99 whereas the latest version of Microsoft Word requires an Office 365 subscription which is either $9.99 per month or $99.99 per year for Office 365 Home or $6.99 per month or $69.99 per year for Office 365 Personal. Office 365 gets you other programs and features as well, but it is also the only way to get the latest version of Microsoft Word so it's the closest comparison to Merge Word's pricing.
I've found that while I grew up used to using a word processor with a lot of power behind it, most of my work can be done with a basic set of features. Merge Word handled opening my Microsoft Word documents well, including basic pages as well as my CV that uses a template. Merge Word doesn't have every single feature that Microsoft Word has but for me and for many users, it delivers a powerful enough word processing experience for a fraction of the cost of an Office 365 subscription.
A lonely app
Merge Word's biggest fault is that it is only available on Windows 10. There's no online version similar to Office Online and no versions on iOS or Android so you're limited to using the app on a Windows 10 PC that you can download Merge Word onto. This might seem like an odd criticism for a Windows 10 app, but Merge Word is trying to compete with Microsoft Word which provides a great deal of flexibility. For example, if you're on a computer that isn't yours, such as a library or work PC, you can still jump onto Office online and edit a word document. Alterntively, you can make a quick edits on your phone or tablet using mobile versions of Microsoft Word. Because Merge Word supports standard word document formats, you could edit a document on Merge Word on your PC and then continue it using Microsoft Word elsewhere but at that point, you'd already have versions of Microsoft Word and be using two similar programs to accomplish the same task.
Whle this limitation is a big deal for my personal setup that relies heavily on the cloud and working across platforms, it doesn't mean Merge Word wouldn't work well for someone else. If you only use PCs that you can manage and don't need to work directly online or on non-Windows 10 devices, then Merge Word could easily slot right in as a solid word processor.
So can it replace Microsoft Word?
The big question here is can you cancel your Microsoft Word subscription and switch over to Merge Word. I would say yes or no depending largely on your workflow. If you work solely on one computer or a set of computers that you can manage and place apps on, then Merge Word can fit the bill and step in as your word processor. If you need to jump between operating systems or already have access to Microsoft Word through your office or school, then it's not worth making the switch.
Overall, Merge Word is impressive. It delivers a great feature set for the money in a familiar layout that takes no time to adjust to. It's also part of a suite of similar apps within the Merge Office Suite, so if you're looking to completely switch away from Office, it's worth checking the suite out from the company's website.
- No subscription required
- Works with MS Word files
- Supports Multiple themes
- Is only available on Windows 10
- No online version
Editor's note: We updated this post to include more information on Microsoft Word and Office 365 pricing.
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