Microsoft Word

What is it?

Microsoft Word is a word processor which allows you to create, edit and share documents. It is the University’s first choice platform for document writing and collaborative writing.

Microsoft Word will allow you to:

  • Create a wide range of documents including notes, essays, letters and receipts.
  • Use a mail merge function that will allow you to send one document to a large number of people with name and address.
  • Create teaching materials such as lecture scripts and assignment information sheets.
  • Create and convert PDF files.

As well as the standard Word features above, Microsoft 365 (M365) Word has a number of features that assist in collaborative writing such as:

  • It allows users to edit shared documents simultaneously and see in your view who is also editing other information on the page (the same can be done in Excel and other M365 applications).
  • It allows you to provide view only or edit links to others.
  • It provides a version history. If you are concerned about losing work or need to reinstate information you can achieve this using version history. Simply, click on the name of your document in the top menu bar to see this. This shows you all saved versions and allowing you to restore your copy to any earlier version.
  • Set tasks for other collaborators by commenting in the document and sending direct notifications.

Please note: Much of the collaboration functionality in Word is also available in other applications such as PowerPoint and Excel.

Word is accessible as a desktop application and as an online version via Functionality differs slightly between the two so it is worth trying both options.


The help available within each application should be the first place to visit for ‘how to’ questions. The help function can be accessed by pressing the F1 key or going to the ‘Help’ menu on the top ribbon in most M365 applications.

For further help with Word, please visit the M365 Help and Support site. Here you will find:

Word is self-supported, meaning that IT Services do not have any special knowledge of this application. However, if you are unable to resolve your query or if you appear to have a technical issue, you can contact the IT Support Centre.  

Instructions for staff and postgraduate research students on how to install Microsoft 365 are available here:

Learning about Word

Microsoft provide a number of written resources, with supporting videos which tell you more about Word:

Information handling

Information classified as Very Sensitive must not be processed or stored on M365 and advice must be sought from the Information Governance Office if you handle this type of information.

If you’re processing/storing information or data classified as Highly Restricted in M365, follow the information handling minimum controls set out in the Information security classification examples and handling guidance for confidential information.

Continue to adhere to the Information Governance Office Best practice guidance on sharing and storing information and Records Retention Schedule whenever you’re working with data.

Need help on information handling? Contact your Information Governance Guardian.


Global limitations:

The limitations of Microsoft Word are listed in Operating parameter limitations and specifications in Word.

University of Manchester limitations:

The self-service addition of apps and add-ins for Microsoft 365 Office and associated products is still under review by the IT Service Security Working Group as to how they can be risk assessed and supported. This process should be completed in the near future at which time information will be updated and communications will be sent out to staff.