Word’s Similarity Checker warns about plagiarism

Microsoft has released a ‘Similarity Checker’ which compares Word document text with online sources.  That warns the writer / student or reader / teacher about plagiarism or accidental copying.

Word Similarity Checker uses Bing search to compare the text with online sources.  It shows a percentage of text similar to text found online.

Source: Microsoft plus some border cropping

It’s an extension of the existing Editor pane see Word’s Rewrite expands to become Microsoft Editor

Matching sentences can be reviewed, and citations added.

Source: Microsoft

Similarity Checker at work

Once Similarity Checker is available to you, here’s how it’ll work.

Click on Editor (to the right of the Home tab)

Look for the Similarity section and click Check for similarity to online sources. Wait for the check to occur.

The result appears as a percentage of the total text.

Source: Microsoft

Similarities Reviewed shows the number of matches reviewed / found .

Click on that to see the sentence and some options.

Source: Microsoft

Insert in-text citation with a choice of citation type: MLA, APA or Chicago

Copy full citation – to copy into a Bibliography or citation list. See Add a Bibliography to Word documents

Ignore – if you think Bing/Word is wrong about the similarity.

The green underlining appears after passages are reviewed.

Special cases

According to Microsoft the similar passage might get quotation marks around it “Depending on the situation …” whatever that means. 

Remove the quote marks if you wish.

Source: Microsoft

If a passage is an exact match with an online source of more than 40 words, Word will change it to a block quote.

About Citations

The citation is added using the format you choose.  The format can be changed at any time but that won’t change existing citations.

See Citations for everyone in Word

Which versions?

Microsoft is being deliberately vague about which Word releases get the Similarity Checker saying:

“… Similarity checker feature, available in Microsoft Word for Microsoft 365 EDU A3 and A5 customers, is currently available in Office preview builds. The feature will release to general availability in July.”

Which platforms are supported? At first, Similarity Checker is only in Word for the Web (aka Word Online).

It starts in high-end Education Plans and will later show up for Microsoft Home and Business plans.  Presumably also in Word Online and perhaps in their Outlook and browser plug-ins (‘perhaps’ because of Redmond’s vagueness). 

No word on Similarity Checker in Word for Windows, Mac etc but that’s likely based on past practice.

Similarity Checker is for English language only.  There’s no mention of it being expanded to other languages.

Word’s Rewrite expands to become Microsoft Editor

Citations for everyone in Word

Source Manager for citations in Word

Citation and Bibliography tools beyond Word

Add a Bibliography to Word documents

Custom Bibliography formats or styles in Word