Few of the apps running on top of Microsoft Word have stood out all that much. One exception may be Academic Wordsmith, which can scan academic papers as you’re writing.
Although the app itself is technically free, Academic Wordsmith costs $19 per year. For the price, users can submit as many papers as they’d like to the service, comparing them to the Wordsmith database to make sure that “research” doesn’t wander into plagiarism.
A number of services already offer to scan your documents for plagiarism, checking them against Wikipedia and other sources. However, most, if not all, require users to write the document, then upload it. Since Academic Wordsmith runs on top of Word, the developers claim that you can wait until you’re finished with the paper—or simply upload a passage as you’re writing it, without leaving Word or the Office suite.
Microsoft said that Academic Wordsmith originated from an Australian education development camp, where developers came together to write education apps for Microsoft’s platforms. This week, Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella identified Office 365 as one of the key platforms for developers.
Academic Wordsmith requires Office 2013 and Service Pack 1. You can download it on Microsoft’s site.