The Microsoft Word logo.

Plagiarism is a serious violation of ethics, but that doesn’t stop people from doing it. When you receive a Word document that should be “original” material, you can run it through a plagiarism checker. Here are your options.

Use an Add-in

One of the easiest ways to check for literary theft is to use Copyleaks, an add-in for Microsoft Word that scans the document for plagiarism. It’s easy to install Copyleaks, and it’s compatible with Word 2016 or later on PC and Mac.

RELATED: How to Install and Use Add-ins for Microsoft Office

While it says on Copyleaks’ overview page that it’s “free,” this is not entirely accurate (which you’ll also notice if you scan the user reviews). To clear up any confusion, the app does have a free plan, but it only provides 10 free credits per month.

For every 250 words the app scans, one Copyleaks credit is deducted from your account. So, if you have a 2,500-word document, you need 10 credits for the app to scan it entirely. Luckily, Copyleaks has three plans: free, subscription, and prepaid. Each tier has its own benefits and pricing scheme. In this example, we’ll use the free plan.

To install Copyleaks, head over to the “Add-ins” group of the “Insert” tab, and then click “Get Add-ins.”

The Office Add-Ins window appears. In the search bar at the top left of the window, search for “Copyleaks.” Select “Copyleaks Plagiarism Checker,” which should be the first result.

Copyleaks’ overview page appears. Read through everything, and then select “Add.”

After it installs, a new “” group appears in the “References” tab in Word. Go ahead and select “Scan.”

Copyleaks Plagiarism Checker opens in the right-hand pane. Use your email address to create an account, and you’ll receive an email that asks you to verify it. Once you do, you receive the 10 free credits.

If you’d like to purchase more, select “Get Credits” at the bottom of the right-hand pane which takes you to the purchase page.

Once you’re ready to check your Word document for plagiarism, select “Scan.”

The scanning process begins, and it might take a few minutes, depending on the size of the document. As the app scans, URLs appear in the right-hand pane. The volume and percentage of similar words found in the document accompany the URLs.

Once the scan completes, select “Launch Report” to see the detailed findings of the scan.

The report opens in your default browser. It shows information like the number of words in the scanned document versus the percentage of similar words found. It also highlights identical words in pink (see 1, below), and words with a related meaning in almond (see 2, below).

Identical words are highlighted in pink (example 1), and words with a related meaning are highlighted in almond (example 2).

Use an Online Plagiarism Checker

If you don’t want to install an add-in for Word, there are several online plagiarism detectors you can use. One of the most popular is SmallSEOTools, which provides a free service, although it limits you to 1,000 words per search.

On the plagiarism checker page, you can copy and paste your text into the text box provided, or you can upload your document. To upload a Word document, select the link icon next to “Upload a Document.”

File Explorer (Windows) or Finder (Mac) opens. Select the document you want to upload, and then click “Open.”

After your document uploads, click “Check Plagiarism” below the document uploader.

Once the plagiarism checker finishes its scan, it displays the results and gives you a sentence-by-sentence breakdown. If a sentence checks out, “Unique” appears next to it. If a sentence was copied, “Plagiarized” appears next to it.

Click the “Matched Sources” tab to see the sources of the copied text.

Completed scan results page in SmallSEOTools.

If you don’t mind spending a bit of cash to detect plagiarism, there are many other resources available. Quetext does an amazing job, and it’s only $10 bucks per month for the Pro plan. This includes unlimited plagiarism checks, so it’s significantly cheaper than the Copyleaks add-in if you don’t mind using an online checker.

You can also use a service like Grammarly Premium, which is also around $10 per month and includes advanced grammar-, style-, and spell-checking along with plagiarism detection.

Profile Photo for Marshall Gunnell Marshall Gunnell
Marshall is a writer with experience in the data storage industry. He worked at Synology, and most recently as CMO and technical staff writer at StorageReview. He's currently an API/Software Technical Writer based in Tokyo, Japan, runs VGKAMI and ITEnterpriser, and spends what little free time he has learning Japanese.
Read Full Bio »