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What is what3words and what does it do?

what3words is a service which pinpoints any location on the globe (to the nearest 2 metres) with a unique 3 word combination. This is far more accurate than you can achieve with a postal address (if indeed the location you are trying to pinpoint even has a postal address), and definitely easier than remembering a set of GPS co-ordinates.

We also offer a service called OneWord which allows you to create a customised, shorter, and even easier reference for any location of your choice, accurate to the nearest metre.

How is what3words easier than just using a link from another mapping website?

By using words from the dictionary, it means that you can easily remember your own 3 word combination (and it’s even easier to remember a OneWord) - It’s much simpler than remembering an address with additional instructions or a set of GPS coordinates. And whilst email is popular to send locations to other people using map links, with 3 words or OneWord you can also say it easily over the phone, in conversation, or via a text message.

Of course what3words does have its own linking service as well, for example warm.blue.bath is w3w.co/warm.blue.bath – and it’s easy to copy or email these links from the “share” menu.

If I give someone the 3 words or OneWord link for my location, do they need to have the app to find me or do they just need a browser?

Users just need a browser on either their computer or smartphone to access a w3w link. Whilst the what3words app has many nice features, it’s not essential if you have a w3w link. So, you can confidently send your 3 words or OneWord link to anyone, with the reassurance that if the receiving user hasn’t yet got the app, they can still access your location via their computer or smartphone browser.

An example of a shortlink is w3w.co/warm.blue.bath – you can generate w3w links for your location by using the “share” button.

What are some examples of registered OneWords?

Some examples of registered OneWords are:

Are OneWords case sensitive?

No, OneWords are not case sensitive, so for example *Hotel234 will take you to exactly the same place as *hotel234. Therefore you can give out your OneWords with reassurance that however people choose to capitalise your OneWord, they will always be directed to the correct place.

Are there any restrictions of what I can choose for my OneWord?

Yes, you can buy a OneWord which is made up from letters a-z, numbers 0-9, hyphens (-).
OneWords cannot include any spaces.

You cannot infringe the intellectual property of any party with your OneWord. For example you cannot use any party’s trademarks as part or all of your OneWord.

OneWords must be at least 6 characters in length (shorter OneWords may become available in the future).

Why does my OneWord start with an asterisk symbol *?

Every OneWord has to be used with a * before it to make clear to our system that you are searching for a registered OneWord and not just doing a general map search for the same term. So for example you must always enter *johnoffice or w3w.co/*johnoffice

Also, remember be sure to display your OneWord with the * in any public places, emails to friends/customers to ensure that it is always entered correctly.

If I buy a OneWord can I use it straight away?

Yes – your OneWord will be active straight away. As soon as you complete your purchase, you can share your OneWord with anyone or put it on your website to help people find your location.

What is the “Additional Info” within the OneWord account options?

You may want people who have your OneWord to also have your postal address for reassurance. If so, you can enter it in the optional fields in the “Edit OneWord” screen. You can also choose to enter a phone number or any special instructions. This additional information is completely optional and you may choose not to add it, but it means you do have the option of giving your OneWord out and knowing that the recipient can access your postal address, phone number and “ring top bell” (or similar) as well as your precise location!

Can I buy several OneWords?

Yes - you can purchase as many as you like. For example, many of our users like to have a OneWord for their front door at home, as well as for some of their favourite places. And our business users typically buy a OneWord for the main customer entrances to each of their locations, be it offices, hotels, cafes or even car parking spaces!

Will my OneWord be public?

Your OneWord will be private to you, and anyone who you choose to share it with. Obviously if you put your OneWord in a publicly viewable place such as a website, it will be public to those who see it. It will not be public in any kind of address book or listing on the what3words website; if a user searches for a location which has a OneWord associated with it, the OneWord will not be displayed, only the free 3 word combination will be shown.

If I buy a OneWord for my house or office, and then I move, can I take my OneWord with me?

Yes – you can move the location that your OneWord refers to as many times as you wish for free. You can do this within the “my account” section of the site.

Do I need to install the what3words app to be able to use my OneWord on my GPS/SatNav device?

No - you can just use the website if you wish, but you may find it useful to have the app on your smartphone to bring up the GPS co-ordinates easily when you are in the car. In addition, many of our users email themselves from the what3words site so that the 3 words or OneWord and GPS details are easily accessible from the email on their phone.