Large area uniform nanoplates of molybdenum oxide (MoO3), a typical semiconductor material, have been synthesized under soft conditions by using carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC) as template. Under ambient condition, hydrolysis of ammonium molybdate into layered molybdenum oxide, and its subsequent inclusion of CMC polymers results in formation of lamellar CMC/molybdenum oxide hybrid. Calcinations of this lamellar hybrid at 500 °C lead to formation of large area uniform nanoplates of orthorhombic phase of MoO3. Scanning electron microscopy and transmission electron microscopy images show that these MoO3 nanoplates are regularly packed, about 100 nm in thickness and 10–100 μm in length. The mechanism of the hybrid reaction and the templating ability of CMC polymers have been extensively discussed. The oriented growth of short molybdenum oxide flakes into long-range ordered plates has been induced by CMC polymers because of the shrinking of CMC during the hybrid reaction. This is the first report that large area highly ordered molybdenum oxide nanometer materials have been obtained under soft reaction conditions.