Microsoft is making the move into Office Web Applications much like Google Docs . While Office Web Apps has been known to the public since October 2008 it has made progress and in my opinion works well but I am still curious how far Microsoft will go. If you want to become an early adopter then sign up for Office Web Apps Beta or keep reading for a way to begun using this new program today.
If you do not want to go thru the process of signing up for this program the log into Windows Live and jump over to SkyDrive . At this point all you need to do is upload an Office document and in this case I will upload a Word 2007 document. Once you have successfully uploaded this you have the option to join the preview program.
From here you are presented a service agreement that you must accept. Once you have done so you can now create Excel, PowerPoint, Word, and OneNote documents direct from SkyDrive. For example, I am going to create a PowerPoint document online, open it in PowerPoint, make changes, and finally save it back to SkyDrive. The web interface provided looks familiar to the desktop interface but much more scaled down.
My effort consisted of adding a theme and a textbox the presentation. When I saved the document it was seamless with the save back to SkyDrive. In fact within a matter of seconds I was done with change and the document was safely stored in SkyDrive.
We have all heard the term cloud computing and the combination of SkyDrive and Office Web Apps is Microsoft’s solution to allow you to access and share this data anywhere where you connect to the internet. One thing to remember is you do not have to have Office installed in order to use Office Web Apps but at the time of this post the online features are extremely limited especially if you are looking to create a polished professional presentation. I am not sure how far Microsoft will take Office Web Apps but I can only assume there will be additional features added over time but nothing to the level of the desktop version of Office. Microsoft Office Web Apps works across platforms and browsers to include Safari and Firefox.
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Collaboration is a huge selling point in today’s ever connected digital world and as I mentioned earlier about using SkyDrive you also have another couple of options.
- Office Live Workspace : Designed for consumers and small businesses interested in creating a website or storing and sharing documents online.
- Microsoft SharedView : Connect with up to 15 people in different locations and get your point across by showing them what’s on your screen. Share, review, and update documents with multiple people in real time. A Windows Live ID (Passport, Hotmail, or MSN) is required to start sessions, but not to join sessions.
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