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November 7, 2013

Microsoft Adds Real-Time Collaboration, Editing to Office Web Apps

Microsoft image — Microsoft's online Office suite now includes real-time co-authoring to allow users to contribute and edit documents simultaneously.
Microsoft image — Microsoft's online Office suite now includes real-time co-authoring to allow users to contribute and edit documents simultaneously.

Microsoft is ramping up its Office Web Apps in a bid to take on chief competitor Google Docs.

Microsoft’s online Office suite now includes real-time co-authoring to allow users to contribute and edit documents simultaneously in the Word Web App, PowerPoint Web App or Excel Web App. The save-as-you-go feature means team edits are included and seen as they occur.

“New real-time presence helps you see where your co-authors are working in the document so that you don’t create conflicts as you edit,” Office Web Apps technical product marketing manager Amanda Lefebvre said in a blog post.

“Additionally, the new ability to see changes to text and formatting as they happen will help you and your co-authors stay on the same page as your ideas develop and evolve.”

Microsoft has also updated each of the Office Web Apps “to bring the Office experience you know and trust to the Web.”

App Updates

• The Word Web App includes newly improved formatting controls for more professional documents. The controls include: an ability to find and replace words and phrases, apply styles and formatting to tables and an ability to insert headers and footers.

Microsoft image — Word Web App.

Microsoft image — Word Web App.

• The Excel Web App now has the ability to drag and drop cells and reorder sheets for the simplified use of online spreadsheets. The app now offers a brief analysis of one’s data — such as sum, count, and average of a selected range of cells — right in the status bar. More workbook types are supported online, as well, allowing users to open and interact with spreadsheets with Sheet Protection.

Microsoft image — Excel Web App

Microsoft image — Excel Web App

• The PowerPoint Web App offers a new picture cropping functionality to hand users more control of visuals for a presentation. Users can also now change the name of their files within the editing window of PowerPoint Web App, and across the other Office Web Apps.

The updates began their rollout late Wednesday and, over the course of the week, all Office Web Apps users working in SkyDrive and Office 365 will have real-time co-authoring capabilities and access to the app updates.

Lefebvre said more updates will be implemented in the next several months.

“Notably, we’re still on track to enable editing from Android tablets, so you can access Office files and tools from even more devices,” she said. “And of course, we’ll continue to bring the Office features that you value most to the Web so you can more easily create Office files from start to finish online.”


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Jennifer Cowan is the Managing Editor for SiteProNews.

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