Office on the web

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Office Online
Microsoft Office 2013 logo and wordmark.svg
Office Online.png
Clockwise from top left: Word, Excel, OneNote and PowerPoint in Office Online as of September 2018
Type of site
OwnerMicrosoft
Created byMicrosoft
URLproducts.office.com/en/office-online/documents-spreadsheets-presentations-office-online
CommercialFreemium
RegistrationMandatory for webmail and file sharing; optional for others
LaunchedJune 7, 2010; 10 years ago (2010-06-07)[1]

Office on the web (known before 2014 as Office Web Apps and before July 2019 as Office Online) is an online office suite offered by Microsoft, which allows users to create and edit files using lightweight Microsoft Office web apps: Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote. The offering also includes Outlook.com and OneDrive, all of which are accessible from a unified app switcher. Users can install the on-premises version of this service, called Office Online Server, in private clouds in conjunction with SharePoint, Microsoft Exchange Server and Microsoft Lync Server.[2]

History[edit]

Office Web Apps was first revealed on October 2008 at PDC 2008 in Los Angeles.[3] Chris Capossela, senior vice president of Microsoft business division, introduced Office Web Apps as lightweight versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote that allow people to create, edit and collaborate on Office documents through a web browser. According to Capossela, Office Web Apps was to become available as a part of Office Live Workspace.[4] Office Web Apps was announced to be powered by AJAX as well as Silverlight; however, the latter is optional and its availability will only "enhance the user experience, resulting in sharper images and improved rendering." [5] Microsoft's Business Division President Stephen Elop stated during PDC 2008 that "a technology preview of Office Web Apps would become available later in 2008".[6] However, the Technical Preview of Office Web Apps was not released until 2009.

On July 13, 2009, Microsoft announced at its Worldwide Partners Conference 2009 in New Orleans that Microsoft Office 2010 reached its "Technical Preview" development milestone and features of Office Web Apps were demonstrated to the public for the first time.[7] Additionally, Microsoft announced that Office Web Apps would be made available to consumers online and free of charge, while Microsoft Software Assurance customers will have the option of running them on premises. Office 2010 beta testers were not given access to Office Web Apps at this date, and it was announced that it would be available for testers during August 2009.[8] However, in August 2009, a Microsoft spokesperson stated that there had been a delay in the release of Office Web Apps Technical Preview and it would not be available by the end of August.[9]

Microsoft officially released the Technical Preview of Office Web Apps on September 17, 2009.[10] Office Web Apps was made available to selected testers via its OneDrive (at the time Skydrive) service. The final version of Office Web Apps was made available to the public via Windows Live Office on June 7, 2010.[1]

On October 22, 2012, Microsoft announced the release of new features including co-authoring, performance improvements and touch support.[11]

On November 6, 2013, Microsoft announced further new features including real-time co-authoring and an Auto-Save feature in Word (replacing the save button).[12][13][14]

In February 2014, Office Web Apps were re-branded Office Online and incorporated into other Microsoft web services, including Calendar, OneDrive, Outlook.com, and People.[15] Microsoft had previously attempted to unify its online services suite (including Microsoft Passport, Hotmail, MSN Messenger, and later SkyDrive) under a brand known as Windows Live, first launched in 2005. However, with the impending launch of Windows 8 and its increased use of cloud services, Microsoft dropped the Windows Live brand to emphasize that these services would now be built directly into Windows and not merely be a "bolted on" add-on. Critics had criticized the Windows Live brand for having no clear vision, as it was being applied to an increasingly broad array of unrelated services.[16][17] At the same time, Windows Live Hotmail was re-launched as Outlook.com (sharing its name with the Microsoft Outlook personal information manager).[18]

In July 2019, Microsoft announced that they were retiring the "Online" branding for Office Online. The product is now Office, and may be referred to as "Office for the web" or "Office in a browser".[19]

Features[edit]

Word, Excel, and PowerPoint on the web can all natively open, edit, and save Office Open XML files (docx, xlsx, pptx) as well as OpenDocument files (odt, ods, odp). They can also open the older Office file formats (doc, xls, ppt), but will be converted to the newer Open XML formats if the user wishes to edit them online. Other formats cannot be opened in the browser apps, such as CSV in Excel or HTML in Word, nor can Office files that are encrypted with a password be opened. Files with macros can be opened in the browser apps, but the macros cannot be accessed or executed.[20][21][22] Starting on July 2013, Word can render PDF documents or convert them to Microsoft Word documents, although the formatting of the document may deviate from the original.[23] Since November 2013, the apps have supported real-time co-authoring and autosaving files.[13][14]

Limitations[edit]

Office on the web lacks a number of the advanced features present in the full desktop versions of Office, including lacking the programs Access and Publisher entirely. However, users are able to select the command "Open in Desktop App" that brings up the document in the desktop version of Office on their computer or device to utilize the advanced features there.[24][25]

Word on the web lacks some Ribbon tabs, such as Design and Mailings. Mailings allows users to print envelopes and labels, and manage mail merge printing of Word documents.[24][26] Word on the web is not able to edit certain objects, such as equations, shapes, text boxes, or drawings, but a placeholder may be present in the document. Certain advanced features like table sorting or columns will not be displayed but are preserved as they were in the document. Other views available in the Word desktop app (Outline, Draft, Web Layout, and Full Screen Reading) are not available, nor are side-by-side viewing, split windows, and the ruler.[20]

Excel on the web can display most of the features available in the desktop versions of Excel, although it may not be able to insert or edit them. Certain data connections are not accessible on Excel on the web, including with charts that may use these external connections. Excel on the web also cannot display legacy features, such as Excel 4.0 macros or Excel 5.0 dialog sheets. There are also small differences between how some of the Excel functions work.[21]

PowerPoint on the web does not support inserting or editing charts, equations, or audio or video stored on your PC, but they are all displayed in the presentation if they were added in using a desktop app. Some elements, like WordArt effects or more advanced animations and transitions, are not displayed at all, although they are preserved in the document. PowerPoint on the web also lacks the Outline, Master, Slide Sorter, and Presenter views present in the desktop app, as well as having limited printing options.[22]

Availability[edit]

Supported web browsers include Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer 11, the latest versions of Firefox or Google Chrome, as well as Safari for OS X 10.8 or later.[27]

The Personal edition of Office Online is available to the general public free of charge with a Microsoft account through the Office.com website, which superseded SkyDrive (now OneDrive) and Office Live Workspace. Enterprise-managed versions are available through Office 365.[28] In February 2013, the ability to view and edit files on SkyDrive without signing in was added.[29] The service can also be installed privately in enterprise environments as a SharePoint app, or through Office Web Apps Server.[2] Microsoft also offers other web apps in the Office suite, such as the Outlook Web App (formerly Outlook Web Access),[30] Lync Web App (formerly Office Communicator Web Access),[31] Project Web App (formerly Project Web Access).[32] Additionally, Microsoft offers a service under the name of Online Doc Viewer to view Office documents on a website via Office Online.[33]

There are free extensions available to use Office Online directly in Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge.[34][35]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Finley, Klint (8 June 2010). "Microsoft Rolls Out Office Web Apps". ReadWrite Enterprise. SAY Media. Archived from the original on 11 June 2010. Retrieved 21 January 2013.
  2. ^ a b "Introducing Office Web Apps Server". Office IT Pro Blog. Microsoft. Archived from the original on 25 February 2014. Retrieved 20 February 2014.
  3. ^ Chartier, David (28 October 2008). "Microsoft Office will float to the cloud with Office Web". Ars Technica. Condé Nast. Archived from the original on 16 August 2017.
  4. ^ "Microsoft to Extend Office to the Browser". News Center. Los Angeles: Microsoft. 28 October 2008. Archived from the original on 22 February 2013. Retrieved 21 January 2013.
  5. ^ Perez, Sarah (10 November 2008). "Microsoft Office Web Applications: Your Burning Questions Answered". Channel 9. Microsoft. Archived from the original on 10 September 2012. Retrieved 21 January 2013.
  6. ^ Fried, Ina (28 October 2008). "Next version of Office heads to the browser". CNet News. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on 28 March 2013. Retrieved 21 January 2013.
  7. ^ "Microsoft Office 2010 Hits Major Milestone and Enters Technical Preview". News Center. Microsoft. 13 July 2009. Archived from the original on 29 November 2012. Retrieved 21 January 2013.
  8. ^ Foley, Mary Jo (13 July 2009). "Microsoft Office Web Apps: No test build until August". ZDNet. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on 16 July 2009. Retrieved 21 January 2013.
  9. ^ Mary Jo, Foley (29 August 2009). "No Microsoft Office Web Apps test build in August, after all". ZDNet. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on 8 February 2016.
  10. ^ "Microsoft Web Apps: Office Goes to the Web". News Center. Microsoft. 17 September 2009. Archived from the original on 23 February 2013. Retrieved 21 January 2013.
  11. ^ Shahine, Omar (22 October 2012). "Updated Office Web Apps on SkyDrive". Archived from the original on 16 November 2013. Retrieved 10 November 2013.
  12. ^ "What's new in the Word Web App?". 6 November 2013. Archived from the original on 24 July 2014. Retrieved 10 November 2013. Where's the Save Button? There's no Save button because we're automatically saving your document (quote appears as a screenshot).
  13. ^ a b "Get It Done Day and Office 365 help balance life's demands". 6 November 2013. Archived from the original on 10 November 2013. Retrieved 10 November 2013. Microsoft has updated Office Web Apps with two highly anticipated features — the introduction of Auto-Save in the Word Web App and real-time co-authoring, a feature that allows multiple people to contribute to and edit documents simultaneously in the Word Web App, PowerPoint Web App or Excel Web App.
  14. ^ a b Lefebvre, Amanda (6 November 2013). "Collaboration just got easier: Real-time co-authoring now available in Office Web Apps". Archived from the original on 10 November 2013. Retrieved 10 November 2013.
  15. ^ "Meet Office Online, Microsoft's slightly tweaked Office Web Apps replacement". PC World. IDG. Archived from the original on 25 February 2014. Retrieved 20 February 2014.
  16. ^ Stross, Randall (27 May 2012). "Goodbye to Windows Live (and Whatever It Meant)". New York Times Online. The New York Times Company. Archived from the original on 1 December 2017.
  17. ^ "Cloud services for Windows 8 and Windows Phone: Windows Live, reimagined". Building Windows 8. Microsoft. Archived from the original on 16 February 2014. Retrieved 20 February 2014.
  18. ^ Jones, Chris (31 July 2012). "Introducing Outlook.com - Modern Email for the Next Billion Mailboxes". Outlook Blog. Microsoft. Archived from the original on 18 August 2012. Retrieved 31 July 2012.
  19. ^ "Why Office Online is Now Simply Office". TECHCOMMUNITY.MICROSOFT.COM. July 24, 2019. Retrieved August 8, 2019.
  20. ^ a b "Differences between using a document in the browser and in Word". Office Support. Microsoft. Archived from the original on 7 November 2017. Retrieved 1 November 2017.
  21. ^ a b "Differences between using a workbook in the browser and in Excel - Office Support". support.office.com. Archived from the original on 8 February 2017. Retrieved 7 February 2017.
  22. ^ a b "How certain features behave in web-based PowerPoint". Office Support. Microsoft. Retrieved 31 October 2019.
  23. ^ Zarzar, Dan (3 July 2013). "PDFs in the Word Web App". Office Web Apps blog. Microsoft. Archived from the original on 9 July 2013. Retrieved 4 July 2013.
  24. ^ a b Bradley, Tony (2 February 2015). "Office Online vs. Office 365: What's free, what's not, and what you really need". PC World. IDG. Archived from the original on 24 July 2017.
  25. ^ Paul, Ian (12 February 2015). "Microsoft beefs up Office Online with new features, streamlined interface". PC World. IDG. Retrieved 31 October 2019.
  26. ^ Ansaldo, Michael (28 September 2017). "Microsoft Office Online review: Work with your favorite Office formats for free". PC World. IDG. Retrieved 31 October 2019.
  27. ^ "Office Online browser support". support.office.com. Microsoft. Archived from the original on 26 August 2014. Retrieved 24 August 2014.
  28. ^ Moore, Jason (June 8, 2010). "Office is now live on SkyDrive!". Inside Windows Live. Microsoft. Archived from the original on August 18, 2012.
  29. ^ Kenison, Roxanne (8 February 2013). "Sign-in no longer required to edit Office docs in SkyDrive". Office Web Apps blog. Microsoft. Archived from the original on 1 June 2013. Retrieved 4 July 2013.
  30. ^ "FAQs for Outlook Web App". Outlook Web App. Microsoft. Archived from the original on 25 January 2013. Retrieved 21 January 2013.
  31. ^ "Welcome to Microsoft Lync Web App". Microsoft Office website. Microsoft. Archived from the original on 18 January 2013. Retrieved 21 January 2013.
  32. ^ "Getting started with Project Web App". Project Server Help. Microsoft. Archived from the original on 10 January 2013. Retrieved 21 January 2013.
  33. ^ "View Office documents online". Microsoft Office website. Microsoft. Retrieved 3 March 2018.
  34. ^ "Office Online - Chrome Web Store". Microsoft. Chrome Web Store. Retrieved 8 June 2018.
  35. ^ "Office browser extension". Microsoft. Microsoft Edge Addons. Retrieved 17 January 2018.

External links[edit]