Office Web Apps: Things Everyone Should Know about the Office Web Apps


This article describes ten things that everyone should know about the Office Web Apps. There are four Office Web Apps namely:
Word Web App: For writing letters, reports, and other documents.
Excel Web App: For crunching numbers in spreadsheets.
PowerPoint Web App: For creating and showing slides in a slideshow presentation.
OneNote Web App: For note-taking and organizing notes.
Do the names Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote sound familiar? If they do, it’s because you’re acquainted with the four Microsoft Office programs from which the Office Web Apps take their names. Word Web App, Excel Web App, PowerPoint Web App, and OneNote Web App are online versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote.
 

They’re Free!
Not many things in this world are free, but signing up to use the Office Web Apps and running the Office Web Apps doesn’t cost one red cent.

You Run Office Web Apps through a Browser
The Office Web Apps aren’t called “Web apps” for nothing. The difference between the Office Web Apps and conventional computer programs is that you run Office Web Apps through a Web browser. A Web browser is a program for visiting Web sites on the Internet. To run an Office Web App, you start a Web browser, go to the Web site where your files are stored, and open a file with an Office Web App. Commands for running the Office Web App are transmitted through your Web browser. The Office Web App software isn’t stored on your computer; it’s stored on the Web server where your files are. In effect, an Office Web App is a program inside another program. Running an Office Web App entails running a Web browser, and, inside the Web browser, running the Office Web App. Microsoft recommends using these three browsers to run the Office Web Apps: Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari, and Chrome.

Your Files Are Stored Online
The other major difference between the Office Web Apps and conventional computer programs is that the files you work on aren’t kept on your computer; the files are kept on a Web server on the Internet or a Web server on a company network.
To open a file, you open your browser, use your browser to go to the Web site on the Internet or your company’s network where your files are stored, locate the file, and give the command to open it. It opens in an Office Web App. Keeping files on a Web server instead of your computer’s hard drive makes it possible for other people to open the files, too. They can also go to the Web server and open the files. And because more than one person can access the same files, you can share files. You can coauthor files with other people using the Office Web Apps.

The Main Purpose of Office Web Apps Is to Share Files
Because the files you work on with the Office Web Apps are stored online, not on your computer, many people can access and edit them. People scattered hither and yon over the earth can open the same file in an Office Web App and edit it at the same time. This ability to share files is the primary purpose of the Office Web Apps. In and of themselves, the Office Web Apps don’t offer enough features and functions to be worthwhile using. But being able to use the Office Web Apps to share files with others makes the Office Web Apps unique and valuable.
Office Web Apps Are Pale Imitations of Office Programs
If you’re a fan of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, or OneNote, you may be disappointed by Word Web App, Excel Web App, PowerPoint Web App, and OneNote Web App. The Office Web Apps are pale imitations of their Office counterparts. One of the first things you notice when you open Word Web App, for example, is how measly it is compared to Word. Still, if Office 2010 is installed on your computer, all is not lost if a feature you like in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, or OneNote isn’t available in Word Web App, Excel Web App, PowerPoint Web App, or OneNote Web App. All is not lost because you can always open your file in an Office 2010 program.
 
You Can Open Files in Office 2010
Each Office Web App has a command for opening the file you’re working on in an Office 2010 program. In PowerPoint Web App, for example, you can click the Open In PowerPoint button to open the PowerPoint presentation you’re working on in PowerPoint Web App in PowerPoint 2010. You would click the Open In PowerPoint button when you needed a feature that PowerPoint 2010 has but PowerPoint Web App doesn’t have. Being able to call on an Office 2010 program when an Office Web App falls short is very nice indeed. But to do it, Office 2010 — not Office 2007, Office 2003, or an earlier version of Office — must be installed on your computer.

Office Web Apps Are Companion Programs to Office 2010
The Office Web Apps are designed to be companion programs to Office 2010.  Not that you can’t use the Office Web Apps on their own without installing Office 2010 on your computer. If your computing needs are modest, you may be able to get by with the Office Web Apps alone. But realistically, you need Office 2010 if you intend to use, as opposed to just view files in, the Office Web Apps. You need to be able to click the Open In button to take advantage of features in Office 2010 software.

You Run Office Web Apps on Windows Live or SharePoint
Everyone can run the Office Web Apps by signing up at Windows Live. Windows Live is a collection of free online services and software products offered by Microsoft. One of these services, called SkyDrive, is for storing files online. After you sign in to Windows Live, you can go to SkyDrive, open an Office Web App, and use it to create and edit Word documents, Excel worksheets, PowerPoint presentations, or OneNote notebooks. The other way to use the Office Web Apps is to do it by way of a SharePoint 2010 Web site. SharePoint 2010 is a Microsoft software product for storing and sharing files on a company network. To use the Office Web Apps on a sharePoint Web site, an administrator must give you permission to access the site.

You Need to Think about Privacy Issues
Privacy matters more than usual when you run the Office Web Apps because your files are kept on a Web server, not on your computer, and getting at another person’s files is easier when the files are on the Internet or a network. Windows Live offers safeguards for making folders where files are stored private or semiprivate. SharePoint does, too. Make sure you understand these safeguards and that you store files appropriately so that only people who should see your files see them.

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