Office Web Apps: Things to Know about File Sharing

As the saying goes, two heads are better than one, and you can make more of your Word documents, Excel worksheets, PowerPoint presentations, and OneNote notebooks by sharing them online with coworkers and colleagues. This article outlines ten things you should know about sharing files, or coauthoring files as Microsoft likes to call it, with the Office Web Apps.
The Office Web Apps Are All about Sharing
Being able to share folders and files with others, and being able to collaborate online with others, is the chief reason to use the Office Web Apps. In and of themselves, the Office Web Apps aren’t much to crow about. Especially if you’ve used Office 2010 software, the Office Web Apps seem kind of measly and small. They don’t offer very many commands compared to their Office 2010 counterparts.

But the Office Web Apps open up the possibility of sharing files with others. You can work on a Word document, Excel worksheet, PowerPoint presentation, or OneNote Web App at the same time as a colleague. Not only that, but if the Office Web Apps don’t have a command you want, you can open the file you’re working on in an Office 2010 program. Being able to work alongside others on the same file in an Office Web App or Office 2010 program is something special.
You Need a Windows Live Account or SharePoint 2010
To share files with others, you need an account with Windows Live or access to a SharePoint 2010 Web site. Windows Live is a Microsoft Web site that offers free Web-based applications and services. Anyone can get an account with Windows Live. With SkyDrive, one of the Windows Live services, you can create folders for storing and sharing Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote files. The other way to share files is to share them on a SharePoint 2010 Web site. To go this route, a network administrator must have set up an account for you.
Share Files in Public and Shared Folders
SkyDrive folders come in three basic varieties: private, public, and shared. To share a file, it must be stored in a public or shared folder. Files in private folders are strictly for the use of the folder’s owner and are not for anyone else to see. SkyDrive offers commands for making a folder private, public, or shared. SkyDrive also offers commands for inviting people to edit files in public and shared folders.

What Sharing Means Is Different in Public and Shared Folders
What file sharing in SkyDrive actually means depends on whether the file
being shared is stored in a public folder or a shared folder:
Public folder: You can view (but not edit) and download files kept in a public folder.
Shared folder: You can view, edit, download, and create files in a shared
folder. You can also edit files in Office 2010 programs as well as Office Web Apps. And you can create subfolders inside a shared folder.
In an Excel and OneNote Web App, Two People Can Work on the Same File
Two or more people can open the same file at the same time in Excel Web App and OneNote Web App and work simultaneously. For example, coworkers putting together an Excel worksheet, one in Point A  and the other in Point B, can go to a folder in SkyDrive or a SharePoint 2010 Web site, open the same worksheet in Excel Web App, and work on the worksheet together. Being able to work together with someone else on an Excel worksheet or OneNote notebook is mighty nice. I just hope all collaborators are doing their share of the work.

You Can Also Share Files in Word, PowerPoint, and OneNote 2010
Besides using the Office Web Apps to work on shared files, you can use Word 2010, Excel 2010, PowerPoint 2010, or OneNote 2010. Each Office Web App offers a button called “Open In.” By clicking this button (Open In Word, Open in Excel, Open in PowerPoint, or Open in OneNote), you can open a shared file in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, or OneNote 2010. The Office 2010 versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote offer many more commands and features than their Office Web App counterparts. Being able to open a file kept on SkyDrive or a SharePoint Web site with Office 2010 software on your computer is very nice indeed. After you open the file, you can take advantage of the numerous commands in your Office 2010 program that aren’t available in an Office Web App. To share files with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, or OneNote, you must be using Office 2010, not Office 2007, or an earlier version Office.

You Can See Who Your Collaborators Are
Want to know who besides yourself is working on a file or was invited to coauthor files in a folder? The lower-right corner of the Office Web App window tells you how many people are currently editing a file. You can click this notice to see a pop-up window that lists your name and the names of other editors. In Word 2010 and PowerPoint 2010, you can click the Authors icon on the status bar to see who your coauthors are. Clicking the Authors icon brings up a list of coauthors’ names. You Can View, Not Edit, Office 97–2003 Files. To share a Word, Excel, PowerPoint, or OneNote file with others on Windows Live or a SharePoint Web site, the file must be saved in the 07–2010 format. You can view files saved in the 97–2003 format in an Office Web App, but you can’t edit the files. How do you tell whether a Word, Excel, PowerPoint, or OneNote file is in the 07–2010 format or an earlier format? One way is to glance at its file extension. Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote 07–2010 files have four-letter, not three-letter file extensions. The other way is to glance at the title bar, where the words “Compatibility Mode” in the title bar appear next to the file’s name if it is not in the 07–2010 format. (The title bar is located at the top of the screen.) Follow these steps to convert a 97–2003 file to the 07–2010 format so that you can edit it with an Office Web App:
1. Go to the File tab and choose Info.
2. Click the Convert button.
You Can’t Share Password-Protected Files
As a security measure, Microsoft does not allow you to share files that have been password-protected with an Office Web App. For example, if you try to open a PowerPoint 2010 presentation that has been given a password in the PowerPoint Web App, you get this message: “PowerPoint Web App cannot open this presentation because it is encrypted using a password.” You can open the file in PowerPoint 2010, but not the PowerPoint Web App. Follow these steps to remove a password from an Office 2010 file and be able to share it in an Office Web App:

1. Open the file that needs its password removed.
2. Go to the File tab, and in the Information window, click the Protect button (it’s called Protect Document, Protect Workbook, Protect Presentation, or Protect Notebook).
A drop-down list appears.
3. Choose Encrypt with Password on the drop-down list. You see the Encrypt Document dialog box.
4. Delete the password.
5. Click OK.
You can now share the file in an Office Web App.

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