Microsoft adds co-authoring to Web version of Word

Microsoft adds co-authoring to Web version of Word

Summary: Microsoft has added a new capability to its Word Web app to enable document co-authoring for consumers accessing the app via SkyDrive.

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One of Google's justifiable criticisms of Microsoft's Office-based cloud play was it's hard to figure out what you can and can't do with Office Web Apps -- the Webified versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote -- especially in terms of document co-authoring

On July 7, Microsoft addressed one element of that criticism, making it easier (at least in theory) to co-author documents in the Word App when accessing it via SkyDrive. (SkyDrive, Microsoft's cloud storage offering for consumers, is one of the distribution vehicles for Office Web Apps.)

Users already were able to coauthor documents in Word when using Word 2010 on PCs or Word 2011 on Macs, according to Microsoft. But the Office Web Apps versions of Microsoft's Office apps only include limited functionality at this point. And not all of the Office Web Apps are at the same "version" level -- meaning that what you can do in Word Web App may not be the same things you can do in PowerPoint Web App.

Microsoft's ultimate goal is to make it so that all of the members of the Office Web Apps suite can handle the same core set of functions (co-author, print, edit, view, etc.), but there's no word how long that might take. It took the company years to get all of its local versions of the various Office suite products to integrate well and look/work similarly.

Google has tried to exploit the holes in Microsoft's Office Web Apps suite with Google Cloud Connect, Google's cloud add-on to Office which enabled coauthoring, among other features.

Microsoft is continuing to make incremental improvements to Office Web Apps. With the recently released Service Pack (SP) 1 for Office 2010, Microsoft added some new capabilities to Office Web Apps with SP1, including the ability to print from the Edit mode in the Word Web App; insert charts in Excel Web App; and print presentations from PowerPoint Web App. The full list of the new Office Web App additions is in this Knowledge Base article.

Topics: Browser, Cloud, Collaboration, Microsoft, Software

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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14 comments
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  • RE: Microsoft adds co-authoring to Web version of Word

    I still don't know with certainty whether I can create a new document in Office Web Apps Word without having Office 2010 on my PC. Do you know?
    amywohl
    • RE: Microsoft adds co-authoring to Web version of Word

      @amywohl
      Log in with a Live ID to one of the Live properties (like Hotmail). Pull down the "SkyDrive" menu and choose documents. Then click the little word icon in the upper left corner (near "Create"). Presto.

      I have Word installed on all my PCs, but I'm pretty sure that web page doesn't know it (unless I choose "Edit in Word").
      Flydog57
    • RE: Microsoft adds co-authoring to Web version of Word

      @amywohl - you do NOT need Word installed on your local PC to use the Word web-app. That's the whole point of the web-apps.

      If you DO have word installed locally, you'll get all the additional goodness of the full app, but if not, you get to read and perform light-editing of word docs using Word Web App.

      Read this for more info: http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/web-apps-help/introduction-to-word-web-app-HA010378341.aspx
      bitcrazed
    • bitcrazed is right

      See his response below. You don't need to have Office 2010 on your PC to use Web Apps. Web Apps is supposed to be an optional complement to Office running locally... MJ
      Mary Jo Foley
  • RE: Microsoft adds co-authoring to Web version of Word

    Google Docs still better?
    DAS01
    • RE: Microsoft adds co-authoring to Web version of Word

      @DAS01 Nope. Never has been.
      Your Non Advocate
      • RE: Microsoft adds co-authoring to Web version of Word

        @facebook Office and Google Docs cannot be compared. G Docs is not for serious stuff.
        sandeeppolisetty
  • I wonder if we'll ever see MS improve a Google product?

    Cloud Connect provides a valuable additional capability to the MS Office suite ... I'm wracking my brain trying to think of a time that MS has done anything to enhance the value of any Google product ... (maybe the contributions to the Linux kernel they made to improve Windows virtualized within Linux hosts?)

    Not implying Google's motives were selfless -- of course Cloud Connect acts as an on-ramp (maybe even a gateway drug) for Google Apps ... but Google's business philosophy has always been "raise the water, even if someone's boat other than yours rises with it too" (where MS's is more along the lines of "pee in the pool if it's not your water", it seems to me ... using patents to suppress innovation, previously using illegal monopolistic approaches to crushing competition, now toeing the line better, but without remorse and without a change of heart).
    daboochmeister
    • RE: Microsoft adds co-authoring to Web version of Word

      @daboochmeister If you truly believe Google did this to "improve" an MS product, I've got a ticket to ride on the next space shuttle I can sell you.
      goombawa
  • Co authoring?

    I believe that co authoring on Word documents has been part of Office Web Apps for SharePoint users and Office365 for quite some time. I believe that is now being added to Sky drive users.
    Your Non Advocate
  • RE: Microsoft adds co-authoring to Web version of Word

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  • RE: Microsoft adds co-authoring to Web version of Word

    I have Word <a href="http://katalog-odkazu.org/szky-online-s-5343.html">installed</a> on all my PCs, but I'm pretty sure that <a href="http://odkazy.name/szky-online-s-4105.html">web</a> page doesn't know it (unless I choose "Edit in Word").Not implying <a href="http://abq.cz/szky-online-s-12999.html'>Google's</a> motives were selfless -- of course Cloud Connect <a href="http://iiq.cz/szky-online-s-1613.html">acts</a> as an on-ramp (maybe even a gateway drug) for <a href="http://www.hux.cz/szky-online-s-1423.html">Google</a> Apps ... but Google's business philosophy has always been "raise the <a href="http://sxv.cz/szky-online-s-2752.html">water</a>, even if someone's boat other than <a href="http://axy.cz/szky-online-s-8184.html">yours</a> rises with it too" (where MS's is more <a href="http://gxx.cz/szky-online-s-7406.html">along</a> the lines of "pee in the pool if it's not your water", it seems to me ... <a href="http://katalog.gajdusek.net/szky-online-s-6597.html">using</a> patents to suppress innovation, previously <a href="http://2ap.info/szky-online-s-6993.html">using</a> illegal monopolistic approaches to crushing <a href="http://2aq.info/szky-online-s-5188.html">competition</a>.
    merkury9122
  • RE: Microsoft adds co-authoring to Web version of Word

    I'm wracking my brain trying to think of a time that MS has done anything to enhance the value of any Google product ... (maybe the contributions to the Linux kernel they made to improve Windows virtualized within Linux hosts?),thanks and wish all the best
    merkury9122
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