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Photos: Microsoft's Office Web Apps in action

PowerPoint, Word and Excel set up home in the browser
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By Tim Ferguson on
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1 of 12 Tim Ferguson/ZDNet

PowerPoint, Word and Excel set up home in the browser

Microsoft made the online versions of its Office software available for users of its SkyDrive online storage this week in Canada, Ireland, the UK and US.

Office Web Apps - which includes online versions of Word, PowerPoint, Excel and OneNote - has been in technical preview for several months but is now available to all Windows Live users.

Above is the SkyDrive homepage, which includes a menu (right) from which you can select the Office Web App that you want to create a document in.

The recent documents section will show files you've recently viewed or edited or that friends have shared with you.

Screenshot: Microsoft

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This page allows you to add documents that have been created on a user's PC into SkyDrive where they can be saved and then edited using the relevant Office Web App.

Silverlight users can upload numerous documents at once by dragging and dropping them into the browser.

Screenshot: Microsoft

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The image above shows a document being worked on within the Word Web App, which users can access via Office.live.com.

Screenshot: Microsoft

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Users can edit their documents within the browser by selecting 'edit in browser'. No special software has to be installed as the applications run within the browser.

Screenshot: Microsoft

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Another one of the Office apps is PowerPoint Web App. Users can create presentation slides in the same way as in Office 2010 - the latest desktop version of the Microsoft software launched last month.

Screenshot: Microsoft

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Office Web Apps aren't as feature-rich as the Office 2010 versions of the applications.

If you need a feature from Office 2010 on your PC that the web app doesn't have - such as 3D charts in the case of PowerPoint - users can open the document on their PC, add the item and then resume working on the document online.

Screenshot: Microsoft

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Excel Web App is the third application available through SkyDrive. Here's an Excel document being worked on within the browser.

Screenshot: Microsoft

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Office Web Apps also allow users to work together on the same document in real-time using the co-authoring functionality on Excel and OneNote.

Screenshot: Microsoft

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Windows Live Messenger has been integrated with Office Web Apps meaning you can chat to a contact within the browser rather than having to start the application separately.

The Messenger window can be seen in this Excel document, allowing users to discuss a document as they work on it.

Screenshot: Microsoft

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The fourth and final Office Web App currently available is the OneNote Web App. The application is essentially a repository to store text, images, video and audio notes around particular topics or areas being worked on.

Screenshot: Microsoft

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As the documents are web-based you can view them on a smartphone by going to Office.live.com. Users can view Word and PowerPoint documents without the addition of any software for most smartphones.

Screenshot: Microsoft

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Above is a Word Web App document within the SharePoint collaboration platform. One of the tools designed to help with collaboration is version history. This allows users to rewind to previous versions of documents.

Screenshot: Microsoft

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