10 June 2010

Tech Note: Web Apps for Office

You just may need to add one more user name to your roster. It's to take a drive through Microsoft's sky. Productivity just inched up a notch.

If you have enjoyed the development over the years of Google Docs and Spreadsheets, you are likely to cheer loudly at the Microsoft offering that brings on Excel, OneNote, Word, and Powerpoint. The major cheer: you won't have to watch them develop. They're already running smoothly.

I'll spend the next few weeks reviewing the sub-parts (on Thursdays) as I explore them. My immediate purpose is to create items on a laptop and access them on iPad and iPhone.

Here are the beginning points, not all of them wonderful:

1 - Microsoft has placed lite versions of its Office applications on the web. They are literally "web apps," meaning that users do not have to have Office on their hard drives. Users can access the web apps via a browser. (I usually call this type of program RIA, rich Internet application.) Not wonderful: file-opening and saving must be through the SkyDrive and not directly with the hard drive.

2 - Users can create (from scratch) a Word doc, an Excel spreadsheet, a PowerPoint presentation, and a OneNote entry. At present, they can also share works in Excel and OneNote--meaning, share them with other users for co-writing. Not wonderful: sharing is not yet available in Word and PowerPoint.

3 - These web apps are free. Not wonderful: you must learn more names. Microsoft Live is located at office.live, and requires a Windows Live ID. I'm sorry, but I'm getting old.

To underscore the major finding: the web apps work very smoothly. Development will center on addition of features, not on improvement of usability. And that will make me open a new browser window, rather than just follow my old path from gmail to Documents.

Disclosure statement: I have not received any compensation for mentioning this service. (This blog's only monetary reward comes through google.adsense links, which are selected by Google, not by me.)

© 2010 Mary Bold, PhD, CFLE. Email contact: bold[AT]marybold.com. The content of this blog or related web sites created by Mary Bold (http://www.marybold.com/, http://www.boldproductions.com/, College Intern Blog) is not under any circumstances to be regarded as legal or professional advice. Bold is the co-author of Reflections: Preparing for your Practicum or Internship, geared to college interns in the child, education, and family fields. She is a consultant and speaker on assessment, distance learning, and technology.

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