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I recently asked a group of students about how and when they use Office Web Apps. According to them, here are the top 3 good times to use Office Web Apps.
Not familiar with them? Office Web Apps are free online companions to Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote. And if you've got a Windows Live ID, you can use them to view, edit, and share Office files. You don’t even need Microsoft Office installed. But keep in mind, they're called "companions" because they don't completely replace the desktop versions.
Say you’ve got a term paper due next week and you need to do some research at the library. But you don’t have a laptop that can travel with you. Here’s what you do: use the library computer to take notes with the OneNote Web App. Your notes are automatically saved to your Windows Live SkyDrive folder, which you can access when you’re back home at your own computer (or, if you want to get technical, any computer with an internet connection). The notes are typed and easy to read, plus, you can use tags to help you find follow up questions you wrote or to-do items you thought of while you were researching. Get the full scoop in Introduction to OneNote Web App.
If you don’t have a computer at home, you can use the school computer lab to write papers and reports. You don’t have to hassle with USB sticks or worry about compatibility issues between different software versions installed on different computers. Word Web App is a great tool for writing school papers. It includes spellcheck, nice font and formatting options, and access to the Office Clip Art gallery. Find out more about Word Web App.
Note: A PDF viewer is required for printing in Word Web App.
You can use Excel Web App to collaborate with other people on the same spreadsheet. This proves rather handy when all of you are inputting data for an experiment at the same time. One thing to note, if changes are made to the same cell by different people (including you), the most recent change will be displayed in the cell.
Get tips on how multiple people can work on an Excel Web App spreadsheet at the same time.
Open office.live.com and sign in with your Windows Live ID. (If you don’t have an ID you can sign up for one on this same page.)Note: Office Web Apps support most popular browsers, such as Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, and Chrome.
After you’re signed in, click on the Office tab at the top of the screen. Open an existing document or create a new one from here.
Get more Office Web Apps tips.
Have you tried Office Web Apps? If not, why not? Leave a comment and share your experience with us.
Small tip if you have a Office document on SkyDrive that you are routinely checking/updating and you have IE9 & Windows 7, try pinning the document to your taskbar. I find that items that I put in my taskbar get a little bit more attention then links on my desktop or in my browser favorites.
For me, the main thing hindering me from using Office Web Apps / SkyDrive more is that there is no integration with Windows desktop search. When I type "clientname" in Windows Start, I want it to include results from SkyDrive.
@JohnCz: Great tip! And I like your Windows desktop search suggestion. I'll pass it along to the Windows Live team. Thanks for leaving a comment and sharing your advice with us.