Making the most of Office Web Apps

Making the most of Office Web Apps

Cloud-based productivity suites were once considered the poorer cousins of their desktop counterparts.

Indeed, when Microsoft's Office Live Workspaces was unveiled in 2008, users could only view and share Office files.

Online editing did not arrive until 2010, when the software powerhouse launched Office Web Apps.

In February, the cloud-based Office suite received another shot in the arm with Office 365 for Business.

Besides Word, Excel and PowerPoint Web Apps, the suite now includes Lync Web App, a collaboration tool, and Outlook Web App, the cloud-based version of Microsoft's Outlook e-mail software.

Here are some Office Web App tips to help you get the most out of your Office 365 investment.

Word Web App

Maximise your document editing area

The ribbon interface may make it easy to access editing tools based on the tasks that you want to perform, but it takes up nearly a quarter of your screen estate. This may not be a problem if you are using a 14-inch laptop, but not if you are working on a 10-inch tablet.

To maximise your document editing area, click on the small Up arrow on the top-right corner of the browser window. This also helps you to focus on the text and minimise the need to scroll up and down.

Comment on documents

Users of desktop Office will be familiar with its commenting feature that allows comments on selected portions of a Word document. Word Web App has the same feature, though this may not be apparent to users.

In Reading View, click on the Comments tab to view colleagues' comments for that document.

To comment, select the text you would like to comment on and type in the box on the right side of the screen.

You can also reply to earlier comments and mark a comment as "done" after you have acted on it.

Collaborative editing

The cloud makes it possible for co-workers to edit the same Office document simultaneously. After you have shared a document with a colleague, both of you will be able to edit the document at the same time.

To ensure changes to the document are not overwritten, the paragraph that is being worked on will be marked as locked and inaccessible to others.

Jazz up images

Spruce up images with Word Web App's picture formatting tools. To get started, click on an image in the document to bring up the Format ribbon. Then, choose from a range of picture styles, including drop shadows and frames. To resize an image, right-click on the image and choose "Grow" or "Shrink".

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