LABS GALLERY: Office Web Apps Preview Brings Microsoft's Productivity Flagship to Firefox and Linux

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
1 of 25

LABS GALLERY: Office Web Apps Preview Brings Microsoft's Productivity Flagship to Firefox and Linux

2 of 25

Logging In

Microsoft's Office Web Apps will eventually be available in ad-supported Windows Live and hosted or on-premises paid versions. For this Tech Preview, Microsoft provided access to the Windows Live version, which meant mortgage ads at log-on. No such ads appeared with the Apps themselves, however.

3 of 25

My Documents

I accessed the Office Web Apps through the My Documents folder in the SkyDrive of my Windows Live test account.

4 of 25

New Document

From within the My Documents folder, I could create new files, upload existing ones or access files already stored in the SkyDrive.

5 of 25

No Word Editing Yet

For now, Word is view-only, and OneNote isn't accessible at all, so attempts to create either of those file types bring up this "We're working on it" screen.

6 of 25

Add Files

I uploaded a Windows Server reviewer guide to try out the online Word document viewing. I was pleased to see that where Google limits word processing documents to 500KB, Microsoft accepts uploads of up to 50MB.

7 of 25

Backstage-ish View

Each document in the SkyDrive gets a summary page somewhat reminiscent of the Backstage view in Office 2010. If an Office Web App isn't able to edit or view a document, you can still comment on it and download it to your computer.

8 of 25

View Word Documents

When I opened my uploaded Word document for viewing, the Word Web App promised improved performance and rendering if I installed Silverlight. I conducted most of my tests on Firefox and Linux and tried installing Novell's Moonlight plugin to enjoy the promised Silverlight goodness, but it didn't appear to make any difference.

9 of 25

TOC Links

My document rendered nicely, and I was able to scroll through with ease. I also found that the document links embedded in the TOC worked properly.

10 of 25

Copy and Paste

I tried copying text from the document into a note-taking application on my desktop—the content came across, but, as I might have expected, I lost the formatting.

11 of 25

Document Search

For Office 2010, Word is picking up a very handy document search sidebar, which the Web version of Word mimics quite well.

12 of 25

Document Zoom

I could zoom in and out of the document in more or less the same way as with the desktop-based version of Word.

13 of 25

No Help Yet

There's a button for accessing online help, but the help content is not yet in place—par for the course for an early tech preview release.

14 of 25

Open in Word (On Linux)

I wondered whether I could click the "Open in Word" button and access my document from OpenOffice.org, but I wasn't surprised when this didn't work. However, I wasn't able to open Word (or Excel or PowerPoint) documents on Windows XP or 7 machines running Office 2007 or 2010, either.

15 of 25

No ODT Support

Office 2010 boasts support for the OpenDocument standard, but this support does not, at this point, carry over to Office Web Apps. I could upload an ODT document, but I could not view or edit it.

16 of 25

No Edit Support for XLS

I uploaded a spreadsheet saved in Microsoft's binary XLS format, and I could view it without a problem. To edit the spreadsheet, however, I had to convert it to the XML-based XLSX format.

17 of 25

Excel Editing

With my spreadsheet duly converted, I was presented with a trimmed down ribbon and a subset of the editing features available in the desktop-based version of Excel. On my Firefox/Linux machine, the bottom of the ribbon appeared slightly truncated.

18 of 25

Excel Options

I could choose from a small set of save and download options.

19 of 25

Open in Excel

Clicking the Open in Excel button spawned this dialog, which gave me the option of opening my spreadsheet locally in read only or edit modes.

20 of 25

Wouldnt Open in Excel

However, I wasn't able to actually open the document in Excel. I tried combinations of XP and Windows 7 with Office 2007 and 2010, but couldn't get it to work. I chalked the issues up to alpha-level software bugs.

21 of 25

Download Did Work

I was able to download my documents to my test machines, edit them with Office or OpenOffice.org, and upload them back to the SkyDrive for further viewing or editing.

22 of 25

Formula Writing

,br/>I added a simple formula to one of my spreadsheets, and the feature worked as expected.

23 of 25

How to Fill?

However, I couldn't figure out how to auto-fill my newly written formula across all the cells in the relevant column.

24 of 25

Conditional Formatting

I headed back to a copy of Excel 2010 running on a Windows XP VM to auto-fill those cells, and opted to add some of Office 2010's handsome new conditional formatting to a pair of my columns.

25 of 25

File Corrupt

I uploaded my spreadsheet back to the SkyDrive, but the Excel Web App wouldn't open it, complaining of file corruption.

Top White Papers and Webcasts