Office Online, Microsoft’s browser-based suite of Word, PowerPoint and Excel productivity apps, is following in the footsteps of its mobile counterparts.
Microsoft announced that Office Online users can now link their Dropbox to their accounts, a capability available to the iOS, Android and Windows versions of the company’s productivity apps. “Now, when working in Office Online you can add your Dropbox account to easily browse, open and edit Office files with Office Online,” said Microsoft is a brief April 9 statement. “You can also create new files in Office Online, and save them directly to your Dropbox.”
Microsoft and Dropbox first revealed in November that the companies had partnered to enable collaboration across the Office software suite and the cloud storage provider’s platform on smartphones, tablets and the Web. The fit was a natural one, they asserted, considering the massive overlap in users between them.
Office boasts a user base of more than a 1.2 billion people. Dropbox said at the time that it was sitting on a trove of more than 35 billion Office files that its users stored on the cloud service.
“In our mobile-first and cloud-first world, people need easier ways to create, share and collaborate regardless of their device or platform,” said Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s CEO, echoing his company’s post-PC product strategy in a statement. “Together, Microsoft and Dropbox will provide our shared customers with flexible tools that put them at the center for the way they live and work today.”
Drew Houston, CEO and co-founder of Dropbox, commented that Dropbox’s “partnership with Microsoft will make it easier than ever to collaborate seamlessly across these platforms, giving people the freedom to get more done,” in a statement.
Now, by bringing Office Online into the fold, that vision is a little more complete.
After linking their Dropbox and Office Online accounts, users can seamlessly view, open and edit files directly in the Office Web Apps browser interface. Users coming from the Dropbox Website have access to similar functionality on their end.
“You can now access Office Online directly from the file you are viewing,” boasted Microsoft’s Office Team in a blog post. “Just click the Open button when you’re previewing a Word, PowerPoint or Excel file from Dropbox on the web, and you can edit the file right from your browser using Office Online.”
The feature can come in handy for users who need to get work done and only have access to a Web browser. On Dropbox’s official blog, the company said, “You don’t need the desktop versions of Microsoft Office—or even your own computer—to update any Office files stored in your Dropbox,” in a post authored by Nikhil Bhargava. “Just click the ‘Open’ button when you’re previewing a Dropbox file on the web, and you can edit the file right from your browser via Office Online. Any changes will automatically be saved back to your Dropbox.”