Microsoft Increases Office Online's File Management Options

A new update offers users more flexibility while working with files on the company's browser-based Office apps.

Office Online apps

Users of Office Online apps, Microsoft's free Web-based alternative to Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote, are gaining more file management capabilities in a new update.

A new update, currently being rolled out to the service, provides new Save As options, the Office Team announced in a Feb. 11 blog post. The revamped dialog now supports saving a copy of a file to OneDrive or another location, selecting a new file name and renaming existing files—all capabilities that PC users are familiar with.

The new Download a Copy option enables users "to save a copy of the file outside of your OneDrive onto computer or any attached storage device like a flash drive," wrote the company's bloggers. For those that prefer portable document format (PDF) files, Download as PDF converts files to the popular document format before offering the same file destinations as Download a Copy.

Users will still want to keep an eye on their OneDrive cloud storage accounts as they edit their Word files. "Remember, Word Online automatically saves your changes in real time to OneDrive," reminded the company.

Saving files to OneDrive has been streamlined in certain scenarios. "If you're accessing a file that you aren't able to edit—such as a file someone shared with 'view only' permissions—you can save your own copy with one click. Simply click Add to OneDrive, which is now on the toolbar, choose a destination in your OneDrive and press Save. You can now edit or share like you would any other file," instructed Microsoft's Office Team.

On Android tablets, Office Online now offers users the option to open their files on the new native Office apps for their devices.

"After installing the new Word, Excel, and PowerPoint apps on your device, you can easily get to these apps from within Office Online," stated Microsoft. "Just open the file in Office Online using Chrome for Android and tap the Open in Word, Open in Excel or Open in PowerPoint button in the top right corner." The files then open on their corresponding Office apps (Word, Excel or PowerPoint).

Microsoft also took the opportunity to improve the user interface (UI) and enhance overall usability.

The Reading View's toolbar has been tweaked to provide one-click access to the Edit, Print, Share and Comments commands. "Also, now you can print faster and easier by enabling direct printing of PDF files from Word Online without having to first download the file," boasted the company.

Mimicking their desktop counterparts, the updated Office Online apps guide users to their most recently edited files upon launch. Also taking a cue from the PC software is rapid access to document templates, including the ever-popular blank template.

Word Online's proofreading tools have received "backend improvements," revealed Microsoft, in addition to a highlighted word count feature. Finally, the company has integrated its Tell Me feature, a natural language command search technology, with the Help icon.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of...