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Office Web Apps

Office Web Apps for All

If you were using Office 2010 or later prior to working with Office 365, you might know that Web Apps have been available for both personal and business users of Office for some time. For personal use, you can work with Office Web Apps when you use files in your Microsoft OneDrive account. (Microsoft OneDrive is a free utility available as part of Microsoft Live services that enables you to store and share files in a central location online – you get 15GB of free storage to start with.) If your company uses Office 2010 Professional Plus or later, which includes SharePoint Workspace, you can use Office Web Apps through your SharePoint access. In Office 365, Microsoft brought together the best of both worlds, giving businesses from small to enterprise-level, as well as individual team members, access to the familiar Office applications they use every day to finish business-critical tasks.

Although the programs are robust enough to help you create, edit, and share simple files, they do not include many of the specific tools that are available to you in the Office programs you run on your computer. You can regard them as Office Lite, if you like. For example, high-end protection features, such as Information Rights Management (IRM), are not available in Office Web Apps. For  increased security, Microsoft recommends you use the full version of the software
available on your desktop or laptop computer. Additionally, although you can view tracked changes in a document that has been posted to a SharePoint document library and opened in Word Web App, the web program doesn’t include any functionality that will enable you to work with the tracked changes. To work with tracked changes, you need to use your desktop version of the software.

Here are some other differences you should be aware of:

  • Format Painter isn’t available in Office Web Apps.
  • You can’t add symbols or shapes or use the equation or date and time feature in Office Web Apps.
  • Word Web App doesn’t allow you to edit objects such as SmartArt.
  • Translation features and the thesaurus are also not available.
  • The Spelling Checker is available only in Word, PowerPoint, and OneNote.
  • Macros are not enabled in any of the Office Web Apps.
  • You can’t use inking or embed media files in a notebook in OneNote Web App.

So although there are differences, the ability to create, edit and share documents when you are away from your desk is very convenient.