Since we first introduced the Office Web Apps on SkyDrive, you’ve been able to easily access and edit your Office documents right in the browser. But we knew there was more to improve, especially around richer editing and formatting capabilities, consistent co-authoring with others, and better support for touch-based devices.
After working hard on these areas, we launched the Office Web App Preview in July and more than 750,000 of you opted to try out the latest updates. So a huge thank you goes out to all of the participants – the feedback and data that we were able to gather was invaluable to making sure that the latest version of the Web Apps was ready for prime time. And without further ado, we are announcing today that the Office Web App Preview is over, and we’ve rolled out the latest updates to all SkyDrive and Outlook.com users!
A few of the improvements that are now available:
Co-authoring in all the web apps
One of the great advantages of storing your documents in SkyDrive is that it simplifies sharing and the collaborative process, because everyone gets to work on the same version of the document. There’s no need to send email attachments back and forth, or spend time merging comments and edits. The Word, Excel, and OneNote Web Apps have supported the ability to co-author with others for a while, and now we’ve added co-authoring for PowerPoint .
Just as important as features that you can physically see and use are things like how fast something feels. We’re always looking for ways to make viewing and editing your documents in the web apps as snappy as possible, so you spend less time waiting and get things done faster. Compared to the previous version of the web apps, documents now render about 30% faster with the latest updates!
Part of the promise of SkyDrive is that your files are available anywhere you go, and that especially means no matter what kind of device you’re on. The Office Web Apps are now touch-friendly, and support many of the touch gestures, such as pinching, swiping, holding, and dragging. Selecting text is easy and intuitive, and a quick tap on the selected area brings up context options to make editing a snap.
You can read a ton more about all of the improvements over at the Office Next blog.
Once again, a big thank you to the Office Web Apps Preview participants, and we hope you all enjoy the latest updates!
The Office Web App and SkyDrive teams