May 12, 2011

Office We Apps : Easy as long as you have an internet access

Wouldn't you want to access documents anywhere you go? If you are tech-savvy, you may have been doing it since the Office Web Apps were launched middle of last year. However, it is only available officially in Malaysia on 3rd February 2011. Yesterday, 11.5.2011 to be exact, the official launch was done in Kuala Lumpur by Microsoft. To see what it is all about, you can go to this Microsoft link.

At the launch, we were given a preview (or more of a briefing) by Mark Ma, Head of Online of Microsoft Asia Pacific, of what we can do with Office Web Apps, if we haven't done it yet. We can actually use all the familiar Microsoft Office like Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote application by accessing them through the web browser. There are limitation to what you can do but most of the features are there. 

In term of saving your work when you use these applications on the web, we were told, as Office Web Apps gives users the highest fidelity with files created and viewed in Microsoft Office, no matter which Office version the user uses, the file's formatting is preserved from the desktop to the Web App and back again. As part of Microsoft Windows Live service, Web Apps is also integrated with Hotmail and Windows Live SkyDrive which give users 25GB of free online storage. I wonder how the buying of Skype by Microsoft will be integrated into the dynamic of this Web Apps.

You can share documents with password-protected folders and give different permissions to different people. Those who open up a document sent by a user can open the link without opening up their Office applications on their PC. Co-authoring is also allowed so that multiple users can access and edit the work.

At the event, we heard how Mariana Hashim, a writer-producer and founder of Mariana Hashim Production, a mother of  five tell us how she uses Windows Web Apps to write, share her writings and ideas with colleagues or other collaborators, check her children homeworks while checking on her other works. There was also Shayanee Indra, the Managing Director of WS Securities, who uses Microsoft Office Excel as a time-sheet to check on her security guards among others.

As for me, as a lawyer, I can use this to check on works at the office when I am traveling, discuss new ideas with my colleagues and send my offices the work I have done while I am on the move. As I can access the documents on smartphones and tablets, I can also send instruction to edit something on a documents too.

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