Comparison of Office Word Web App and Word - dummies

Comparison of Office Word Web App and Word

By Ken Withee, Jennifer Reed

With the release of Office 365, a new version of Word is available that runs as a web application in your web browser. This development may not sound very spectacular, but it has some nifty benefits.

Unless you have been living under a rock, you have probably used or heard of a program called Microsoft Office Word. Word is an aptly named word processing application. Word is a thick client, meaning that you run it from your local computer.

You click Start and then All Programs and you browse to your office applications and you click Word to fire up the program. Word then runs on your computer.

A web-based application, on the other hand, runs on a computer in a data center, and you access it over the Internet. If you use Hotmail for e-mail or browse a web page, then you are using a web application. You access a web application by using a web browswer, which is a program installed on your computer.

Although the Word Web App is still Microsoft Word, there are some differences between the two. The biggest difference is that Word runs on your local computer, and Word Web App runs in the cloud and is accessed by using your web browser.

When you fire up Word on your local computer and create a document, that document stays on your computer. When you click the Save button and save the document, you are prompted for the directory on your local computer in which to save the file.

You may save the file to your My Documents folder or to your Desktop. In any case, your creation is a physical file located on your local computer. When working with the Word Web App, however, you do not have a local physical file.

When you create a document and save it, your document lives out in the cloud. In the case of Office 365, your document lives within a SharePoint Online document library.

You don’t have to be a subscriber to Office 365 to work with Word Web App. It is free with a Windows Live account.