Office Web Apps Environments and Benefits - dummies

Office Web Apps Environments and Benefits

By Ken Withee, Jennifer Reed

For the end users, Office Web Apps, part of the Office 365 suite of products, mean anytime, anywhere access to their documents where there is an Internet connection — even on a mobile device! You don’t need Office 2010 installed to create, view, and edit documents because Office Web Apps is browser based.

Office Web Apps are available in three environments:

  • Windows Live SkyDrive, a free online storage service accessible through the Internet. The service is geared for personal use with 25GB of storage. There is a file size limit of 50MB for Word, PowerPoint, and OneNote files. For Excel files, the limit is 2MB. As is common practice with online providers, there is advertising for this environment; that is, the service is free, but it is not ad free.

  • On-premises, where customers with Microsoft Office 2010 licenses run Office Web Apps, on their own servers, as a tightly integrated service with SharePoint 2010 products. Pricing, storage, and file size limitations are configurable in this environment.

  • Office 365 as part of the license included in SharePoint Online. This section focuses on this environment.

The nice thing about using the Office 365 subscription plan to access Office Web Apps is that you can scale up or down depending on your business needs without investing a lot of capital upfront. You can assign a plan with basic features, including Office Web Apps with a lower monthly fee for kiosk workers, and simultaneously assign a full pledge plan (with higher fees) for other workers.

Working on your documents in Office Web Apps is almost the same as working on them in the Office 2010 application. The high-fidelity rendering ensures consistent formatting so you will see your content as intended. Images, charts, table of content, even cross-references in documents created in the desktop application are retained when you open and make light edits to them in Office Web Apps.

Office Web Apps broke the platform barriers by enabling users on a PC or a Mac with a supported browser to have the same experience when creating, viewing, and editing documents. This means better collaboration, increased efficiency, and reduced cost, especially for small businesses.