Want the productivity-boosting benefits of Microsoft's Office suite for free? Microsoft's revamped and redesigned suite of Web apps, dubbed Office Online, could be what you're looking for. The mobile, browser-based versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint launched this week featuring a new name and a new interface.
The free mobile Office suite, formerly called "Office Web Apps," isn't new; it was previously accessible through Microsoft's SkyDrive cloud-storage platform – recently rebranded as OneDrive. In addition to uploading files and documents produced in the desktop version of Office, users could access Web version of Office or Excel to create new documents. The re-launched apps are no longer tethered to the cloud-storage platform, so they're much easier to find: just visit Office.com to start using Word Online, Excel Online, PowerPoint Online or OneNote Online immediately.
The Web apps work just like lighter versions of their desktop counterparts. They lack some advanced functionality, but many features, including real-time collaborative editing, remain intact. Users can share documents and see changes and edits as they happen, regardless of whether their co-authors are using Office Online or the desktop version of Microsoft Office. And because the apps are Web-based, your documents will remain accessible from anywhere, on any Internet-connected device.
It's also easier to switch between apps in the new Office Online. If you're working in World Online and need to view or create a spreadsheet, simply select Excel Online from the dropdown menu at the top of the page. The second app will open in a new tab so you can switch back and forth between the two on the fly.