In order to entice more users to use their online version of Office and to make this software easier to find online, Microsoft has renamed their Office Web Apps to Office Online. You can now access the online version of Office for free by going directly to office.com.
Once logged you can start using Word Online, Excel Online, PowerPoint Online and OneNote Online immediately. From the “Collaborate with Office Online” screen, simply click on the application you wish to work in and you’ll see all the same features available in your desktop applications.
The new Office Online capability now includes hundreds of free Word, PowerPoint and Excel templates including budgets, flyers, resumes and calendars just to name a few. These are easily accessible from the Backstage view via the “New” file option.
There are some limitations with the online version. For instance, you cannot close documents once you open them as they are automatically saved to OneDrive (formerly SkyDrive). You can, however, easily delete them from the OneDrive Documents area. As documents are automatically saved on OneDrive, there is no “Save or Save As” option from the Backstage view. From the Save As option, you can easily download your documents to your computer. You can also print your documents directly from Office Online.
The real benefit of Office Online though is that you can share your files with others and work together on documents, presentations, spreadsheets and notebooks in real-time. This is a great feature if you are a person that works with other people on Office documents.