Latest sneak peek of Office Web Apps from TechEd AU


At an overwhelmingly popular session during Microsoft TechEd Australia 2009 this week, Reed Shaffner from the Office team provided among other things a brief but satisfying peek at the latest Office Web Apps experience that has yet to be opened up for public beta testing. Here’s a couple photos and notes on what he showed off.


Bear in mind this demo was catered towards IT professionals so the Office Web Apps experience is sitting inside a Sharepoint portal, the actual Office Web Apps user interface should be very similar for the consumer version that sits within Windows Live too.


By default, clicking open a document from the archive opens the document for viewing. In this demo, Silverlight is installed and the enhanced viewer loads almost instantly. From what can be seen from the toolbar, simple functionality like “find” and “zoom” is provided. Conveniently the viewer can also be full-screened using a button on the top-right.

From this viewer, the user is provided two simple choices to edit the document – either to edit it online or download it do the desktop client. Although it was not demoed, one can only hope the “file” menu will include some printing or export functionality directly from the viewer.


Diving into the web editor, the loading experience was again near-instant. Although not much has changed since an update on Office Web Apps at the Microsoft Worldwide Partners Conference a couple months ago, the only visible difference is the addition of the “View” tab in the Word editor. It should also be noted the editor can be full screened too.


Switching between the Web App and the client is a simple click of a button in the Ribbon. The same functionality is present in all of the Office Web Apps.


Here is the Excel viewer with Silverlight too. Of particular note are the worksheet tabs. (I don’t recall if the viewer was bugged or he was able to resize the worksheet.


And the PowerPoint viewer with Silverlight.


The PowerPoint editor features some pretty simple slide manipulation as well as formatting controls.


Last but not least, it’s revealed Visio will be joining the suite of Office apps ported to the online experience. And yes, it’s just as exciting as the desktop client.

The latest word on when Office Web Apps will open to public beta testing is before the end of 2009. Moreover, enterprise customers hosting their own Sharepoint server will receive access to the beta first before peons like us can access it through Windows Live.

18 insightful thoughts

  1. Visio … in the cloud? Wow, that’s the most interesting one I’ve heard yet (other than OneNote 😉 ). Will it be on the Windows Live version, or is this only for the Sharepoint version? And can you add/change transitions to PowerPoint presentations via the web version? I can’t wait to get to try it!

  2. Wow, very impressive. As for Visio, while I’ve piles of .vsd documents on the file server, the future of low fidelity design and prototype development is through Sketchflow. Such a superior product experience.

  3. Simple question. Seriously, does the SharePoint Title banner displaying the file name and user profile tile need to be so thick? That’s the first thing I bugging when I get access to it.

  4. Actually Office Web Apps for SharePoint Server 2010 were available to Connect testers the same day the Office 2010 technical preview was available (150 MB download). You can see if you have access to a Connect account with Office 14 invitation. Google Apps is doomed because besides being less full-featured, they don’t promise maintaining document fidelity like OWA do and Google doesn’t have a host-at-your-premise version like Microsoft has for SharePoint AFAIK.

    Did know about Visio though. Wow! Maybe Access and InfoPath as well in the future? InfoPath would be perfect for a web frontend.

  5. From the screenshot of Visio Web Access it seems like it’s only a viewer though, as I don’t see an “Edit” button on the menu. (I could be wrong though!) But I really hope that even in the “viewer” form it’ll still make it into the Windows Live version though!

  6. This is fantastic. I can’t wait to try it out. I do envy those people who have gotten an invitation. Can the invitations be resend to someone else like …eh, me.

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