Using Microsoft Office Web Apps to share, collaborate and show off

We’re all inclined to over share now and then. Did I really need to see that nineteenth picture of your cat, hear all of your cold symptoms, or endure you belting out Diana Ross songs at that karaoke bar?

We understand that sometimes there’s oversharing. But a lot of what you do every day depends on being able to get other people’s input or show off a finished product.

With the Office Web Apps, you have more choices for sharing Office documents without having to learn a new tool. When you just need to send a document one way, an email attachment works okay, but it breaks down when you’re collaborating with people and the attachments start flying back and forth, or when the person you’re sharing with doesn’t have the same version of Office. Web Apps are a great solution for those situations.

Work with others on a document

With the Web Apps you can control who can see and edit documents and you can email links to documents instead of attaching the actual file – that saves on email storage and prevents multiple versions of the same document from getting out there. Your teammates just click a link and the file opens in the Web App. They can make quick edits (if you’ve allowed it) in the browser or open the file in Office on their PC or Mac to make more advanced changes.

There’s also a feature called co-authoring in the Excel and OneNote Web Apps, which allows you to work on your document in the Web App at the same time as others do, which simplifies editing a group report, entering data into a team spreadsheet, etc.

Showcase your work

Do you know someone who uses a different version of Office than you? Showing off your work to them can be tricky, unless you’re there in person – what if formatting gets messed up? PDF works for Word files, but what about that PowerPoint presentation you worked so hard on? With the Web Apps, you just send them a link to the document and they can view it in their browser without having to open Office on their PC-and you can be confident the document will look the way you want.

Put Office on your site

You might also share information, opinion, or experiences with others through a blog or website. Office Web Apps can help you there, too, by allowing you to embed PowerPoint and Excel files directly on your site. This can be a great solution – especially if you’d like to share a table of data, or family photos.

Simply store the document you want to share in SkyDrive, then get the embed code and copy it onto your site. Viewers can see the document directly on the page, or open it in the full-screen Web App “view” mode and download it. Find more information about embedding a presentation or embedding a spreadsheet.

Matthew Stibbe is writer-in-chief at Articulate Marketing. He is also an avid blogger, closet geek and HP fanatic.