Google and Microsoft have been competing for many years in similar areas, such as web search engines, browsers, and yes, office automation. Formerly the reign of Microsoft Office was indisputable, but with the arrival of the Google, Google Docs gained much ground among those who only needed a simple app to write their documents, this could not be left unanswered by Microsoft. Many people may not be aware that next to the free email account of Outlook, we also have a version of Office Online with its main applications, which we can use to edit files of various formats, just like what happens with the Google Drive and Google Docs account. Also, among other advantages, Office Online has a feature that has no other service: full compatibility with the desktop version of Microsoft Office, which is undoubtedly a significant advantage. It´s also compatible with OneDrive (the Microsoft Dropbox), so it is possible to save our jobs there.
It can be used in any modern device with an Internet connection and has the main functionalities of Office Desktop, so it is indeed not a summary version of Office.
How to access Office Online
The easiest way to enter Office Online is through Outlook.com. After logging into Outlook with your Microsoft account, you will see a button in the upper left corner with nine squares in a 3x3 matrix formation. If you press that button, you will get a panel of options where you can choose to use Word Online, Excel Online, PowerPoint Online, and OneNote Online. When we click on an icon, the corresponding application will open in a new tab, and everything we do can be saved in our PC or OneDrive.
How to upload OneDrive documents in Office Online
To begin, go to OneDrive.com and click Upload. Select the documents you want to share easily or those you want to access from any computer. When you see the document in OneDrive, click on it to start working. The changes save automatically.
Once you start Microsoft Office Online, you can choose between two options: new blank document, or choose one of several available templates.
We usually choose New Blank Document, where we can create our document through the options offered by MS Office Online, such as the following tabs:
- a) File: contains the commands to create a new document, open an existing one, and print the document.
- b) Start: we will find the commands to copy and paste, as well as commands to organize the paragraphs and we can choose letter styles.
- c) Insert: here we can insert tables, page breaks, symbols, images, and comments.
- d) Page layout: here we can adjust the margins of the text.
- e) References: here we can insert or show notes at the bottom of the page.
- f) Review: here we can manage the comments of the sheet.
- g) View: we can alternate between the Edit View and the Reading View.
Word Online saves changes automatically. Among other functions, Word Online offers us:
- a) Share documents online: we could share our documents by sending a link. In addition, we can grant publisher powers to any user and thus work with other users in the same document. Just click on File > Share > Share with other users.
- b) Comment in the browser: the comment balloons show you where in the document the comments were made. You can also answer some comments or cross out others.
- c) Add a header or footer: go to Insert > Header and Footer to add headers and footers in the document.
- d) Print in Word Online: go to File > Print. Word Online creates a PDF file that maintains all design and formatting details. Then you can send the PDF file to the printer, and it will be printed usually.
When opening Excel Online, we will see two options, as in Word: New Blank Book, or choose one of several available templates. The interface is very similar to Excel Desktop. The tabs we have available are the following:
- a) File: contains the commands to create a new book, open an existing one, and print the book.
- b) Start: here are the commands to copy and paste as well as to format the cells and their contents.
- c) Insert: The Function command will show a dialog box with the list of available Excel functions. We can also insert tables and Excel charts.
- d) Data: the Calculate Book command will update the calculation of the formulas in our book.
- e) Review: this tab allows us to manage the comments of the sheet.
- f) View: we can alternate between the Edit View and the Reading View.
As in Word, in Excel, we can share new documents with other people. In the upper right corner, you can click on the Share option, where you can add the emails of the people with whom you are going to share the file and to whom you will give editing powers in it. You can also print documents in Excel Online. Select the cells or chart to print and then go to File > Print. If you want to print the entire sheet, go directly to the Print command. There you can get a preview of the print. If it seems appropriate, click on Print.
As in Word and Excel, when opening PowerPoint Online, we can choose between New Presentation in White and any template that we like.
PowerPoint Online offers several functions and features, such as:
- a) Choose a theme for our slide (Design tab)
- b) Choose a design for the slides (Image tab > Slides > Design)
- c) Add text (Start > Paragraph)
- d) Add an image (Insert > Image)
- e) Add transitions between the slides (Transitions tab)
- f) Add an animation effect to an object (Animations tab)
- g) Share the presentation online (same as in Word and Excel)
- h) Print the slides in a PDF file (File > Print > Print)
In general, Microsoft Office Online is a complete tool for creating and storing documents online, with OneDrive and Dropbox integration. Although it doesn´t have all the features of Office Desktop (which is logical since Microsoft Office Online is free and Office Desktop is not), it is certainly quite functional to create documents of all kinds. Without a doubt, recommended.