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Office Online has received some pretty interesting updates in the past few months, but they’ve been overshadowed by the release of its bigger brother, Office 2016 Upgrade to Office 2016 for Free Today with Your Office 365 Subscription Upgrade to Office 2016 for Free Today with Your Office 365 Subscription Microsoft Office 2016 for Windows has landed and it brings many smart new features. If you have an Office 365 subscription, you can get it now for free and we show you how below. Read More . The Office web version Which Office Suite Is Best for You? Which Office Suite Is Best for You? You'll be pressed to find an occupation that doesn't require word or number processing of some sort. And you may wonder, is Microsoft Office really the best solution? Here are your options. Read More of the ever-present productivity suite includes copies of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, and Sway, as well as Skype integration and tools new to Office 2016 A Microsoft Office 2016 Preview: Smart & Subtle Changes A Microsoft Office 2016 Preview: Smart & Subtle Changes Office 2016 for Mac was just released and the Windows version will follow in the fall. We show you the new look and features of the world's most popular productivity suite. Will you upgrade? Read More , such as Smart Lookup.

Microsoft recently delivered another update to the lightweight-but-powerful service, giving you more scope for working on the go.

What’s New in Office Online?

Over the past year Microsoft has delivered a number of useful updates to the Office Online web service This Is How You Can Get Microsoft Word for Free This Is How You Can Get Microsoft Word for Free Do you really want the entire Microsoft Office suite? If all you need is Word without the fancy features, Microsoft will give it to you for free. Here is how. Read More . This includes the introduction of tools designed to extend the functionality of Office Online, making it a serious competitor Don't Pay For Word! 5 Reasons You Should Use Office Online Don't Pay For Word! 5 Reasons You Should Use Office Online Office Online is the free and cloud-connected version of Microsoft Office. Limitations are compensated by features, useful even to users of desktop Office. Best of all is its Read More in the online document editing world.

Office Online Apps

With so many free online editing platforms in the marketplace, Microsoft realized that one of its finest opportunities to stay ahead, is to keep the new features coming, and push the integration with other core Microsoft services.

Integrated Skype

In keeping with using Office tools to increase productivity 5 Microsoft Office Plugins & Apps to Boost Your Productivity 5 Microsoft Office Plugins & Apps to Boost Your Productivity Microsoft Office supports plugins and they can make your life better. We have compiled a selection of helpful productivity apps, mainly for Microsoft Word. They are easy to install in Office 2010 and up. Read More , Microsoft announced Skype integration would be coming to Office Online, way back in February 2015. The feature is designed to extend team collaboration opportunities without having to leave the Office Online environment. Work, chat…profit? Here is what they said at the time:

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“Skype for Office Online makes collaborating a breeze. The chat experience is available right next to the document, enabling you to chat in and edit in real-time with other authors. Speed up and simplify document editing with quick Skype group chats instead of long e-mail threads. Keep track of which co-authors are online as well as messages you might have missed.”

Integrated Skype for Office Online followed an earlier announcement for Skype integration with Outlook, similarly tapping into the desire to boost and ease our communication 10 Tips To Make You a More Efficient Skype User 10 Tips To Make You a More Efficient Skype User Skype can do more than you think. With this article, you'll learn all about its best hidden and advanced features. It's the Skype productivity manual. Read More by cross-linking products where possible Microsoft Is Nurturing Cross-Platform Productivity Tools Microsoft Is Nurturing Cross-Platform Productivity Tools Microsoft's collection of productivity apps is ever growing. We have compiled an overview of the apps that keep you working smoothly. We also explore how new additions will enhance the current suite. Read More .

Once you’ve signed into Office Online and opened your document, click the Share button in the top right. Send a link to whoever you wish to invite to the document. When they accept your invite, their name will appear in the top-right corner of the document. If they have signed into/linked their Skype account to their Office account, you’ll be able to live chat in the document.

Office Online Skype

File Management and OneDrive

Office Online saw improvements to its file management system 9 Must Have Modern Apps For Viewing, Editing & Managing Documents 9 Must Have Modern Apps For Viewing, Editing & Managing Documents On a tablet or hybrid device, touch first modern apps can be great! Even those for handling documents. Let's look at some of them. Read More . You can now navigate and locate your documents quicker, whether using local or OneDrive storage, and make instant copies of view-only files for editing, using a new OneDrive toolbar command.

OneDrive Office Online Options

Microsoft also added more save options to Office Online. You can save to your OneDrive How to Substitute OneDrive Smart Files in Windows 10 How to Substitute OneDrive Smart Files in Windows 10 Microsoft broke OneDrive on Windows 10 for power users. The removal of placeholders, also known as smart files, has disappointed many users who upgraded from Windows 8.1. We have compiled several workarounds. Read More , rename OneDrive documents, download copies, and download the document as a PDF.

Word Online Save Options

Editing PDFs

Together with downloading as a PDF, Microsoft also introduced PDF editing for Office Online. The editor, while basic, is still useful and runs within the Office Online environment, meaning no third-party downloads 6 Light Alternatives to Open Office & PDF Files 6 Light Alternatives to Open Office & PDF Files Don't clog your system down with superfluous bulk. For the occasional viewing of PDF and Office files, you can use compact apps and you might not need any additional software at all. Read More or unnecessary installation of software onto your system. This can be handy for editing surveys or forms while on the go, or caught out of office.

Office Online Save as PDF

Dropbox Integration

As part of the ongoing Microsoft/Dropbox working partnership, Office Online received support for Dropbox 5 Tools For The Dropbox Power User 5 Tools For The Dropbox Power User The popularity of Dropbox makes it difficult to start using any other kind of cloud storage. Here are 5 add-on tools for you if Dropbox is an essential part of your web workflow. Read More  earlier this year, giving Office Online users the chance to link their accounts, browse, save, upload, and edit documents from their accounts. More useful service cross-linking from Microsoft, and a nod to the “Cloud First, Mobile First” ethos.

Office Online Open from Dropbox

Open Office Online, head to Open > Add a Place, choose Open from Dropbox, or just Dropbox. Dropbox should now be an option. Just add your login details, and off you go.

Anything Else?

Office Online has also seen improvements to its proofreading tools, as well as some additions to the Reading View mode 10 Hidden Microsoft Word Features That Will Make Your Life Easier 10 Hidden Microsoft Word Features That Will Make Your Life Easier Microsoft Word is deceptively simple. You are fine as long as you fire up a document and just type. But Microsoft Word wouldn't be the Swiss knife it is without its productive features. Read More . Reading View mode now has its own toolbar for commands such as Edit, Print, Share and Comment, Translate, and Download.

Office Online edit in word

Office Online was also one of the first places Microsoft trialed the Smart Lookup feature, and joining it is the Tell Me search box, of the same type as Office 2016.

Finally, Office Online makes use of the Bing machine learning tool we have seen slowly moving across the entire Microsoft spectrum. That means when you’re writing a paper about Viennese Conductors and decide you want some insights on the word Viennese, your search will only return information relating to your paper – not Viennese Rolls, or Sandwiches, or the like. More context, more accuracy, more learning.

Finally, Microsoft has expanded the Office Online formatting functions. You can now copy and paste entire format sections with the Format Painter toolbar (available to Word and PowerPoint), and they’ve also included some new formatting functions for PowerPoint Tables.

Pro Tip: Use Ctrl+Shift+S to bring up an additional styles menu.

Office Online Styles and Formating

Office Online Chrome Extensions

Wanting to spread the functionality and reach of Office Online to everyone, Microsoft created a handful of Office extensions 5 Desktop Apps You Can Ditch If You Have Google Chrome 5 Desktop Apps You Can Ditch If You Have Google Chrome Chromebook user or not, with Google Chrome you can turn any desktop, laptop, or tablet into a powerful machine for work and play. Read More for Chrome: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, and OneDrive all receive their respective apps, available in the Chrome Web Store. These have been unified into a single Office Online extension, available here.

Office Online Chrome Extension

However, I would argue that for the most part these extensions don’t add too much functionality when you can simply type Office Online into your omnibox. Depending on your search history you’ll either head straight to the requisite site, or Google will come to your rescue. That said, I will concede the addition of the Office Online extension button isn’t bad, and the service is quick to open a new document.

The choice of installation rests entirely with you, reader.

Office Online vs. The Rest

Google Docs was way, way out in front for a very long time. It was the only realistic free online productivity suite market option for both professionals and casuals, and it was clear to see why. Free, fast, integrated, collaborative, and pretty-feature-full, Google Docs had it all. It also had one important thing: time. It was ahead of Office Online in almost every sense of the word.

Office Online has clawed back Google Docs vs. Microsoft Word: The Death Match for Research Writing Google Docs vs. Microsoft Word: The Death Match for Research Writing Online solutions are becoming the norm. We decided to see how Microsoft Word stacks up against Google Docs. Which one will do the better research paper? Read More , though. Not content to sit in the blue, red, yellow, and green shadow of Google Docs, Microsoft has consistently updated their web-service over the past year. The result is an altogether slicker, equally integrated experience that can match its sustained rivalry, and with the prospect of more features, more updates, and more toolbars 8 Things You Can Do in Office That You Never Thought Of 8 Things You Can Do in Office That You Never Thought Of Microsoft Office turns the Pareto Principle on its head: 80% of its users only use 20% of the features. Time to rediscover Microsoft Office features you never considered. We have compiled eight insanely useful productivity... Read More to come, could even succeed it at the top of the pile.

Do you use Office Online, or are you forever Google? Do you use something altogether different? What features would you like to see introduced to Office Online?

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