Introduction to Office Online

Office Online programs extend your Microsoft Office experience to the web browser, where you can work with documents right there on the website where the document is stored. Office Online programs are available for personal use in OneDrive, for organizations that have installed and configured Office Online programs on their SharePoint site, and for professionals and businesses that subscribe to select Office 365 services.

Office Online programs work in some of the most widely used browsers, and are officially supported in Windows Internet Explorer 7 and later, Chrome, Safari 4 and later for the Mac, and Firefox 3.5 and later for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Integrate seamlessly with Office

You use Microsoft Office to create documents that present information, collect thoughts, and help you and your colleagues make decisions. You store these documents on your computer, on a removable storage device, on a server. Office Online programs provides a new way to store your documents so that they can be viewed and even edited in the browser. By using Office Online programs, a website becomes a new storage device for your Office documents: a storage device that makes your documents easy to access and easy to share.

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In Microsoft Office 2010 programs (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote), you can start using Office Online programs by saving your document to your OneDrive or your SharePoint library.

Word 2010 Backstage view

Now, your document is available to view and edit in the browser, or re-open in Office.

 Note    Documents don’t need to be created in Office 2010 to be opened in Office Online programs. For best compatibility, use Office 2003 or later, or use Office for Mac 2008 version 12.2.9 or Office for Mac 2011. If you’re using Office 2003, install the most recent service pack and save documents on your computer in the Office Open XML file format (for example, .docx, .xlsx, or pptx files). Then upload the document to a SharePoint site where Office Online programs are configured, or upload the document to OneDrive.

Browse documents

With Office Online programs, your documents are like web pages because they are stored on a website and displayed in the browser. To view the document, you click it. To share it with other people, you send a link.

Word Online

Excel Online

It doesn’t matter whether your version of Office matches what your friends or colleagues have. There’s no need to download a viewer. Your documents look the same in the browser as they do in the Office programs.

Edit on the fly

Beyond viewing documents, Office Online programs enable you to edit a document’s content in the browser.

Excel Online

Browser-based editing is optimized for situations when you want to rewrite some text, enter some data, add a slide, or jot down notes. If you’re already viewing the document, you click Edit in Browser in the Office Online programs, make your changes, and you’re done. In most cases your updates are saved automatically (in Word Online, click Save).

Co-author in real time in Word Online, Excel Online and OneNote Online

In Word Online (OneDrive only), Excel Online and OneNote Online you can work with others on the same document at the same time.

Putting a document together or collecting information is often a group activity. For example, use Word Online for a school project. Use Excel Online to collect information in a structured way, or be free-form with OneNote Online. The file is stored in a central location where everyone who needs to can access it. There’s no waiting for one person to finish with the file before the next person can get in. There’s no e-mailing multiple copies that later need to be reconciled.

There’s no special command for real-time collaboration. You simply edit the file in the Office Online programs while you colleagues are doing so.

Transition to Office, seamlessly

Sometimes you want to make substantive changes that require the feature-rich Office desktop applications. In these situations, you can seamlessly transition to the corresponding Office desktop application directly from the Office Online programs. If you have a document open in an Office Online program, click the Open command to open the file directly from the browser into the Office program that is installed on your computer. When you are finished, click Save in the Office program, and the file is saved back on the server (in the OneNote desktop application your changes are saved to the server automatically).

 Note    Opening documents directly from the browser into an Office desktop application is supported in Firefox, Internet Explorer (Windows), and Safari (Mac) browsers. In Windows, you must also be using Office 2003 or later with Internet Explorer, or Office 2010 with Firefox to use this feature. OneNote Online requires OneNote 2010 to use this feature. On the Mac, this feature requires Microsoft Office for Mac 2008 version 12.2.9 or Office for Mac 2011, and the OneNote desktop application is not available.

Applies to:
Excel Web App, OneNote Web App, PowerPoint Web App, SharePoint Online for enterprises, SharePoint Online for professionals and small businesses , Word Web App