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Office Web Apps: Free Office packages from Microsoft – that’s how it works

An Office suite is a must for almost all computer users. Word processing, spreadsheets and presentation are three standard tasks, and so far most people have chosen Microsoft programs Word, Excel and Powerpoint.

But a few years ago, a solution came along that totally challenged Microsoft Office. Google then launched its cloud service Google Documents. Instead of installing separate programs on the computer, Google Docs is run through the browser, and the documents are also stored on Google’s large server computers. This means that it is possible to work on any computer anywhere in the world. The only thing required is an internet connection.

Google Docs is also free, while Microsoft Office costs around a thousand Swedish kroner.

Now comes Microsoft’s answer to Google Docs: Office Web Apps. The service has existed in a test version for some time, but has now been launched in a sharp and Swedish-language service.

Connected to the program
Office Web Apps is structured in the same way as Google Docs. You log in via any browser and then access both the program and your saved documents.

Google Docs is more stripped down, while Office Web Apps looks like we’re used to from the Office suite. Microsoft also promises better compatibility, meaning that it should be easy to open documents created in the web version in its regular Office program.

The real software package contains significantly more features than Office Web Apps, and Microsoft’s idea is for us to run both the web and software versions. For example, you can use the Office suite on your home computer but access the documents via the browser when you are travelling. However, there is nothing to prevent the user from completely skipping the Office package – and thus saving both money and space on the hard drive.

In the image next to it, we show what the word processing part looks like, but the layout of the web version of Excel, Powerpoint and Onenote is very similar.


1. File management. Click here to save, open, close and share documents.

2. Pictures. Via this tab you can insert images, illustrations and tables.

3. Display. Choose how you want to view your document.

4. Account. Log in and out of your account – and get help when things go wrong.

5. Cut and paste. Use the cut and paste function, just like in regular Office.

6. Fonts. You can change the font, size and color – and of course you can also use bold and italic style.

7. Piece. Decide whether the text should be centered, left or right aligned. You can also create bulleted lists.

8. Templates. It is possible to create ready-made templates so that you do not have to choose a font every time. It saves time and it makes it much easier for you to be consistent in different types of documents.

9. Spelling. Office Web Apps has a built-in Swedish spell checker. Take advantage of it! Correct language is of great importance when, for example, job applications and the like

10. Word. If you want to open the document in your regular Word program, click here. In the “real” Word there are significantly more features and functions you can use.

11. Text. You see the text you are working with in the large window. A marker shows where you are. As you can see, Word Web App is very similar to your regular Word program.


1. How do I register?
Enter into office.live.com. If you already have a Hotmail address or something else Windows Live ID you can log in directly. Otherwise, click on Register to create a new one. Fill in the requested information to create your account. As soon as this is done, Office Web Apps will open automatically. If you have the latest version of Microsoft Office on your computer, you can also connect them. You do that by clicking on Getting Started.

Login. To use Office Web Apps, a username and password are required.

2. How do I log in?
To log in to Office Web Apps, go to office.live.com. Here you can fill in your username and password. If you don’t want to do it in the future, tick it Remember me and Remember my password. However, you should not do this in Internet cafes or other shared computers.

3. How do I use the service?
Via the start page for Office Web Apps, you control the service. On the far right you will find four icons, and by clicking on them you will create a new document in Word (word processing), Excel (spreadsheet), PowerPoint (presentation) or Onenote (notes).

The first thing you have to do when you create a new document is to name it. Once you’ve done that, a window will open that resembles a regular Office program. A warning box may appear. If so, choose Show blocked content.

When you next open a document, you will be taken to a viewing mode. To edit it directly in the browser, click onEdit in the browser.

Main menu. Here you find old documents – and create new ones.

4. How do I share?
One of the points of having your documents on the web is that it is easy to share them with others. So there can be more of you working with the same text, spreadsheet or presentation.

To share your documents with others, open it and select File, Share. Here you can invite others – or choose which group of people will have access to it.

Generous. With Office online, it becomes easy to share documents with others.

5. How do I use Office?
If you’ve created a document in Office Web Apps, it’s easy to open it in your regular Office program. You do this by opening the document and selecting the button Open in Word (or Excel, Powerpoint or Onenote). If you have the latest version of the Office package, the document will now be opened in the program, and you will then get all the functions. When you save it, it’s stored online, and you can open it on any computer.

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