Office Online Goes Live

Office Online Goes Live

Office Web Apps no more

SkyDrive isn't the only Microsoft service getting rebranded this week: Today, Microsoft took the wraps off Office Online, its new name for the Office Web Apps and, as it turns out, for the web site as well.

"An online version of the Office you know and trust has been available for quite a while, but with today's updates, we've made your Office Online experience easier to find, share and collaborate with others," Microsoft's Amanda Lefebvre writes in a new post to the Office Blog. "Many of the one billion Office users haven’t tried it yet and we want to change that."

Here's what's changed. First, the web site has been rebranded as Office Online, making it the obvious and discoverable way to find Office online ... or, in this case, literally Office Online. Previously, users had to sign in to SkyDrive (now OneDrive) or SharePoint Online in Office 365 and then access the web-based Office apps from there. Now,—Office Online—is the new one-stop hub for all Office users.

Office Web Apps. Second, the Office Web Apps have also been rebranded to Office Online. I've never had an issue with the name—after all, the notion of web app is pretty standard—but this apparently confused some users. ("Do I need to install them?") So Office Online it is. And the various web apps now have Online in their names, so they're Word Online, Excel Online, PowerPoint Online and OneNote Online. (Kind of makes you wonder why isn't Outlook Online.)

App switcher. The common navigation bar you see in and SkyDrive/OneDrive—which is apparently called the app switcher—now includes separate tiles for each Office Online web app, making them easier to find and get to.

New features. Microsoft says the new online experience includes hundreds of Word, PowerPoint and Excel templates for budgets, resumes, calendars and more, all available online, for free at

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