Office Web Apps

I’m trying to be the last blog on earth to announce the Office 2010 Beta. Included in 2010 are Office Web Apps.

With Microsoft Office Web Apps, you can access documents from virtually anywhere. Whether you’re editing a document from home or collaborating with someone around the world, Office Web Apps help you work the way you want.

Office Web Apps stink. Probably. I mean I haven’t even seen them much less used them. So how do I know they stink? Because they are version 1 and version 1 of everything Microsoft makes stinks. In fact, version 1 of everything anyone makes stinks. Here’s the natural order of software progression:

V1: Good intentions, but not well implemented
V2: Fix major pain points and now people are starting to get excited about it
V3: Polished and stable and no one can even remember V2.
V4: They’ve bolted on the latest fad and it takes 20 minutes to load

Vista was V1 and it didn’t do so well. Windows 7 is V2 and there’s some pretty positive buzz. The next version of Windows is going to be one of those rock-solid operating systems that people never want to give up and they’ll use forever.

Office 2007 contained a little change that you may have heard about called Ribbon v1. I heard some good stuff about the Ribbon, but not much. The Ribbon will be better in 2010 and then in the next version we’ll be singing its praises. Some of you doubt this, I know, but it will happen.

I’m not trying to dissuade you from adopting V1. V1 is a necessary step in the evolution. You should just set your expectations appropriately.

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18 thoughts on “Office Web Apps

  1. FWIW, I cannot tell the difference in the 2007 and 2010 ribbon except that the pizza button is gone in favor of a File menu of sorts.

  2. @EdH, you mean that you haven’t spotted the Slicer? How did you miss that?

    But SparkLines are nice, but I still don’t get how MS can patent the idea.

    @Dick, I haven’t blogged it yet, and I don’t think I will bother, I don’t want to do the run-of-the-mill.

  3. So are you not using Excel 2007? The graphing, in-cell charting, SUMIFs function are all huge positives. The complete change of keyboard shortcuts, an increased reliance on the mouse, and the loss of real estate to the ribbon are pointless and simply changes, not improvements.

    I’ve used Google spreadsheets and its not good for much other than making lists. I’m interested to see where Excel 2010 goes…

  4. @bob – Oh, I saw the new features. Those don’t have much to do with the ribbon though. I was just commenting on Dick’s comment that the 2010 ribbon will be better than the 2007 ribbon.

    @Idris – sumifs() is, IMHO, alone worth the upgrade to 2007. So much easier and faster than the sumproduct() hacks. Those things are virtually uneditible.

  5. @Idris So far, 2007 supports all the keyboard strokes that selected menu commands I used in XL2003. You can reduce the ribbon with ctrl+F1 to nothing. No real additional dependence on the rodent. Am I missing something?

  6. Dick,

    Office 2010 crashed twice on me in its first day of use.
    The V numbering system may have started over with Office 2010.

    With xl2010 installed – I am getting a gratuitous white border (size of a noodle) on the bottom and right edge of all existing Userforms created in earlier versions of Excel – even in the earlier versions.

    John Walkenbach’s blog tip on creating a classic menubar in the add-ins ribbon tab works very nicely in xl2010. (I modified it somewhat). No searching required. You can even get to the actual list of add-ins with fewer clicks.

  7. EdH – The nice thing about the 2010 ribbon is that you’re not stuck with whatever some genius decided to put on each tab. They’ve built in the capability to customize your ribbon tabs.

  8. Thanks for blogging this, I immediately went and downloaded it.

    My first impression is very positive. Finally I can double-click on chart axes again to change their properties! Excel 2010 seems to be much faster than 2007 (running on a Core 2 Duo T9300 with 4 GB RAM and dedicated graphics).

    Furthermore I get the impression that my addin works faster, too — nice!

    I am a scientist and was very intrigued to see that they did worked on some formulas. Unfortunately, at this point the link in the help file does not work, so I don’t know which formulas they improved and how.

  9. Jon, sweet! hadn’t tried that. I will move Macros somwhre else because being on the View tab is just ridiculious.

  10. @EdH, SUMIFS are nigh-on useless IMO. Firstly, they are not backward compatible, but try comparing the Month of a range against a given month number with SUMIFS? Unfortunately, those SUMPRODUCT hacks as you call will continue to rule the roost.

  11. @bob – yeah, i have to be careful with sumifs() in files sent to 2003 users. Not sure your issue with months. I use month/period comparisons in nearly 100% of my sumifs. It is all financial and sales data.

  12. 13 comments and not one about Office Web Apps. Guess it shows how enthusiastic people are about the product. {grin}

    I won’t be trying out OWA. I invested enormous resources in OWC – Office Web Components (released with Office 2000 and 2002 – or was it 2002 and 2003?) only to have all my investment go to waste.

    Maybe, OWA will be better than OWC but I will wait and see. As of now…

    (1) OWA is an online companion to O2010. Office Web Apps Overview ( states “You must install the Microsoft Office 2010 before using Office Web Apps. Install it today, and then get started using your Office Web Apps.” and

    (2) Microsoft Office Web Apps (Beta) ( states “Office Web Apps enable you to view, do light editing…” (emphasis added)

    OK, so from a professional perspective, if I have to have O2010 on my machine and can do only light editing in OWA, why would I want to use the latter? Real-time collaboration of relatively simple documents? My clients don’t hire me for that! They hire me for high-end work — with a sprinkling of the impossible.

    And,from a personal perspective, Google docs is more than adequate for sharing documents with family and friends. Don’t have to worry about which — if any — version of Office they have on their machine.

    So, where OWA is concerned, yes, it’s possible I will be singing its praises some time in the future, but that time is definitely not now.

  13. Tushar,

    Your post got me interested in finding out a little more about Office Web Apps (OWA).
    (thanks for the two links you posted)

    And… you have to have Windows Server 2008 (decided to skip that one) or follow the nine step procedure here for home use…

    Now if there was someone out there with Office 2010 installed and
    a Windows Live ID that was interested in editing my list of Pet names then
    maybe I would give it a go. [grin]

  14. Hi,
    I blogged “about” OWA just over a year ago(!), wow, Tushar is bang on, in his assessment!
    There are a whole world of issues to consider about web office (woffice), the only one the average user needs to worry about is the performance, which in all the different forms I’ve seen is horrific. V1, V2, V3, V4, yes, agree. But I think the issue with woffice is not only about the app, it about the band with. I think the future might see “work” done on the local client, and the data slaved from the cloud – unless something stellar happen with band with in the nect few years – like a 500% speed increase, and caching or paging or something.

  15. I am unable to download the Office 2010 Beta from the MS site (maybe something to do with my ISP proxy). Is there another way to download it?

  16. “The next version of Windows is going to be one of those rock-solid operating systems that people never want to give up and they’ll use forever.”

    Is that what Win8 was? I believe I just did a spit take.

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