Office on the Web - the naming

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We all know Microsoft Office is coming to the browser – but what is it called?

An important part of Office 2010 will be a complementary release of some Office features accessible your web browser.

Various names have been floating around but we’ve been assured the official name is:

Office Web applications

as in

  • Word web application
  • Excel web application
  • PowerPoint web application
  • OneNote web application

Sometimes Microsoft staff will refer to companion applications.

Sadly the naming isn’t all that consistent. In demos of this feature to date the title bars show:

  • Word Web Access
  • Excel Web Access
  • Powerpoint Web Access
  • Onenote Web Access

And there’s an interesting Access 2010 feature to publish a database to a web site which will presumably called Access Web Access .

Office Watch has asked Microsoft to explain the differing names but we’ve had no reply.

Same, same – but different

These web versions of the familiar Office programs will NOT have all the features of the Office software that you install on your computer.

It will have a familiar, meaning ribbon, interface similar to Office 2007 and Office 2010 but some of the more sophisticated features won’t be available.

There will be some collaboration options available in the web applications that are not offered in the Office software. For example, OneNote web application will support collaborative editing of notebooks online.

Exact features are yet to be announced, but the Microsoft staff we’ve spoken to are worried that people will have unrealistic expectations of Office web applications providing everything you get from Office software.

There are two main reasons for the differing features. In some cases it would be difficult if not impossible to make available via a browser. Of course Microsoft has a commercial interest as well, they don’t want people to stop buying Office software because too many of the same features are available via their web versions.

and Document Fidelity

Microsoft is promising document preservation between Office software and the web applications. That means the web application should not erase part of a document just because that component isn’t supported by the web application.

And there’s more

Added to the mix will be server based applications, similar to the Excel services already available which provide calculation ‘grunt’ for large worksheets.


All this is coming in 2010 with more public betas coming out later this year. Office Web Applications are being tested ‘in-house’ at Microsoft as well as some student bodies.

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