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How to qualify for Microsoft Office on the web
There are two ways to try out Office Web Applications and only one of them needs Office 2010 on your computer.
Office Web Applications (just one of the OWA acronyms from Microsoft) are the browser based versions of the Microsoft programs, Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Onenote. Currently these are in beta/test with only Excel and Powerpoint available at the time of writing.
If you go to Skydrive.com and login with a Windows Live account you won’t immediately see the Office Web Application options – there are a few more hoops to go through.
Microsoft generally pushes the need to install the Office 2010 beta software on the local computer to get access to the browser based applications – but the reality is more complicated than that.
There are two ways get the trial OWA.
US and Japan users
For people in those two countries, all you have to do is go to this link. Accept the terms and you’ll be able to try out Office Web Applications.
Office 2010 is not required if you take that path.
We’re unsure how the country limitation is enforced – it could be via the country you have in your Windows Live profile or the country detected via your IP address. For most people these will be the same but roaming users might need to keep that in mind.
Everyone, including Americans and Japanese, have another way to get Office Web Applications work in Skydrive.
Install Office 2010 on a computer, from Word 2010, Excel 2010 or Powerpoint 2010 make a new document or open an existing one. The content of the document doesn’t matter.
From the File menu you’ll see the new Backstage system. Look for the Share item on left and then Save to Skydrive.
You might need to login to Skydrive if you have not already.
Save the document in a Skydrive folder.
Then open a web browser (IE , Firefox or Safari, not Chrome) go to Skydrive.com and login using the same account as you used in Office 2010.
Find the document you just saved from Office 2010 and choose ‘View’.
You’ll see a one-time terms and conditions page for Office Web Applications. Click Accept and you’re done.
Either method you use will enable the Office Web Application options in Skydrive on any computer with a compatible browser and for your Windows Live login. Office 2010 is NOT required on each computer.
Keep in mind that these are the current qualification options for Office Web Applications. Microsoft may well change these at any time and in particular when OWA leaves test status and Office 2010 also goes public.
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