Office for iOS and Online get document collaboration beyond Microsoft

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Microsoft Office now has significant and welcome expansion of the links to non-Microsoft cloud storage.  In particular, it’s now possible to do real-time document collaboration with files shared on BoxDropbox, Egnyte and Citrix ShareFile.

Until now, you could save documents to some ‘outside’ cloud storage but not open the same file at the same time for editing. As we explained last year, Starting With Document Collaboration isn’t just for companies.  Clubs, families and individuals can all benefit from this feature.

Now you can save your Office documents (Word, Excel or PowerPoint) to the other cloud storage providers and get the same features as OneDrive or Sharepoint.

This expansion is currently limited to Office Online and Office for iOS.

Office for iOS

Until now, Office for iOS could only open documents from OneDrive, SharePoint and, more recently, Dropbox and the device itself.

Now that’s been expanded to include Box.  Other cloud providers, Citrix ShareFile, Edmodo and Egnyte will be able to join that list in the future.

As we’ve mentioned before, Office for iOS has a ‘two tier’ approach to document access.  There are the ‘Places’ that are prominently available.

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There are also ‘Locations’ buried at File | More … | Locations | More  that shows other cloud storage apps installed on the device.

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You can open and edit documents from these locations, as long as the document is already synced to the device.

(Nice to see our favorite ‘cloud’ storage service BT Sync appearing in Office for iOS.)

 

This announcement is the major fruition of another Microsoft acronym CSPP or Cloud Storage Partner Program.

Of course, Google Drive isn’t included in this arrangement.  One of Microsoft’s real reasons for the expansion to other cloud services is to further entrench Office as the premier software/service and ‘shut out’ rivals like Google.

Outlook.com will soon let you link or attach files from Dropbox or Box to your emails.

Unanswered Questions

The announcement left many obvious questions hanging …

  • Will these features be extended to Office for Android, Office for Windows 10, Office for Windows, Office for Mac?
  • Also no mention of OneNote … just Word, Excel and PowerPoint.
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