SharePoint Office Web Apps


I'm astounded each time I mention Office Web Apps in my classes and presentations and find that many of the SharePoint users still have not used, or even heard of, these FREE SharePoint add ins.


What are the Office Web Apps?

Simply stated, Office Web Apps are Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote running in a web browser. Or a better way to say this is these are Office applications that have been recreated as browser only applications. The user of the these applications do not need to have Office installed.

Office Web Apps are part of Windows Live and can be downloaded and added to any SharePoint 2010 installation. If you have not looked at Office Web Apps for a while, there have been a number of changes with Service Pack 1 including: support for IE 9, OpenDocument format (ODF), printing from Word and PowerPoint, insert charts into Excel, and more. See the links below for more info.


Browser Support:

Not just IE!

  • Windows: Internet Explorer 7 or later versions, Firefox 3.5 or later versions, Chrome
  • Mac: Safari 4 or later versions, Firefox 3.5 or later versions
  • Linux: Firefox 3.5 or later versions, Chrome

Mobile Browser Support:

  • Internet Explorer: Windows Mobile 6 through Windows Mobile 6.5 and Windows Phone
  • Safari 4 & 5: iPhone 3G or 3GS, iPhone 4
  • Other browsers: BlackBerry 5.x and later versions, Nokia S60 3.x and 5.0, and Andriod 1.6, 2.1, and 2.2

Is Silverlight required?

Short answer, no. Having Silverlight will improve the smoothness of PowerPoint presentations, the display of fonts and loading time of pages. Silverlight adds no benefits to Excel and OneNote.


Interesting features:

For a complete list of features download this PDF: Microsoft Office Web Apps Product Guide


  • The Office Web Apps version of Excel is multi-user. As an example use, you could set up a conference call to discuss the budget, ask all of the users to click a URL to the Excel file stored in a SharePoint library and then as a group update the budget. Literally as you change a cell, all of the users see the change.


  • Not only can you view and edit PowerPoint decks, you can switch to full screen mode and deliver your presentation from your laptop. Forget your laptop? You can deliver your presentation from any compatible browser from any PC that can connect to your SharePoint site.
  • Office Web Apps also supports the PowerPoint Broadcast Service to make it easy to deliver PowerPoint presentations around the company or around the internet.



Let's say… "no extra charge". Your users do need to be licensed for Microsoft Office. Here's a quote from a TechNet article: "Business customers licensed for Microsoft Office 2010 through a Volume Licensing program can run Office Web Apps on a server that runs Microsoft SharePoint Foundation 2010 or Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010." Windows Live and Office 365 / SharePoint Online licensing also covers Office Web Apps.


How to experience Office Web Apps in 15 minutes or less!

If you don't already have Office Web Apps installed, the quickest way to learn about them is to create a Microsoft Live SkyDrive account or a Office 365 / SharePoint online account. As you are most likely a SharePoint user if you are reading this blog, then I'd recommend setting up an Office 365 30 day trial. I takes less than five minutes and does not require a credit card or payment commitment.


I'd recommend that you select the E3 trial so you can play with all of the features.



Microsoft Office Web Apps Product Guide

Office (Web Apps) help and how-to

Microsoft Office Web Apps Deployment

Description of Office Web Apps SP1

Planning Broadcast Slide Show (Office Web Apps)

Understanding Broadcast Slide Show (Office Web Apps)

A comparison of Office Web Apps in Windows Live SkyDrive, SharePoint 2010 On Premises and SharePoint Online

Office Web Apps overview (Installed on SharePoint 2010 Products)




Lloyd said...

Has the licensing changed ?
If I remember well, it is not really free: it's free if you have a Microsoft Office 2010 license contract for your company.

Mike Smith said...


As noted above "Your users do need to be licensed for Microsoft Office".


Lloyd said...

Yep, my bad didn't read carefully ! -)

I just get back to the subject today with another licencing question: What about an extranet open to partners only ?
You don't have a volume licence for them, and you can't be sure they have a valid MSOffice2010 licence...

Mike Smith said...


> What about an extranet open to partners only ?

That's a question for Microsoft! ;-)

That said, this may be a very good use for Office 365 / SharePoint Online which has options just for partners.


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