Throughout the development of the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, we have seen some extensions coming to Microsoft Edge, and now as we get closer to the final release of the next major update of Windows 10, Microsoft is officially adding Office Online to the list of extension for the browser.
Microsoft is officially releasing the new extension alongside Windows 10 build 14366 for PC, and it's a requirement that you're running this or a later pre-release version of the operating system.
Office Online is a simple extension that plugs into Microsoft Edge to provides users the ability to quickly create and edit Word, Excel PowerPoint, OneNote, and Sway documents on the web without the need of having to install the apps locally on your computer.
Closer look at the Office Online extension for Edge
The Office Online extension is available through the Windows Store, but if it doesn't appear in the search result, you can launch the install from the Microsoft Edge developer website (opens in new tab).
Once the installation completes, on Microsoft Edge, you'll be prompted to turn on the newly installed extension.
Although it would have been more convenient to have the extension button automatically show next to the address bar, it's not the case here — at least for now. If you want to have a quicker access to the button, you need to open More (...) > Extensions > Office Online and turn on the "Show button next to the address bar" option.
Note that you can also disable or uninstall the extension from the settings page too.
Clicking the Office Online button, you'll be prompted whether you want to save your files on OneDrive or OneDrive for Business.
Once you entered your Microsoft Account credentials, similar to other apps, you'll be asked to allow access to your personal information. Click Yes to start using the extension.
When you open Office Online, you'll see the last seven recent Office documents. You can click the view more link, but it will just take you to the OneDrive web page.
At the top, there are four buttons, including New, Open, Account, and Settings.
The New button will list all the documents you create, such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, and Sway.
The Open button offers a quick access to your file stored in OneDrive, or you can click the Browse button to upload and edit a document on the web.
The Account button allows you to sign out of your account, letting you sign back in with another account -- if this is your case.
The Settings button doesn't offer any unique options other than a button to send feedback and to send usage data automatically to Microsoft to improve the extension.
Keep in mind that it's called "Office Online" for a reason, the extension doesn't offer any offline capability. Meaning that if you're on the go, and you lose network connectivity, you won't be able to keep working on a document.
For a real offline experience, you'll better off using the Office Mobile apps, or to truly unlock all the power that Office has to offer, you can always install the apps locally on your PC using an Office 365 subscription.
Overall the extension is very simple and it works as advertised, but currently it doesn't add anything significant beyond what you can already do by simply signing in to the web version of OneDrive. However, if you don't have access to the desktop suite of Office apps, you may find convenient to reduce the number of clicks to create and edit documents on the web.
If you don't have an Office 365 subscription, remember that you can participate in our sweepstakes to win a free year of Office 365 Home subscription!
What features do you like to see on the Office Online extension? Tell us in the comments below.
Mauro Huculak is technical writer for WindowsCentral.com. His primary focus is to write comprehensive how-tos to help users get the most out of Windows 10 and its many related technologies. He has an IT background with professional certifications from Microsoft, Cisco, and CompTIA, and he's a recognized member of the Microsoft MVP community.
This is great. A right step. I have been using edge extensively and loving it.
Do you need a subscription for office to use this?
You don't need a subscription to use the extension. Just connect your Microsoft account and you'll be able to access your free OneDrive account and Office Online apps. Thanks,
So this is basically like Office mobile, but more than 'read only'?
Can anyone confirm whether or not the "browse" button allows for selecting office documents on a local hard drive or file server (NOT in the cloud). This is not possible AFAIK with just office online.
No. It doesn't allow access to local Files.
It does. Well, it allows you to upload a file and then subsequently edit it.
Yes, you can browse local files.
Would be really great if they added a system hook to launch office files directly from explorer though. I thought they were adding some sort of web launching system to win 10?
I think that's where websites will open an app that the user specifies.
The integration with Edge is nice and the extensions are slowly coming along. While traveling, I have been using the Office Online apps on my Chromebook with OneDrive access but this makes getting to Office a lot cleaner. Surface users are going to like this a lot.
It's disappointing that the new online Office is not available everywhere.
That looks just like the Chrome Browser Extension
Is not that better when compared to offline access provided by chrome with drive extension.
For features, I would like to be able to install the Office suite from it - though arguably the feature is already in "Get Office" as of the recent update to the Get-apps.
This is actually a really nice feature if you don't feel like wasting a Office 365 activation on a computer that you don't use as much.
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