Microsoft releases updated Office web apps for all SkyDrive users

Oh, we certainly do love it, Microsoft.

Microsoft has announced today on its SkyDrive blog that the Office Web Apps Preview is finished, and the company has rolled out the latest updates across all SkyDrive and users. The preview programme, which saw more than 750,000 participants, has been running since July this year.

The updates that have been applied to the web apps include improvements that bring richer editing / format capabilities, co-authoring functionality for PowerPoint, and better support for touch-based devices - hello tablets / smartphones. So what do each of the improvements implemented mean for the consumer?

A huge advance in functionality and user experience in SkyDrive is document co-authoring. The web service already offers a simplified sharing and collaborative platform for colleagues and students to work together on projects in Word, Excel and OneNote Web Apps, but now Microsoft has expanded the functionality to cover PowerPoint as well.

Performance improvements will see a 30% increase in document rendering, according to Microsoft's blog post. The aim is to have users spend more time getting stuck in with work instead of waiting for programs to load up. But the big improvement that will cater for many mobile users is increased support for touch-based devices, as mentioned above.

The Office Web Apps are now easier to interact with while using a smaller, touch sensitive screen (as well as a large tablet display). The apps also support touch gestures, such as swiping, holding, and dragging. Selecting text is easy and performing common tasks is nothing short of a breeze.

With the launch of, Office 365 and the Office Web Apps, Microsoft is offering a new suite of tools for users to make use of. Not only on a workstation or laptop, but smartphones and tablets too. Of course, should you want a true experience, you'll need a Windows Phone and Windows 8 hardware. But with the devices that have been unveiled thus far, tapping into the Microsoft ecosystem (if not done so already) isn't a bad idea, right?

Source: SkyDrive Blog

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.