Microsoft have finally launched their free online Office Suite (termed ‘office web app’) to UK users as part of SkyDrive – Microsoft’s cloud storage platform. We’ve all been sent at least one document file created in Microsoft office that ends up looking mangled when importing into OpenOffice or Google Docs – for those times this free web app service could finally relieve the burden of having to wine a full Microsoft Office install.

Don’t let the word ‘Microsoft’ put you off signing up to Skydrive over other web storage solutions. Skydrive provides users with a generous 25GB of free storage as well as access to the four main Office Web Apps – Word, Excel, Powerpoint &, er, OneNote. All should, in theory, work fine from any browser on any platform.

The office suite itself is immensely pared down compared to its desktop sibling. Some might argue that for Joe Casual the features offered are those that are needed. There is little outside of convenience (being able to edit skydrive-saved documents directly in the respective OWA.) and the allure of guaranteed Microsoft Document format compatibility to sway die-hard GDoc users, and for those not already making use of Skydrive storage, even less.

For better or worse, Word Web App has access to a vast Clipart library…

The new Office Web Apps can be accessed from the Skydrive site @

Like it? Web app it!
If you think you’re going to use Skydrive web apps often you may wish to create web-app shortcuts to the respective applications using either Prism in Firefox or ‘Create Application Shortcut‘ in Chrome/ium and linking those shortcuts to the relevant menus.

officeapps webapps