While Google Docs is definitely great for working on Office files online, it leaves far more to be desired when it comes to preserving the original formatting of Office documents, especially so in the case of Powerpoint presentations. On the other hand while Microsoft does allow SkyDrive users to edit and view Office documents online, it is not accessible to non-SkyDrive users. Microsoft Office Web Viewer thankfully is out just to take care of this glaring issue.
Why it is handy?
Office Web Viewer lets you view any Microsoft Office document on the web without having to use SkyDrive or Office Web Apps. Some nifty benefits include
- Eliminates the need to convert your Office files to a web friendly format. No longer is the need to save your Office documents in Google Drive despite the imminent breakage in formatting.
- An important advantage for Blogs and Websites is the ability to embed Office Web Viewer right into your page without using any third party plugins.
- Also the same link works on any device, be it a tablet, a PC or a mobile phone.
To use the Office Web viewer, just paste the URL of the Office file in the site and click on Create URL. The link is automatically generated for viewing the document.
To use the Office web viewer, your document should be publicly accessible. If you want to open your document online privately, you can use SkyDrive instead.
On opening the generated URL you are presented with your document in the web viewer with all your pristine formatting preserved.
How to Embed?
If you want to embed your document opened in the Office web viewer directly to your blog or website, you can just click File > Share and select Embed option.
In the window presented, select the size of the screen space you want to allot for the viewer. Just paste the embed code in your desired webpage and you are good to go.
Surprisingly, the web apps are not as stable as I would like them to be and occasionally fail to open the document. While just reloading the page fixes the issue, it would be great if the Redmond giant paid some attention to these minor annoyances. Also note that, while you can pretty much open any sort of Office documents, some special documents, say a spreadsheet with charts do refuse to open, and sadly it is acknowledged that there are some differences between the Office Web Apps and the Native PC Office apps.
Office Web Viewer could prove a stiff competitor to Google Drive in totality when clubbed with SkyDrive. While there are a lot of areas where Google Drive just dominates, when it comes to rendering Office documents with proper formatting no one can beat Microsoft after all.