Ten Things You Can Do with Web-Based Office Applications
Like web-based email, which allows you to send and receive email from any Internet-connected computer, web-based office applications allow you to create and edit documents and spreadsheets in the same way. Web-based word processors, spreadsheets, and presentation tools are generally free (or inexpensive) and, although less powerful than their desktop forebears, have distinct advantages when it comes to versioning, collaboration, and digital publication.
1. Store and create documents, spreadsheets, and slideshows on the web (and edit them from anywhere).
- If you work on different computers, using a web-based office application allows you to store a single version of a document online that can edited from anywhere, sparing you from the headache of “version confusion.”
- Most web-based office application service providers offer generous amounts (1GB+) of free online storage.
2. Enjoy intuitive document editing in a web-based environment that mimics the traditional desktop environment.
- Web-based office applications lack some of the advanced features of desktop office applications but are more than sufficient for day-to-day word processing and spreadsheet tasks.
- Online word processors feature spellcheckers and document formatting controls and allow images, tables, links, and comments to be inserted into a document.
- Online spreadsheets allow data to be sorted and have sophisticated formula creation and editing capabilities.
3. Publish a document to the web (and edit it from anywhere).
- It takes only a few mouse clicks for a document created with a web-based office application to be published as webpage.
- Edits made to the source document are updated instantaneously on the published webpage.
4. Embed a document, spreadsheet, or slidehow into a webpage or blog.
- Many web-based office application allow you to embed a document, slideshow, spreadsheet (or portion of a spreadsheet) into a webpage or blog.
- Edits made to the source document are reflected in the embedded instances.
5. View the revision history of a document and roll back to an earler version.
- Documents created with web-based office applications can be restored to any previously saved version of a document, no matter how many times the document has been opened and closed.
6. Collaborate on a document with colleagues anywhere.
- The best thing about web-based office applications is that they make collaborative authoring easy.
- Colleagues in other other departments or at other institutions can be invited (by email address) to view, edit, or comment on a document or spreadsheet.
- The only thing the collaborator needs is a (free) account on the service (Zoho, ThinkFree, Google, e.g.) where the document is hosted.
- Collaborators can invite other collaborators.
7. Simultaneously edit a document with collaborators.
- Multiple collaborators can open and edit a shared document or spreadsheet at the same time.
- The usernames of collaborators will appear on your screen when they login to an open shared document.
- Some web-based office applications allow collaborators to chat (instant message) with eath other while logged in.
8. Create an RSS feed for a document.
- By creating an RSS feed for a shared document, collaborators can learn about edits that have been made to a document without needing to login to it.
9. Import and export documents and spreadsheets in multiple formats.
- Documents created using web-based office applications can be imported from and exported to a variety of document formats such as pdf, txt, rtf doc, xls, and csv.
- This can be especially convenient for people who need to create .pdf files but do not own a copy of Adobe Acrobat.
10. Organize your documents with “tags.”
- Many web-based office applications give users the ability to “tag” documents with user-created categories that help identify, organize, and catalog documents and spreadsheets.
- A document or spreadsheet can be assigned multiple tags.