back to article Office Online rises from ashes of 'confusing' Office Web Apps

One day after rebranding its cloud storage service as OneDrive, Microsoft has relaunched the web-based versions of its Office productivity applications under the new, friendlier moniker of Office Online. Redmond was forced to rename its SkyDrive service as OneDrive on Wednesday after losing a trademark dispute with British Sky …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.
Silver badge

Well I guess it can't be worse than Google docs.

...but then again -- Metro.

2
6
Anonymous Coward

Re: Well I guess it can't be worse than Google docs.

Metro is really nice for websites.

4
5

Re: Well I guess it can't be worse than Google docs.

sure, Metro makes me turn away or turn compatibility mode on every time msn tries this (I use IE for weather check and other junk news off it's default start page). I'm not sure that anything can save Metro's credibility at this point, perhaps miracle. This fad should be outlawed.

6
3
Bronze badge

Re: Well I guess it can't be worse than Google docs.

Metro isn't nice for Cock Roaches and, other living things

0
1

A dog turd

by any other name would smell as sweet.

10
8
Silver badge

Re: A dog turd

That's it. Let the hate flow through you.

6
5

Near perfect fidelity

IME, Microsoft Word itself can't offer near-perfect fidelity when reading its own files, so I don't buy the sales line that the cut-down web version is somehow better.

14
2
Anonymous Coward

Re: Near perfect fidelity

Erm, yes. I was about to give an indignant down vote, as I do like Word. However, I do occasionally fire up someone else's document and don't quite see what they see (or worse still, can't work out how to undo the idiocy they've wrought). Partly it's down to styles (something we take seriously, as some of our VB scripts are predicated on rigorous use of certain styles). When you're collaborating, everyone needs to be on the same hymn sheet with respect to styles.

As for the online tools, I much prefer them to Google docs. Little things, like automatic heading numbers, matter to us.

4
0
Silver badge

My concern with all these on-line offerings is one of security. There is no telling what data scraping will be going on.

7
0
Anonymous Coward

My concern with all these on-line offerings is one of security. There is no telling what data scraping will be going on.

Correct. Add to that the need to be online to do any work, and the fact that the functionality of the online offering is so limited that you might as well use LibreOffice (which is IMHO not limited at all, but takes some adjustment) and the question is why on earth you'd pay for this.

I call BS on the fidelity - the only fidelity I believe is one that allows me to create the same doc on any OS. Personally, I think that WYSIWYG is what sold us down the river anyway - people are FAR too focused on looks instead of content.

All I'm waiting for now is that someone finally gets rid of styles when doing copy & paste or makes it possible to default this to text only or "match surrounding style" - I have in +25 years use of word processors never found a use for it and in Word it's problem generator no 1 (and has been for years). I used to rescue documents from colleagues which could no longer be opened by MS Word without crashing by importing them into OpenOffice in text only mode and re-applying styles (something that IMHO any word processor user must be introduced before they are allowed to generate as much as a cover letter).

/soapbox

10
1
Happy

Exactly

Which is why Donald Knuth created TeX in the first place....

9
2
Bronze badge

Recommended tool:

Puretext allows you to paste "just the text" from the Windows clipboard. It's described as "equivalent to pasting the content into Notepad, then copying and pasting it again from there".

It's free, easy to use, and works great, I've successfully got it included as part of the base install for all users in my company. The quality of our documents has improved noticeably.

3
0
Anonymous Coward

@AC

"All I'm waiting for now is that someone finally gets rid of styles when doing copy & paste or makes it possible to default this to text only or "match surrounding style" - I have in +25 years use of word processors never found a use for it and in Word it's problem generator no 1 (and has been for years)."

I'd have agreed with you until a year or so ago when some kind soul here pointed out that Word does indeed have that ability, in the Cut, Copy and Paste options. In 2007, at least.

4
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: clean cut & paste

I'd have agreed with you until a year or so ago when some kind soul here pointed out that Word does indeed have that ability, in the Cut, Copy and Paste options. In 2007, at least.

All word processors have that option, but it's NEVER the default, nor it is possible to MAKE it the default, despite that being the most sensible thing to do for (I reckon) 95% of the time. As far as I know, only Apple office apps have a dedicated keystroke for "past & match style".

Generally it means recording a LibreOffice macro which replaces the "paste" command before the danger has been abated, for a problem that has existed pretty much from the first version of WordPerfect onwards (but at least you had "reveal codes" there to clean it up), and which should have never existed in the first place if there had been any decent usability analysis. Personally, I think it originally was lazy programming (let's just grab whatever is there without cleaning it up) which was then maintained, because it kept the eternal promise of "it will be better in the next version" going that IMHO sells most of the upgrades (the other thing that sells upgrades is the infernal file format game, so very happy with ODF).

The options should be renamed: styles-free paste (can't say text only because sometimes you copy an image too) should be simply called "paste", with the current option renamed to "paste and carry along enough formatting information to seriously screw up this document", with the latter stuck away behind at least 3 or more actions or "Are you sure, are you really sure, you're serious??" escalating confirmations. And every time someone selects *that* option despite the prompt, the application should crash and lose at least 3 hours worth of edits. But that's just me.

3
1

Re: clean cut & paste

All word processors have that option, but it's NEVER the default, nor it is possible to MAKE it the default,

*****

Try SHIFt+CTRL+V

That often, but not always gives a plain text paste operation on window applications..

1
0
Silver badge

LibreOffice

Good point. It is hard to see why anyone would pay for Office Online instead of using Libreoffice.

But then again, this streaming version of Office + the strategy behind using Metro both point to that the target audience for Office Online isn't people writing things on their desktop or laptop, it's people who use a thin client or a cellphone.

1
2
Silver badge

Re: LibreOffice

>>"Good point. It is hard to see why anyone would pay for Office Online instead of using Libreoffice."

Office Online is an online, web-based office program. LibreOffice is installable. If you want to do comparisons, you compare LibreOffice to MS's installable MS Office products. LibreOffice doesn't have a web-based version equivalent to Office Online.

5
2

Re: LibreOffice

>LibreOffice doesn't have a web-based version equivalent to Office Online.

No. True. But There is always https://www.rollapp.com/launch/lowriter - etc - they are actually pretty good.

2
1
Silver badge

Re: clean cut & paste

And Edit-PasteSpecial-Unformatted always seems to work

1
0
Silver badge

Re: LibreOffice

> It is hard to see why anyone would pay for Office Online instead of using Libreoffice.

Nobody would pay for it. Luckily, nobody needs to. It's free. See also - article.

5
1
Anonymous Coward

Re: clean cut & paste @AC

"All word processors have that option, but it's NEVER the default, nor it is possible to MAKE it the default,"

I've just tested it and it does seem to stick when new docs are created. Again, I've only tried it in Word 2007.

"despite that being the most sensible thing to do for (I reckon) 95% of the time."

No argument here, though I'd raise the percentage :)

"... and which should have never existed in the first place if there had been any decent usability analysis."

"... and which should have never existed in the first place if there had been any decent usability analysis. Personally, I think it originally was lazy programming "

Agreed on both points, though in fairness in this kind of thing I think everyone hates something that doesn't work the way they want to. I'm always reluctant to take that at face value when coming from IT people.

Having nice, obvious, separate options (with sensible names!) as you suggest would be brilliant.And I do hope it's just you that goes three hours without saving ;)

1
0
Silver badge

Re: LibreOffice

> Office Online is an online, web-based office program. LibreOffice is installable. If you want to do comparisons, you compare LibreOffice to MS's installable MS Office

The streaming is of interest if you've got a thin client or otherwise horrible hardware. In all other situations LibreOffice is better in every respect + free, and if you absolutely need office, you get Office 365.

I understand that someone at Microsoft has said "we need a counterpoint to Google Docs", but this seems really pointless to me.

1
2
Silver badge

Re: clean cut & paste

Try Ctrl+Shift+V in MS Office.

As to the most obvious and most common? Not for me. I find it useful when bringing text from outside sources into Office documents, but when moving things around within a document, I want them to retain their formatting - if I move 10 chapters of a book around, I don't want to spend the next hour or so reapplying all the sub heading, code snippets etc. styles!

1
0
Silver badge

Re: LibreOffice

Office Online IS free! Only Office 365 requires payment, but you get much more for your money there.

2
0
Silver badge

Re: Exactly

Which is why Donald Knuth created TeX in the first place

Which has been followed by LyX and kin, offering WYSISYM (what you see is what you MEAN) rather than WYSIWYG.

Actually I think the first WYSIWYM I ever saw was something whose name I have forgotten, running on an Acorn Archimedes. Shame it didn't catch on with the rest of the world.

0
1
Bronze badge

Re: LibreOffice

Office Online is an online, web-based office program. LibreOffice is installable. If you want to do comparisons, you compare LibreOffice to MS's installable MS Office products. LibreOffice doesn't have a web-based version equivalent to Office Online.

...And I for One am very grateful for this...

0
0
Bronze badge

Re: LibreOffice

Nobody would pay for it. Luckily, nobody needs to. It's free. See also - article.

That's bullsh-- I bought it back when it first came out as Star Office, back in 1995 or 6 Kinda forgot which now. It wasn't that bad of an Office Suite even then. It only had the One flaw. Which it has continuously held on to throughout the Years, and Name changes.

And, that its NOT MicroSoft Office. Now that MicroSoft wish to remove their Office Suite from the greater Market and replace it with the kind of Crap that it has. Perhaps Libre Office can finally start to make some inroads, where they previously couldn't.

1
2
Anonymous Coward

Re: clean cut & paste

when moving things around within a document, I want them to retain their formatting - if I move 10 chapters of a book around, I don't want to spend the next hour or so reapplying all the sub heading, code snippets etc. styles!

I haven't done any document structure work in Word of late (never saw the need after we got used to LibreOffice), but Word too has a method to just move chapters around - doing that via cut & paste is rather inefficient. I think it was called Document Map or something. In LibreOffice, it's a matter of popping up the Navigator and moving things around. When I do larger work I have this almost always on screen, because it also tracks where you are in a document.

And yes, I'm with you on styles - my personal opinion is that people are either given a text only editor or Wordpad, or get taught to use styles before they're allowed near a word processor. It would save a LOT of trouble.

1
0
Silver badge

Re: LibreOffice

Don't you love how you get down-voted just for a one line factual correction?

4
0
Silver badge

Re: clean cut & paste

@AC you are correct, that was a poor example. Moving whole chapters is easy with the navigation pane. Moving chunks of formatted text around, which don't align to a chapter or section would still be a pain if it stripped out the formatting.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: clean cut & paste

Moving chunks of formatted text around, which don't align to a chapter or section would still be a pain if it stripped out the formatting.

Ah, I see what you mean. In that case you would have to choose the "paste all" version, but you will knowingly incur the risk of what I call "formatting debris" being carried with the section you copy. This gets worse when you inherit docs from other people, especially those who have never been told that the look of a document is a styling matter, not a content one..

Let's meet in the middle here: let the user decide what they prefer as default in a configuration option. I stand by my dreamt-up statistic of 95%, though :p

0
0
Silver badge

Re: LibreOffice

> Office Online IS free! Only Office 365 requires payment, but you get much more for your money there.

Surely mathematically speaking you get infinitely more for your money ($ = divisor) where you don't spend any?

0
0
Silver badge

Err..

"Office Web Apps ... too hard for customers to understand."

head/desk repeatedly. This is the species that put a man on the moon and painted "The night watch". Is the bell curve catching up with us, or something?

2
1
Anonymous Coward

Re: Err..

These outliers would be classified as "bell-end"

5
0
Silver badge

Re: Err..

No one painted the night watch - someone named an old painting the night watch but that was before it got cleaned.

Given up office software other than for receiving data from customers. All internal work is done on web stuff so it works the same anywhere - and is fine on phones and tablets too! Offline too most of it.

0
2

Improved what exactly?

Installed Office 2010 just this week (having moved to Win7 from XP, last in the office to do so). The interface was awful. I gave it 2 days before uninstalling it and whipping out a copy of 2003. I'm not sure what MS is thinking - the impression I was left with was that the emphasis has turned from function to form. 2003 might not be as pretty, but I can work with it. Yes, I actually do some work from time to time.

4
5
Bronze badge

Re: Improved what exactly?

Huh? I've been using Office 2010 since, er, 2010, and am very pleased with it after defecting from Open/Libre Office. OLOFF are good products, but MSO is better.

If I really want to clean up a document, I export from MSO to "HTML without the crap", then use an html editor. In my case, Namo Web Edit, a poor man's Dreamweaver, but still WYSIWYG; supports lists, tables, image handling. Even has a maths editor.

I have detested having to hand-create markup documents since the days of Digital Standard Runoff, via Latex, and on to Wiki formats.

3
1

Re: Improved what exactly?

You do know this is EOL on 8 April, don't you?

1
0
Bronze badge

Re: Improved what exactly?

Like I always said O2k3 was the last proper Office Microsoft ever made!

1
2
Anonymous Coward

Re: Improved what exactly?

Huh? I've been using Office 2010 since, er, 2010, and am very pleased with it after defecting from Open/Libre Office. OLOFF are good products, but MSO is better.

Your experience clearly differs from mine. I could do *serious* amounts of work in Word-before-the-ribbon, but past Office 2003 I was more or less forced to switch to LibreOffice to maintain this productivity, and to be honest, about the only feature I miss from Word is the "resume last cursor position" (Shift-F5) which is a Godsend if you need to zip up an down in a large document (typically this happens during a last sense check before release). Not that that is hard to solve: instead I simply open a 2nd window on the same doc.

This is also when I started looking at OSX as a work platform, Office 2007 on OSX was still sans-ribbon and I had to create this &%ç* .docx format so I switched platform. Never looked back since.

0
0
Thumb Up

Very good

Having used the online Office apps, my opinion is that these are really very good, very useable and very reliable.

4
4

They gave me an extra 3tb with the rebrand, so that's 28tb I've got so far.

You need a Microsoft account, but they don't seem to be too upset about me using a Gmail address to set it up

0
0
Bronze badge

I asked this on a different Site already

But please remind me again how much the Off-Line Version costs again?!

The only problem I forsee with this is that MicroSoft will run roughshod over their own so-called "Standards", just to break Office 03/07 & 10 compatibility, to foster this Bullsh-- further into the Market then it already has!

1
1

Naming

Microsoft is terrible about naming things. They still have two explorers (minimum) on every operating system. Windows 8 should have been called jumping tiles, because I cannot find any windows in it.

Office online is an exception. It has just the right name to describe it.

The other online version Office 360 or 365 has a name that makes no sense being that it follows 2010 and 2013. Open Office is fine with me. I use an older version except when I need to open the Microsoft files ending in "x", like .docx. Word processors usually don't improve year to year.

0
0
This topic is closed for new posts.

Forums