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Using the Microsoft Office Web Apps [Paperback]

Paul McFedries
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

June 24 2010 0789744864 978-0789744869 1

Get comfortable with the newest way to use Microsoft Office 2010. Don’t just read about it: See it, hear it, with step-by-step video tutorials and valuable audio sidebars delivered through the free Web Edition that comes with every USING book. For the price of the book you get online access anywhere with a web connection--no books to carry, updated content, and the benefit of video and audio learning. Way more than just a book, this is all the help you’ll ever need...where you want, when you want!


learn fast, learn easy, using web, video, and audio

Show Me video walks through tasks you’ve just got to see--including bonus advanced techniques

Tell Me More audio delivers practical insights straight from the experts


UNLOCK THE FREE WEB EDITION--To register your USING book, visit

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About the Author

Paul McFedries is a Microsoft Office expert and full-time technical writer. Paul has been authoring computer books since 1991 and has more than 70 books to his credit, which combined have sold more than 3 million copies worldwide. His titles include the Que Publishing books Formulas and Functions with Microsoft Excel 2010, Tricks of the Microsoft Office 2007 Gurus, VBA for the 2007 Microsoft Office System, and Tweak It and Freak It: A Killer Guide to Making Windows Run Your Way, as well as the Sams Publishing book Windows 7 Unleashed. Paul is also the proprietor of Word Spy (, a website devoted to lexpionage, the sleuthing of new words and phrases that have entered the English language. Please drop by Paul’s personal website at or follow Paul on Twitter at

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5.0 out of 5 stars Using Microsoft Office Web Apps Dec 16 2010
A while back, I started using Google Docs. It's a free cloud computing system online. It allows you to create, collaborate, and share documents online. I find it's extremely convenient to save my documents in a folder online so that I have access to it whether I have my laptop with me or not. Basically, if I have access to the internet, I can access my files.

Despite the potential, Google Docs is very limited. In particular, documents have almost no formatting. Therefore, what you view and save is often a stripped version of what you really want.
Using Microsoft Office Web Apps looks in detail at Microsoft's SkyDrive and SharePoint. My interest was mainly on SkyPoint. SkyPoint is an online cloud computing system that allows anyone to upload, create, view, and download Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote files.

Although SkyPoint does not include full versions of these Office programs, there is a definite improvement in the formatting that can be done compared to Google Docs. You can even add and manipulate images. Word is pretty much intact. OneNote not so much. Of course, you can upload and share other document types such as pdf and mp3 as well. However, to view/hear these files, you'll have to download them on to your desktop and use the appropriate program to open them.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Using the Microsoft Web Apps Aug. 20 2010
By Fred Sabin - Published on
The New Jersey Computer Club (NJCC) is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to educating the public about computer systems, software, and their uses; providing community service to charities and educational groups; awarding an annual NJCC Memorial Award; and sharing knowledge and social activities with other computer enthusiasts. I therefore read and review numerous books related to computer usage and applications, both for personal use and for our mainly senior NJCC members.

Using the Microsoft Office Web Apps came to my attention for three reasons:

1) Paul McFedries is a favorite author who has published numerous computer books with excellent content, especially his visual and illustrated books that are ideal for senior computer users.

2) Que Publishing (Pearson Education, Inc.) is a favorite publisher of excellent computer books, and this book includes full access to a free Safari web edition complete with audio and video tutorials that supplement the text.

3) Microsoft's Office Web Apps is a new free application of cloud computing utilizing the latest Microsoft Office 2010 applications.

The online Microsoft Web Apps are accessed via the free Windows Live ID, free Microsoft Silverlight browser add-in, and free SkyDrive online storage. The book explains these services and how to use them, so that you can be online in minutes. The Web Apps include scaled-down versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote. They are based on Office 2007/2010, and can be downloaded and opened in the Microsoft Office 2007/2010 desktop applications for access to the full feature set not available online. Unfortunately, these online applications do not download or work directly with prior Office versions (as Office 97/2000/2003). For example, all online Word documents only utilize the XML/DOCX file format, and although they can be saved as such, you will need Word 2007/2010 or Sun's OpenOffice to open and edit them.

The majority of the book explains how to use these web apps, with "Let Me Try It" step-by-step instructions; and "Tell Me More" (audio) and "Show Me" (video) aids in the free Safari web edition. These instructions and aids are very well presented in easy to follow formats, with extensive diagrams and figures to supplement the book text. Office 2007/2010 has significant differences from prior versions, but this book will get you familiar with the online version very quickly. There are also numerous explanations of the restrictions of the web apps, and differences with the full desktop applications. This is especially important when you are trying to do something that is routine in the desktop applications but not available in the online web apps.

So why should you use this book or even web apps? The main reason to me is that it gives you free access to these current applications on any computer with Internet access, and will allow you to share what you do with others that also only have Internet access. You don't need to buy anything, and it can be learned quickly. Cloud computing may be the application base of the future, and this is an easy way to become familiar with it now.

What are the disadvantages? It is very limited, especially if you already have the full desktop applications already loaded on your computer. The online applications also do not integrate well with older and simpler applications that may provide everything you need. Google Docs is an alternative for online applications, and should also be investigated if you need or want this type of service.

The bottom line for me is that this book is a great introduction to cloud computing web applications. I would recommended it to all our NJCC members and other computer users as a simple yet comprehensive learning and self help tool for their own benefit.

Fred Sabin
NJCC President
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Whether using Microsoft Online Services or Skydrive - quick read and helpful July 10 2010
By Bert Blevins - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you are a cloud advocate and or mobile user which is looking to leverage the Microsoft office components then this book is a nice read with good use case and examples. Author breaks down the differences between client application and Web Apps very effectively. After purchased, I registered and received the free online addition on Safari as well.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Learn SkyDrive and Office Web Apps Dec 23 2010
By djs2032 - Published on
In an attempt to compete with Google Docs, Microsoft has created online versions of Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and OneNote. These versions are known collectively as the Microsoft Office Web Apps. The Web Apps are free (at the moment) and are available to anyone with an internet connection. Although these versions are similar to the desktop versions, they do not have all of the functionality of the desktop (i.e. paid) versions. Working with online applications also requires a slightly different mindset than working on your desktop in terms of both storage and sharing or collaboration. [Note: these applications also work on a SharePoint server with the Web Apps installed. However, this review only covers the internet version accessed via SkyDrive.]

The QUE book Using The Microsoft Office Web Apps by Paul McFedries is an excellent book to get you up-to-speed on all things relating to both SkyDrive and the Web Apps. There is approximately a chapter and a half on setting up SkyDrive and granting permissions for collaboration purposes. (The author also has a chapter and a half on setting up SharePoint libraries, groups and permissions.) The remainder of the book assigns one chapter to each of the specific Web Apps and two chapters covering the formatting and file features that pertain to all of the Web Apps.

Each of the specific application chapters covers all the features that the majority of Office users need and/or use. Additionally, the author lists within the first two or three pages of each of these chapters those tasks that you cannot perform within the specific Web App that (of course) you can in the respective desktop version. This saves a lot of time in trying to figure out how to do something, only to find out that it cannot be done in the Web App.

A problem with the book is that the screen shots (when using the Web Apps on SkyDrive) are not always the same as what you see on the SkyDrive site. For a newbie this can make it more difficult to learn. Some of the blame for this should go to Microsoft who is always changing the design of its websites, especially when the site pertains to new or emerging products. For example, page 30 instructs you to click on Options on the right side of the screen to apply a theme. However, Options does not appear on the screen. You have to click the drop-down arrow next to your Login name to apply a theme.

The book also includes links to the SafariBooksOnline website containing additional audio sidebars and video tutorials offering explanations and demonstrations of some of the step-by-step "Let Me Try It" sections. You must create a free account at the QUE website in order to access this information. (You can also use your SafariBooksOnline account if you already have one.) It does not appear that the video tutorials are updated once loaded to the site: the video relating to applying a theme does not reflect the current SkyDrive layout.

The following is the table of contents for the book.
Chapter 1. Introducing the Office Web Apps
Chapter 2. Learning Windows Live SkyDrive Essentials
Chapter 3. Learning SharePoint 2010 Essentials
Chapter 4. Collaborating with the Office Web Apps
Chapter 5. Formatting Your Office Web Apps Documents
Chapter 6. Working with the Office Web Apps File Features
Chapter 7. Using the Word Web App
Chapter 8. Using the Excel Web App
Chapter 9. Using the PowerPoint Web App
Chapter 10. Using the OneNote Web App

Full Disclosure: I received a copy of this book gratis in exchange for reviewing it.
4.0 out of 5 stars More Than Just a Book! Nov. 26 2010
By Indiana - Published on
The subtitle of this paperback is "More Than Just A Book" and I have to agree with that. In addition to the book itself, you have access to a web edition and videos of key steps. Que has thought of everything. The book shows you how to do everything step by step and it also offers on-line videos where you can see the key steps if you wish. This is very useful if you can't visualize something. For example, I could not find an icon that the book wanted me to click on so I logged on and saw a video of that step. Now, the downside of that particular step was that it appears Microsoft moved the icon since the book was published but at least I was able to confirm that I had been looking in the right place and seeing the video allowed me to figure out where its new placement was. Audio sidebars, are also available, if you want even more information about something.
Before you can actually start using the office web apps, you need a Windows Live Id. If you have one, which I did, you are set. If not, the book will walk you step by step on how to sign up for one. It also walks you through installing Silverlight and signing up for Skydrive. There is nothing you can do about it, since you obviously have to sign up, but the initial sign up and installing is a bit irritating simply because you want to just jump in and get going.

The book is well laid out particularly the first few chapters. The Office web applications themselves are great and you have free access to them with this book. You can just see that this is the way everything is moving. The programs are accessible anywhere you can find a computer and where there is internet access. Best of all, while the programs don't have every bell and whistle of Office 2010, they have everything that the most users would want or need. The transition between the Office web applications and Office 2010 is easy. Sky Drive is cool and frankly I thought learning about that alone was worth the price of the book. It is an online storage application where you can store files and share. So, you should definitely take a look at this book 1) if you travel for business 2) want to share documents with others 3)cannot afford the full Office version. I am definitely planning on utilizing everything I learned about in this book.
4.0 out of 5 stars Office Web Apps Demystified Nov. 7 2010
By Kim Callahan - Published on
At 235 pages, "Using The Microsoft Office Web Apps" is a quick read and packed with clear, detailed guides on using the new Office Web Apps.

Anybody who has collaborated on a document has experienced the frustration of keeping track of the most current version of the document and trying to collate multiple alterations by multiple people. Microsoft tries to alleviate that with its Office Web Apps (OWA). Using the Live.Com website, individuals can create an account which will give them access to a 25GB online storage area called SkyDrive. OWA is also available for use with SharePoint 2010. Users can create a new Word, Excel or OneNote file online or upload their own. The web version of these programs don't have the same functionality as desktop versions - losing many of the advanced features - however users can create the same types of documents used everyday. But the real meat of OWA is allowing collaborators to work on documents together in "real time." In other words, no waiting around for emails and dealing with six different versions from six different people. You can save documents to your Skydrive directly from Office 2010 applications. It was very easy to set them up to do this. You can also literally drag and drop files from your desktop folder to the Skydrive displayed in your web browser. OWA will also tell the user what features are not displaying in documents that were created offline. Additionally, users can comment on files much in the same way you would leave a blog comment.

I was previously unfamiliar with Que Publishing and their "Using" series of technology books. I immediately liked its compact size, easy-to-read instructions, and plentiful screen shots. A handy additional feature is access to an e-version so the reader can have access to the book wherever an internet connection is available. There are also numerous audio and video clips to accompany the material. However the user must register the book on Que Publishing's website, then go to the Safari Books website to access this online material rather than having it all in one location. Within the chapters of the online version, the links to the clips are live. You can access them all in one place from the Media Table of Contents though it is not obvious to the user at first look that the listing contains live links. The book is fairly clear in its explanations though so the clips don't really add much.

In the "Let Me Try It" sections generously sprinkled throughout each chapter, author Paul McFedries walks the reader through the task or feature just discussed so that they can immediately apply whatever they have read.

In some instances the book is a little too simplistic such as giving step-by-step instructions for viewing a folder and spending five paragraphs on navigating folders. To borrow a phrase from Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 commercial, "Really?"

McFedries does a great job breaking down what features and authoring settings are available for each of the apps (and which are not - though Microsoft plans to make more tools available.) Particularly helpful is pointing out that auto-save is not available in Word (who knows why this feature isn't available in the program most likely to be used.) In some instances though information is repeated verbatim in different sections. Good for those who may be reading sections individually as a reference, but a little annoying for those reading the book straight through.
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