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Using the Microsoft Office Web Apps Paperback – Jun 24 2010
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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 (www.wordspy.com), 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 www.mcfedries.com or follow Paul on Twitter at twitter.com/paulmcf.
Inside This Book(Learn More)
Top Customer Reviews
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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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.
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.
The first three chapters clearly explain how to get going in SkyDrive with clear descriptions of how to do all the operations with folders and files needed to keep organized. The incorporation of web based audio and video segments are a feature of this book provide added value to the learning experience. The extensive use of screen shots and highlighted text is very effective in providing the reader with the know-how to navigate through SkyDrive and understand some of the finer points of using SkyDrive. Although readers not using server based access to Web Apps may skip the chapter on SharePoint, this brief coverage may prove beneficial to novice SharePoint users.
Microsoft web apps are among the growing number of tools designed to simplify collaboration between geographically dispersed users. Chapter 4 does an excellent job of explaining the basics of how to set up permisssions on SkyDrive. After a careful reading of this chapter and full use of the web based audio and video clips users should be able to configure SkyDrive permissions that will allow everything from easily sharing family photos to collabrative work on mission critical team projects across multiple time zones.
The later chapters provide excellent and concise discussions of the functioning of the web apps versions of Excel, Word, PowerPoint and OneNote. Experienced users of partcular applications will benefit from quick review of various tasks as well as many observatins of the differences between the web and desktop versions of the application. Fortunately, the easy reading presentation should facilitate self-paced learning by novice users.
Overall, great book that is short enough to read and worth keeping for reference.
It makes a case for Web Apps by describing typical scenarios for their use, which include:
* Sharing documents with other people in a collaborative way
* Sharing documents with people who do not have Microsoft Office themselves
* Broadcasting PowerPoint presentations
It also suggests instances where Web Apps may not provide the best solution - for example in a conventional networking environment.
Basics are covered first: the need for a browser, a Windows Live ID and, if possible, the Silverlight add-in.
The process of setting up access to Web Apps and a SkyDrive is described in a number of different ways:
* Let Me Try It - a text explanation to follow by doing it yourself
* Show Me - a short video
* Tell Me More - an audio recording
The media presentations require you to register first with Safari Books Online.
Each of the very familiar applications - Excel, Word and PowerPoint - is discussed in turn, highlighting the limitations of the web-based applications compared with the full retail versions. There is also a discussion about One Note - an application with increasing popularity and aimed at organising data from different sources either individually or on a collaborative basis.
Later in the book, each Web App is explored in greater depth with a chapter devoted to each one.
The book shows how to manage the SkyDrive environment including the use of folders, customisation and assigning permissions. Also discussed are issues concerning the simultaneous editing of documents by a group of people working together. There is also a chapter dedicated to the use of SharePoint 2010 for users who are part of a corporate network environment.
In conclusion, this guide - which provides very clear explanations and de-mystifies working in the "cloud" - will encourage anyone interested in trying out these applications to take the first steps and get up-and-running very quickly.
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