Use Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote Free Online

News reports are appearing about Microsoft offering free and legal versions of Word, Excel, OneNote, and PowerPoint via cloud access.  Readers may be aware that Microsoft is pushing Office 365 as a subscription based alternative to installing the application suite on a computer.  The free web versions of the most popular Microsoft applications are associated with a Microsoft account and OneDrive, formerly SkyDrive.   One can open, edit, or create a document in OneDrive by selecting the option from the menu choices at the top.

Anyone familiar with a computer based version of the Office applications will feel quite at home.  The same ribbon interface appears with just about the same options.  I believe, as with most people, I use only common formatting in documents.  Everything I needed in Word is here and more.  In fact, I’m typing this in Word Online as a way of testing the viability of the product.  So far, so good.  This version of Word appears to support keyboard shortcuts (at least the ones I use) without too much variation from the boxed Office suite.  The editing process is smooth and stable.

Some features are missing.  Inline spell and grammar check do not appear to be an option.  There is an spell check feature under Review in the menu bar.  Some option boxes require clicking a button to select a choice rather than responding to the Enter Key.  Drag and drop seems to be missing as well.  These are minor inconveniences.   I find the product very comfortable to use, especially for the price.

Anyone interested in creating a Microsoft account to use OneDrive or Office Online can sign up for free at this page.   Additional commentary on the product are available in CNET NewsTime Magazine, and PC World.  –Mark

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