Office Online Real-Time Co-Editing Comes to 3rd-Party Cloud Services

One year into its Cloud Storage Partner Program, Microsoft is rolling out new Office integration capabilities for cloud storage partners such as Box and Dropbox. Among the new features announced yesterday, are support for real-time editing of Office documents stored in the cloud, as well as better integration with Office for Apple's iOS mobile operating system and cloud storage integration with Outlook.com, Microsoft's e-mail service.

Cloud-based content storage providers are increasingly linking their fortunes with Microsoft's, which makes sense when you consider that the company claims more than 1.2 billion users for its Office software. In turn, Microsoft is continually working to make it ever-easier for cloud storage customers to make Office their go-to software when collaborating online. Hence, the new Office integration features.

Users can now co-author and edit Office documents stored through cloud services from Box, Citrix ShareFile, Dropbox and Egnyte. Over the next few weeks, Microsoft said it plans to make it easier for Box, Dropbox and OneDrive users to attach and send stored files through Outlook.com.

Automatic Saving of Cloud-Based Edits

"Today's interoperability announcements are another step in our journey to make Office more open for customers and partners," Office corporate vice president Kirk Koenigsbauer said yesterday in a post on Microsoft's Office blog.

The new capabilities for real-time co-authoring let users of Box, Dropbox and other cloud storage providers access Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents through a shared folder and then add content or make changes that are immediately visible to the other users in that folder.

The changes are automatically saved in the cloud, meaning users no longer have to exchange different versions by e-mail or worry about whether the documents they're viewing include all the most recent updates they've made.

Microsoft first introduced such real-time editing for Office users who stored their documents on...

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