Microsoft has updated its cloud-based Office Web Apps with real-time collaborative editing support in a bid to better compete with Google Docs.
Microsoft announced in a blog post on Thursday that it's giving users of its free Office Web Apps a feature that Google Docs has supported for years - real time collaborative editing. The feature is now available on Microsoft Office Web Apps via the web on a desktop, a Windows tablet or iPad, or a mobile device.
Microsoft's Amanda Lefebvre, technical product marketing manager for Microsoft Office Web Apps said, "Using real-time co-authoring, colleagues, friends and family can contribute and edit documents simultaneously in the Word Web App, Powerpoint Web App or Excel Web App.
"New real-time presence helps you see where your co-authors are working in the document so that you don't create conflicts as you edit. Additionally, the new ability to see changes to text and formatting as they happen will help you and your co-authors stay on the same page as your ideas develop and evolve."
As well as introducing collaborative real-time editing, Microsoft has also improved its Web Apps in other ways. The online version of Microsoft Word now boasts more formatting options, along with the ability to replace words, apply formatting to tables, and insert headers and footers, bringing the browser-based version more in line with its desktop counterpart.
In the web version of Excel, users can now drag and drop cells to reorder sheets and the app also now boasts support for more workbook types, while the Powerpoint app has a new picture cropping tool.
Microsoft said that next on its list of improvements is to add Web App support for Android tablets, but declined to specify a date for when it will deliver this capability.
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