Improved one-click collaboration
Microsoft also said it would improve how attachments are handled via email. Microsoft executives noted that collaboration via email can still be frustrating, especially when users send around their own versions of a "shared" document, whose changes must be integrated.
With a new collaboration tool due later this year, the Office Web app (on a PC or tablet) will open up the Word Web app next to an email that contains a document. From one screen, users will be able to email a response as well as work on the shared document. And, once changes are made, two versions of the document will be emailed back: the original draft, and the new version, with changes.
When users email out their own Word, Excel, or PowerPoint documents, they'll have several options: attach a file from their own computer, or attach a file from the new OneDrive for Business (whose standalone offering launches on Tuesday, Microsoft said). In either case, they can either attach the document directly, or else attach a link if it's stored in the cloud. Moreover, they'll also be able to set permissions. And if the document is stored in the OneDrive for Business cloud, there will be the option to work and edit it online collaboratively.
Earlier this month, Microsoft outlined its shared, social vision of a future Office 365. Microsoft took a second step toward that by integrating groups formed in Yammer with Office 365. Users who create those groups will now see them within the Office Web app.
Grouping is also now represented within the Calendar view, so that users can create, edit and share calendar items just as they would other documents. And group calendar items can be pushed to the personal calendar view with just a single click, Microsoft said—apparently, this isn't on by default.
Microsoft also tipped some of its other plans. "[At] this week's conference, we'll also talk about how we'll continue to invest in built-in security and compliance features like archiving, eDiscovery, DLP, and encryption," Jeff Teper, the corporate vice president of Office and the Office Servers group, said in his own blog post. "We will continue to make these capabilities in Exchange more and more robust. We're also expanding these capabilities to other products like SharePoint and Lync. We're unifying the concepts across Office, so our customers won't need to manage them in separate places."
For now, however, beefing up the oft-overlooked Outlook Web app is a good start.
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