5 Issues Microsoft Must Fix in Office Web Apps

I'm all in with Microsoft. I've got Windows 8 running on my primary work machine, I subscribe to Office 365 Home Premium, and I use almost every online consumer service that the company offers.

By Ian Paul
Wed, May 08, 2013

PC World — I'm all in with Microsoft. I've got Windows 8 running on my primary work machine, I subscribe to Office 365 Home Premium, and I use almost every online consumer service that the company offers.

So when it comes time to create a document using Web apps, there is of course only one choice: Google Docs.

Despite Microsoft's wide array of great software, Office Web AppsA simply aren't good enough to trust with critical documents. That may change in the next year.

(Office Web Apps is made up of Word, PowerPoint, Excel and OneNote, as part of Microsoft's SkyDrive cloud storage service for consumers. It's also included with Office 365, the broader email and collaboration suite that has free and fee-based editions.)

Microsoft recently said it plans to roll out new features to Office Web AppsA that would allow you to "create polished Office documents from start to finish, all from the Web."

New features planned for Office include real-time document co-authoring, faster launch times for apps, improved file management, and Chrome for Android support.

It's great to see Microsoft making Office for the Web into a more full-featured version, especially while we wait for rumored Office apps for Android and iOS. Before Microsoft straps on a bunch of new features to its online Office suite, however, the company needs to make some improvements to the current version first.

Here are a few suggestions, with an admitted bias towards Word.

Auto-save for Word Documents

Thanks for the flashback to Office 2003, Microsoft, but the Word Web app would be better with an auto-save feature instead of a document recovery feature that works only half the time.

Google Docs has auto-save and is one of the best reasons to rely on the search giant's service over Office Web apps. The Excel Office Web app already has auto-save. Even OneNote 2013 on the desktop has it, why isn't this in the Word Web app?

Fix the connection problems

Has this ever happened to you? You're typing up a document in Word when suddenly you get a notification that the spell checker is down.

Even worse, sometimes Word documents won't save because there's a problem connecting to Microsoft's servers.

Google Docs in my experience rarely has connectivity issues, but when it does it's not a huge deal. You know why? That's right, auto-save.

Don't be so stingy with new lines

When you get towards the end of a document in the Word Web app, Microsoft gets really stingy about creating new lines. That means after typing about 300 words, you're stuck in the bottom area of your PC's display as Word doles out a few new lines at a time.

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