Windows Live is not just a consumer product, there are some business functionality built into the suite too. In addition to the Office Outlook connector for managing Live Hotmail email in the Office Personal Information Manager, the Office Live WorkPlace add-in allows you to save your Microsoft Office files directly to your own online work space at Office Live.
Save to Office Live Option in Office 2007
Installing the Office Live Save Add-in
The Windows Live Suite does not include the add-in itself, that you will have to download. The ‘Save to Office Live’ pane features a sign in link which triggers the installation of the ad-in from Microsoft Downloads. Once you have downloaded and installed the ad-in, a restart is required. Once you have done so, the Office Word, Excel and PowerPoint Office Fluent file menu includes a new Save As and Open As capability for Office Live. Hopefully by the next release or even before then, Microsoft will support the add in across the entire suite of products.
Log in prompt for Office Live Workspace
Once you have successfully installed the Ad-in, the next step is to sign into the service. Existing users of Office Live Workplace will get automatic access to their workspace, for first time users, you will need to signup and configure the service first. Lets take a look at that.
The Office Live Wizard gets you up and running in a few minutes.
After clicking continue in the Office Live Workspace wizard, your web browser is launched automatically which takes you to the Office Live web page where you must first accept the Service Agreement before continuing.
Setup and Signing into Office Live Workspace (click to enlarge)
Once you have setup and configured your Office Live Workspace, you are ready to start saving and opening Microsoft Office files from the web. With your workspace, you can store 1000+ documents online, share them with others, and then access them directly from Microsoft Office Word, Excel, or PowerPoint.
Saving to the workspace is very similar to working in Windows Explorer. The Office Live ‘Save As’ window works more like a Mapped Network drive. Initially, I got an error message trying to save, but after closing out the window and trying again it worked successfully.
Document saved to your Office Live Workspace
Once your document is up on Office Live Workspace, users have the option of sharing files, viewing the document as a web page. Unfortunately, I was not presented the option of doing so in the browser. Office Live instead insisted that I download the file and edit locally. So there are some issues still to be worked out where that is the concerned. Microsoft is promising that the next version of Microsoft Office ‘14’ will support editing Word, Excel and PowerPoint files in the web browser. Users can still appreciate the basic collaboration functionality built in such as versioning of files, commenting and the ability to share files in work spaces with multiple users.
I would like to see federation across Windows Live storage services, such as the option to have files uploaded, replicated and saved in your Windows Live Skydrive too. Having data scattered across different but similar services seems like too much manage. Overall, I appreciate the ability to work with my Office files in new and innovative ways.