Thursday, November 13, 2008

Microsoft Office Live Workspace

This is another one of Microsoft’s Live Office applications in its Beta (still being refined) stage. OLW allows the saving of documents on the Web enabling the user access from anywhere with an Internet connection, a Web browser, a Windows Live ID and a valid email inbox. You can use it for work, school, and home. I personally use my workspace to work between my desktop and laptop as well as collaborate on projects with schoolmates. Recently I set up the application for my two business partners, allowing us the freedom to collaborate on projects while being geographically separated. With this type of freedom, the possibilities are limitless in collaborative work.

OLW is a Web-base application as in Cloud Computing (See Web Byte entry 11/8/08 on Cloud Computing). As previously mentioned, accessing it allows the user to share documents and files, work from home on documents that were previously placed in the workspace and/or create new ones for the office, school or personal projects, organize files, create lists, and notes by project or assignment. The administrator of the workspace (you) have the ability to share the screen with others and work together on documents in real time via Microsoft SharedView beta integration which is a small downloadable (more on this later). You can set permission to control who can view or edit the documents and manage all changes in a single online copy of a document which eliminates the need for emails going back and forth; gather feedback on ideas and projects; share agendas, minutes, handouts, and presentations; organize a study group and work on assignments; share class notes and schedules; keep track of test and grades; plan events and show accountability; work on budgets, directions, etc. This is just a few of the numerous tasks that can be coordinated via OLW. No downloads are required to use OLW, storage for each workspace as of now is 500 MB and 25 MB the size of the largest file. Oh, by the way, did I mention that OLW is free at the present time.

To help you get started with all the various tasks listed above, OLW have pre-fabricated templates with the types of workspace you want to set up. The types of templates now available are Class workspace, Essay workspace, Event Workspace, Household Workspace, Job Search Workspace, Meeting Workspace, School Workspace, Sports Team Workspace, Travel Workspace and of course a Blank Workspace enabling you to create whatever type of workspace you need. OLW keeps track of every version of a document which allows you to revert back to a previous version if the need arise. There are also “How to Videos” within the application that will help you accomplish a given tasks.

To extend the functionality of OLW, it works well with Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook office productivity software. You can synchronize tasks, events and contacts with Outlook 2003 and 2007, export any workspace list to Excel, Open and save files directly from Office XP, 2003 or 2007, save documents to your workspace directly from Word on your PC. I read in PC World (Spanbauer, 2008) that documents can also be edited in comparable applications such as (see Web Byte entry for 10/20/08 on this free downloadable software). Office Live Updates are available from within the OLW application if you have the MS Office programs listed above installed on your PC. Microsoft SharedView, mentioned previously, allows up to 15 people in different locations to share your screen and collaborate in real time.

There is a lot of help available with OLW in addition to what is within the application. On the screen within Microsoft Office Live Workspace to download SharedView are tips on using this application as well as links on working smarter and faster, make SharedView work for you, learn how to use SharedView and a User Assistance Homepage with links to Release Notes, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and Table of Content with Scenarios, Hot Topics, Session Management, Sharing Applications and Handouts, Using Options Dialog and Suggested Reading. There is also a Community section where users can help each other or share ideas, get the latest news, forums to ask questions and get help; a blog where product news, insight and tips are available and an Examples section showing how people are using OLW.

I noticed MS Access was not part of the Office productivity software mentioned that work well with OLW. With all this help and access to people actually working on this project, I see where an avid user of Access can, just maybe, make a suggestion that if possible, MS Access be integrated into OLW in the next version

Base on the amount of space, the maximum size of a file and the number of people who can collaborate on a project, I feel this application is best suited for smaller projects with low volume interaction. But I like it and it has and continues to sever my needs quite well. Matter of fact, I think I’ll send this link to my Pastor (just started a new church) and we can use this application for planning our upcoming projects and events.

I hope this information was of help to you and pass it on to others or send them an email with the link to this post that would navigate them directly to this article.

As always, email me with your topics and let’s have a good time learning together!

Helpful Links
Microsoft Office Live Workspace Links

User Assistance Homepage


Workspace FAQ and Office Web Applications

Microsoft Office Live Workspace

Spanbauer, S (March 24, 2008). Hands On: Microsoft Office Live Workspace. PC World

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