Microsoft Office Web Apps launches embeddable PPT and XL documents, new features, availability

Microsoft's suite of free, browser-based productivity tools called Office Web Apps received a handful of feature upgrades today, which don't act as substitutes for desktop Office functionality, but instead bring Office documents out onto the Web.

As of right now, Office Web Apps users can embed Powerpoint presentations and Excel spreadsheets in blogs and websites via the PowerPoint and Excel mini Web apps. Below, I've embedded Microsoft's example Powerpoint slideshow, which shows the relatively simple process of uploading a .PPT file to SkyDrive, setting permissions, and embedding it. Clicking on the "full screen" icon in the lower right hand corner opens the full version of the PowerPoint Web app, and with appropriate permissions, users can edit the presentation and automatically update it while it's on the Web.

Excel data behaves in largely the same way, and Microsoft has added support for mobile browsers in the Excel Web App, so you can now view Word, PowerPoint, and Excel data on your smartphone.

Other improvements to the Office Web Apps suite include: Insert Clip Art in PowerPoint, Insert Chart in Excel, 20% more PowerPoint themes, support for Printing in Edit Mode in Word, and Open to Desktop Office from SkyDrive.

This functionality is available now on, now in seven more countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Russia, and Switzerland, in addition to the US, UK, Candada and Ireland, which already had access to the tools.

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