Office Online Editing Available in Third-Party Cloud Storage Services

Microsoft on Wednesday announced that Office Online users can coauthor files in real time that are stored in third-party cloud storage services including Box, Citrix ShareFile, Dropbox and Egnyte.

Prior to this announcement, in order to coauthor Office Online files in real time, they had to be stored either in SharePoint or Microsoft OneDrive, a capability first added in 2013.

Since launching its Cloud Storage Partner Program (CSPP) last year, Microsoft has signaled support for letting third-party service providers integrate with Office Online in new ways. In addition to adding the real-time coauthoring capability to its CSPPs, Microsoft is also announcing that it's extending its Office for iOS integration to all partners in the CSPP. Microsoft is also adding integration between its email service and Box and Dropbox.

Microsoft had already permitted Dropbox users to coauthor Office files from Android and iOS devices and today the company is incrementally extending that to the rest of the CSPP members, though just for iOS.

"This integration lets users designate these partner cloud services as 'places' in Office, just as they can with Microsoft OneDrive and Dropbox," said Office Corporate VP Kirk Koenigsbauer, in a blog post announcing the incremental new capability. "Users can now browse for PowerPoint, Word and Excel files on their favorite cloud service right from within an Office app. They can open, edit or create in these apps with confidence that their files will be updated right in the cloud. Users can also open Office files from their cloud storage app in Office, then save any changes directly back to the cloud."

Edward Shi, an associate product manager at Box, said in a blog post that users who select its service as the default can access all of their Box files from Office and edited them using Microsoft's native cloud apps. "Further, when starting directly in Box's iOS app, you can open Office to edit your files and those changes automatically saved back to Box," Shi noted. "Or create a fresh Word, PowerPoint or Excel document, assign tasks to specific colleagues and save to Box. The ability to create, open, edit and save Office content in the Box for iOS app enables customers to efficiently create and collaborate on content from anywhere."

Microsoft's Koenigsbauer indicated Android support would follow later in the year. Over the next few weeks, he stated that Microsoft will let users attach files stored in Box and Dropbox to their messages.

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.

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