Microsoft beefs up Office Web Apps

Software giant rolls out a few improvements to its cloud-based Office Web Apps, specifically zeroing in on Excel and PowerPoint.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
2 min read

Microsoft tweaked its Office Web Apps earlier this week with a few enhancements designed to make Excel and PowerPoint a bit more user friendly.

Excel aficionados can now insert, delete, and rename individual worksheets in a workbook, just like you can in the desktop version. To do this, open your Excel file in the online editor. Then simply right-click on a tab for an existing worksheet. You'll see the three familiar options to Insert, Delete, or Rename. Inserting adds a new worksheet in front of your current selection. Deleting asking for your confirmation to permanently get rid of the sheet. And renaming pops up a dialog box for you to enter the new name.

Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

Excel users can also now take advantage of the popular AutoSum feature and use formula assistance to perform calculations and tap into popular formulas. You'll find the AutoSum button on the toolbar. Clicking on its down arrow calls up a list of formulas, such as Sum, Average, Max, and Min. You can than tap into the full array of functions and even view them by different categories, such as Commonly Used, Financial, Date & Time, and Statistical, just like in the desktop edition.

PowerPoint users also get a new feature. You can now change the visual theme used in your presentation at any time. Just click on the Change Theme button on the toolbar, and you can select from among almost 50 themes on the fly.

Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

You can access the free Office Web Apps at its own dedicated Web site, giving you the ability to create and edit your own Office documents stored online through Microsoft's cloud-based SkyDrive service.

Microsoft also offers some online tips, tricks, and tutorials to help new users get started using the programs in Office Web Apps, which include Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote.