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One very common add-on that your system administrator may well have installed is something called the Office Web Apps. These are web-based versions of four of the Microsoft Office programs. Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote. If Office Web Apps is installed, then you can go into a Document Library and quickly browse and even edit documents without opening the actual Office program. I can take a simple Word document like this, just select it, and it's actually opening directly up in the browser.
I can see this headline here saying Microsoft Word Web App in the center. This would allow me to take a look at this document and even click the buttons saying Edit in Browser. Directly opening this up in the Microsoft Word Web App, where it is editable content. When you're editing in the web application version of the Office programs, you'll notice that you don't have the fully featured Ribbon that you might have in the application itself. You should regard the Web Apps as being a light version of the full Office applications.
So if you do need to do simple editing, they're great. They're very quick to use, very simple. But if you want to do something more dramatic, you might select the button that allows you to open the document directly in Word or PowerPoint or OneNote or Excel and do some more significant editing there. But for a simple change, it's just fine. I'm going to save this. Go back to my Document Library. We can see this also works with Excel. Back to the Document Library. That it works with OneNote.
OneNote files are always editable in the browser without selecting the New button, as the idea of OneNote is that it's always in Edit mode. Even this will work on PowerPoint as well. If you open up a PowerPoint deck, you can start the slideshow directly from the browser. It's a very quick way to run a slide deck. Of course if you want to do significant editing, you can open that directly up in the PowerPoint application itself.
Now the way I have the Office Web Apps installed, the default behavior is to open directly in the web browser application if it's available, rather than opening up in the client application. If you do want to directly open up any of these files in the client application, you could select from the drop-down menu, which gives you the options to Edit in Browser, or Edit in PowerPoint, or Word, or Excel, or OneNote. If you did want to change that behavior for the document library, it is actually a document library setting.
In your Advanced Settings of the document library, there is an option for how browser-enabled documents should work. Should they open in the client application, open in the browser, or use the server default, which is opening in the browser is the way I have it configured right now. If you've used web-based document applications like Google Docs or Zoho, you'll already know that these are very, very useful applications to have. Allowing you to browse and edit your documents on a laptop without Office installed, or on a different operating system, or even on a mobile device.
While Office Web Apps isn't officially part of SharePoint, it is a very common add-on to this server platform.
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