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Working with Office 2010 applications and SharePoint

From: SharePoint 2010 Getting Started

Video: Working with Office 2010 applications and SharePoint

Let's briefly explore some of the other Office 2010 products and how they interact with SharePoint. While we don't have the time to dive deep into everything, this will give you a taste for they can do, and you can see if it's something that you are looking for. First, understand that SharePoint works very well with most Office products, fairly generically. We can pretty much put any Office document in a Document Library. While we often talk about Word documents, we can put Excel spreadsheets here, PowerPoint files, or even non-office documents like Text files, and PDFs.

Working with Office 2010 applications and SharePoint

Let's briefly explore some of the other Office 2010 products and how they interact with SharePoint. While we don't have the time to dive deep into everything, this will give you a taste for they can do, and you can see if it's something that you are looking for. First, understand that SharePoint works very well with most Office products, fairly generically. We can pretty much put any Office document in a Document Library. While we often talk about Word documents, we can put Excel spreadsheets here, PowerPoint files, or even non-office documents like Text files, and PDFs.

If you are working with Excel spreadsheets, for example, these can just be uploaded into a Document Library. This is very similar to using Word. From the backstage menu, you have the Save & Send section, which itself has Save to SharePoint. This dialog box looks very similar to the one in Word, although you do have a slightly different option here called Publish Options. Now this is only useful if you are using an advanced feature called Excel Services. You don't need to use this and in fact, if you don't have the SharePoint Enterprise Edition, it won't make sense to use because you can just save a workbook up into SharePoint.

Using the advanced feature called Excel Services, we can also do what's called Publishing the workbook into SharePoint. And the idea of this is you can take a workbook and make parts of it available for other people to read without sharing the whole thing. So, your Publish Options gives you the ability to say I want to show the Entire Workbook, or only certain Sheets, or only certain Items in the Workbook. This is not something we are going to explore in this course, but it's definitely something you should know about if you work with the lot of complex workbooks that you want to share parts of.

But Excel works just fine with normal SharePoint document libraries. If you are working with Access 2010, you should know that there is a new kind of database format in Access 2010 called an Access Web Database. You can create a new Web Database in Access, and this can actually then be published into SharePoint. What then happens is it creates a new site. This is a special section of SharePoint called Access Services. It is also only available in the SharePoint 2010 Enterprise Edition.

The difference here is that we are not just uploading our database as a file. We are actually creating a new SharePoint site based on the database. So, if you've ever had the issue of challenges when sharing an Access database that you created, it's a great way of doing it. The process of publishing your Access database as a SharePoint site will turn your Access tables into SharePoint lists. It will turn your forms into Web pages. It will turn your macros into workflows and make your Access database available over the Web to people that don't even have to have Access installed in order to be able to use it.

InfoPath is an Office program that can be used to create new custom forms, and you can save this form template into SharePoint. You could design, say, an Expenses Form that you can have other people fill out. Visio 2010 has some great new abilities in SharePoint 2010. You can now take a Visio diagram and make it available as a Web page so it can browsed by people without Visio. Overall, the integration between the Office 2010 products and SharePoint 2010 has become much tighter than ever before.

Office knows SharePoint. SharePoint knows Office. These things work very tightly together. Some of them have very specialized usage such as the Visio, Access, and InfoPath, while others like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, you are primarily going to be saving those files just into document libraries. Now one last thing to talk about if we are talking about SharePoint and Office. There is a new product called the Office Web Apps that is often installed by your farm administrators, not officially part of SharePoint, but it feels like it's part of SharePoint.

The idea with Office Web Apps, it can actually be the default way of looking at documents is that when I look at a document in a Document Library and I click this little dropdown menu, I have the ability to Edit in Microsoft Word, but I also have View in browser and Edit in browser. Office Web Apps are simply Web-based versions of four of the Microsoft programs: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote. If you would ever use products like Google Docs or Zoho, you will know that having a Web-based version of your Office applications can be very useful if you are on, say, an alternate machine that doesn't have Office installed, you are using a mobile device, that kind of thing.

So you can even do simple editing in here. I am browsing this in the browser, and I can click Edit in browser where I can kind of get an Office-like experience. I get the Ribbon here. I get some basic formatting options for styling, not a great deal, but I don't often need a great deal of editing options if I am in the browser. If I do want to significant editing, I can always click Open in Word and do it there, but a very useful thing to have directly accessible from your Document Library is Office Web Apps.

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SharePoint 2010 Getting Started

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Simon Allardice
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