OWA (Office Web Apps) seems to be the latest craze of the SharePoint 2013 release. Here I will highlight five reasons why you will want to become familiar with when chatting about OWA.
1. OWA supports the Office clients across MULTIPLE browsers.
IE, Firefox, Chrome, any browser: OWA doesn’t care, it just works! In a world of BYOD and user preference, OWA provides a common way for users to work with documents without having to worry about the device they are using. If they have a browser, they can view and edit Office content. This makes the transition from PC to Mac to iPad to Surface almost seamless. In previous versions of SharePoint, this feature was presented, but each browser had a different behavior, and this limitation greatly impacted the effectiveness of OWA in the workplace. With 2013, OWA truly is a cross-browser experience.
2. The experience in OWA is very similar to the experience within the Office client.
One reason that users like OWA so much is that the experience they get in the browser is very similar to the experience they get in the full client. This means that a user can learn how to do something one time and then apply it to multiple scenarios. Providing users with this streamlined feature set will greatly improve their ability to complete the tasks at hand without having to worry about the environment they are working in.
3. OWA provides a way to preview documents within libraries.
For years users have been asking about the ability to have a preview of documents when they are searching for data. When OWA is configured within the Farm, users are able to see previews of their content by simply selecting the ellipse next to the document. And not only can they preview the document, they can also interact with it in ways that are common to them, such as Print to PDF or Download. By having the document preview, users can more quickly see that they are working with the document that they expect.
4. OWA improves the quality of search results.
Document previews are powerful in libraries, but once they are applied to Search, their value is truly seen. When users conduct a search, they are looking through masses of content trying to identify the specific things that they need. When OWA is utilized in Search, users are able to not only see previews of the content, but they are also able to see exact locations where their search query is located within the documents.
5. OWA Allows for easy sharing of content through embedded documents.
One of the final perks of OWA is how easy it is to share content on your site by embedding documents directly on pages. When you open a document using OWA, you can simply select Share – Embed, and you will be given the code needed to embed the document anywhere on the site. Once embedded, the document will be displayed in an interactive mode that allows users to quickly and easily access the content.