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Office Online Server receives an update: improvements across the board

Microsoft started bringing the Office client to the web after facing some grave competition from Google – initially known as Office Web Apps, the offering built a good foundation. Microsoft later renamed it to Office Online, and then earlier this year launched Office Online Server – a server, that businesses could run in their own data centers.

Office Online Server

The ability to run Microsoft-built software on infrastructure that a business already owns is quite an attractive one – for one, it gives privacy as your data remains with you, but most importantly, you can still rely on Microsoft for support.

The Office Online Server – or OOS – can serve web versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote; it offers the same functionality as Microsoft offers to its consumers via its own Office Online service.

What’s new

The November update for OOS is the first significant update for the server, and it includes a whole bunch of improvements – from performance to overall polish and UI enhancements.

Here’s what’s new:

  • Improved performance while co-authoring in Word Online.
  • Support for embedded Power View sheets in Excel Online.
  • Several improvements for tables in Word Online and PowerPoint Online, including better drag-and-drop support.
  • Support for showing spelling errors inline in the PowerPoint editor.
  • Improved picture resizing experience in Word Online.
  • Copy and paste improvements in PowerPoint Online.
  • Support for shapes in Excel Online viewer.
  • Significant improvements for users who rely on assistive technologies – HTML Markup updated to support W3C accessibility standards more fully.

Availability

The update is available via Microsoft’s Volume Licensing Servicing Centre right now – you must uninstall the previous version of OOS to install the latest version, it doesn’t update by itself.

The Office team also mentioned that only the most recent version of OOS would be supported with bug fixes and security updates, the previous versions will receive neither of these. If your business relies on OOS, you should probably get the update.

The team plans to release a major update every four months, but a detailed timeline will be announced ‘within the next two weeks.’

You can read more about the update, at the official Office blog.

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