Microsoft has upgraded their email services (e.g. Hotmail) to include several new and cool options. It has an improved spam filter and a way to quickly sweep your inbox to remove unwanted clutter. You can also share multiple photos with more ease and with automatic resizing, you don’t have to worry about converting the photos before sharing. But perhaps the best upgrade is the new editing features for Word, Excel, and Powerpoint documents, directly in your browser without having to own the software. I’ll focus on this last feature as it is probably the most useful to most people.

To edit a Word document (for example), you must have an email that has the document as an attachment. Click on the email and then click on the attachment (make sure not to click on “Download”). On the next page, you will see a tab at the top labeled “Edit in Browser”. Click on that and then accept the license agreement to proceed to the next page which is a toned down version of the familiar Word editor. You can make changes and then save. You are given the option to return the document to the original sender with your changes added.

This is a great feature for those that do not own Microsoft Office, but still need to collaborate on Office documents with others. Google Docs has been around for a long time and Open Office has also been available for a long time for download, but this is the first free incarnation of Office Online that I’m aware of. Kudos to Microsoft for this great offering.