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What are the Differences Between Office Professional and Office Web Apps?

That’s a great question.  And unfortunately, a side by side comparison of the two is difficult to find.  In an effort to eliminate some of the mystery surrounding these products, I’ve created a quick summary that compares Office Professional Plus and Office Web Apps (both of which are available as part of the Office 365 product offering):

Essentially, Office Web Apps is a “light” version of Office Professional Plus.

Think of Office Professional Plus as your “traditional” Microsoft Office. It is the Office you are used to using – Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, etc.  It is a full copy of Office that sits on your machine and allows you to use each and every feature of the programs above.  If you have used Microsoft Office 2010 Professional (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Access, InfoPath, Lync, etc.) licensed in a traditional volume license manner, then you will find the two highly similar. See our next blog post which talks about the differences.      

On the other hand, Office Web Apps is a limited, online version of certain Office products including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote.  It provides a copy of the Microsoft Office programs, but with less functionality. I’ll use Microsoft Word for example.  The Word web app allows basic functionality (the ability to type, change fonts, bold, underline, etc.) but doesn’t allow you to use the more complex features (for example, editing pictures). It would be similar for other programs as well.

The benefit of Web Apps is that it is less expensive than Office Professional Plus.  Also, because it is web based, it can be accessed from any computer that has internet connectivity and a compatible browser. The downside is it does not offer as much capability as Office Professional Plus.  Web Apps tends to be beneficial for quick, light editing and for people who are not heavy users of the Office Suite.   If you want to try out the technology it is available for free at https://onedrive.live.com/about/en-us/  Just open an account and upload some Office files.  You can also see the same technology if you add Office files to Facebook. 


These links also provide some useful information:

For Web Apps: http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/web-apps/
These links also provide some useful information:
Detailed Guide - feature by feature comparison between the two products: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/office-online-service-description.aspx

For Web Apps: http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/web-apps/
For Office Professional Pro: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/office365/office-professional-plus.aspx

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