Microsoft, Dropbox push partnership with browser-based Office integration

Office Online now opens, saves Dropbox docs; in-place editing is now part of Dropbox Web UI

Microsoft and Dropbox yesterday expanded the links between Office and online storage, coming through on pledges made last November when they inked their partnership.

In joint announcements Thursday, the firms put the finishing touches on the moves they promised in 2014. Microsoft added Dropbox as a storage option for Office Online, the browser-based versions of Excel, PowerPoint and Word that are free to consumers and part of every commercial Office 365 subscription plan.

"You can add your Dropbox account to easily browse, open and edit Office files with Office Online," Microsoft said in a blog yesterday. "You can also create new files in Office Online, and save them directly to your Dropbox."

Meanwhile, Dropbox added an "Open" button to the previews of Excel, PowerPoint and Word shown in the storage service's Web user interface (UI). When the Open button is clicked, the previewed document opens in the appropriate Office Online app.

"You'll ... be able to access your Dropbox directly from Office Online, so you can open any of your Dropbox files -- and save new files to Dropbox -- without leaving Office Online," the company said.

The Office Online changes were the last steps in several that the partners outlined in November. At the time, they said the Dropbox-Office Online integration would appear in the first half of 2015.

Previously, Microsoft had added Dropbox connections to the Office mobile apps on the iPad, iPhone and Android smartphones, and Dropbox had launched a Windows Phone app.

Another piece of the partnership, however, is still not in place: Integration of Dropbox with the upcoming upgrades to Office 2016 on Windows and OS X.

Neither company has hinted whether Dropbox will be offered as an online storage option for the on-premises suites, which are the biggest draw of Office 365 for both consumers and corporate workers. Office 2016 for Mac, for instance, which hit preview five weeks ago, does not offer Dropbox as a choice when adding another storage service.

Dropbox in Office online

Microsoft's Office Online now syncs with Dropbox as well as with OneDrive.

Copyright © 2015 IDG Communications, Inc.

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