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Microsoft

 

PPT_1_SurfaceLaptop2 - crop (2).pngMicrosoft PowerPoint for the web with an updated header.

 

Microsoft has decided to retire the “Online” branding for the web version of Office and adopt new terminology for how we refer to the apps on the web.

 

Office uses sub-brands to denote our offerings such as Office 365 and Office 2019. Because our offerings have evolved to provide access to apps on more than one platform, it no longer makes sense to use any platform-specific sub-brands. In line with this approach, the official product name for what was previously referred to as “Office Online” is now simply “Office.” We have also discontinued use of the “Online” branding with each of the apps so “Word Online” is now “Word,” “Excel Online” is now “Excel,” etc.

 

Of course, at times we still need to make specific reference to the web version of Office so you may see us use the term “Office for the web,” which aligns with how we refer to Office on other platforms such as “Office for Windows,” “Office for Mac,” “Office for iOS,” and “Office for Android.” However, “…for the web” is not a new brand or strict naming convention so you may also see us also use terminology such as “…on the web,” “…on Office.com,” and “…in a browser.” We encourage people to use whichever terminology is most appropriate and provides the most clarity for a given context.

 

It is important to note that this branding change only applies to the Office apps. There is no change to the branding for our “Online” server products – specifically Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Project Online, and Office Online Server.

 

We have already made these changes across most of our in-product experiences, communications, and marketing and technical content and expect to complete the remaining updates relatively soon.

 

Today’s Office is a solution that spans platforms and devices connected through the cloud, and the web is a critical part of that. This name change reflects Microsoft’s commitment to providing first-rate experiences on each of its supported platforms and devices. We expect people to choose Office to get access to the best productivity experience on the planet, wherever and however they want to work.

 

To use Office on the web, get started at Office.com.

 

22 Comments

> We encourage people to use whichever terminology is most appropriate and provides the most clarity for a given context.

 

Seems to me that you've taken what was previous a very precise and unambiguous label and removed it. Which no doubt will cause confusion.

 

But, if we can use "whichever terminology" is most appropriate, I'm going to use the wording that provides the most clarity: Office Online.

Occasional Contributor

"Because our offerings have evolved to provide access to apps on more than one platform, it no longer makes sense to use any platform-specific sub-brands."

That reason doesn't make sense to me, because the capability sets offered across platforms are very different within Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, etc. While you may want to have unified branding (to make it appear that you have a unified offering across platforms), until you have unified and non-differentiated feature sets across the different platforms, surely the above change will just create massive confusion?

Senior Member

Looking forward to SharePoint for the Web

Occasional Contributor

I think if the online Office applications have functional parity with their locally-installed counterparts, then the name change makes sense, otherwise I feel it will create confusion amongst users.

 

 

Occasional Contributor

Personally, I'm against flaming "on the web", but this is just another stupid MS marketing move, another in a long history of stupid marketing moves and frankly I'm incensed!  Specifically "reusing" the same name for different products:

  • OneNote (for Windows vs for Office is the most recent example before this one. "For Windows" is another "improvement" that is missing key features!)
  • OneDrive (for Business vs for Consumer)
  • Skype (for Business vs for Consumer)
  • Office 365 (for Business vs for Consumer: look at the license terms)

.

Right, you've simplified 2 words, "Office Online" into 4, "Office for the Web".

.

Thanks for nothing!  This (dis)"improvement" just adds to the confusion.

.

Since it Office Online apps are the most dumbed down version of "Office", it is vital for users asking for help to qualify exactly which version they are using. It is bad enough when people already use the "Office" umbrella to ask questions about Office for Mac in an Office for Windows forum. Office Mac STILL has fewer features than Office Windows. So if the user follows your advice and simple calls it "office" or "Word", they get the wrong answer! The specific example I encountered yesterday is "Photo Albums" in PowerPoint.  According to MS documentation, the mac version still does not support that feature:

https://support.office.com/en-us/article/photo-albums-aren-t-available-in-powerpoint-for-mac-1db1a05...

.

 

"Boy, that escalated quickly"
Occasional Contributor

I just reread that Orwellian masterpiece of doublespeak and this gem jumped out at me:

"so you may also see us also use terminology such as “…on the web,” “…on Office.com,” and “…in a browser.” We encourage people to use whichever terminology is most appropriate and provides the most clarity for a given context."

.

Please do explain how your multiple examples for the same product provide "clarity" when compared to simply using "Office Online", or "Word Online"

AD6970F5-908F-4536-8513-6EE054C6E27B.jpeg

What's the Word on this?

Occasional Contributor

@ron S.I'm all for us expressing our view on important changes from Microsoft, and I disagree with what Microsoft is doing in this instance. I'm not for personal attacks on the messenger though. Please keep it civil.

Occasional Visitor

@Darrell Webster For our product, I'm leaning toward just adding a period. [Edit in Word. Online.]

Occasional Contributor
I can see the reasoning behind it but I think it's going to confuse people. there's a new feature coming in PowerPoint that will be in PowerPoint on the web first, and then come to PowerPoint on Windows and later on Mac: you still need to use the qualifier (web/online/browser, Windows, mac, iOS, Android etc) but explaining that to people is a tiny bit less consistent and searching for information is a tiny bit harder. I suspect the people venting are either thinking about the potential for confusion or thinking the time spent on this could have been spent on something else.

I guess this is the answer

open-browser-app.png

Occasional Contributor

This is the reason we have a Microsoft Styles Handbook.

Occasional Contributor

you know the handbook doesn't apply (or get distributed) *outside * the company? :thinking_face:

Microsoft

Wow, this had a much more passionate response than I was expecting, but I really do appreciate you all sharing your feedback and the enthusiastic interest in this.

 

Perhaps it would help if I explain a little more. There are two key reasons why we made this change. First, most people refer to Office in terms of the solution rather than the platform they’re using it on, so this change actually reflects how people commonly refer to the Office apps today. And second, this change reinforces the notion that Office is a cloud-connected productivity solution that is accessible from a variety of platforms and endpoints.

 

Expanding on the first point, when most people use an Office app they usually refer to it by just the name of the app and don’t necessarily specify which platform they are using. Different people might say "I'm reviewing a Word document" or "I’m editing some slides in PowerPoint" and one person means they're doing it on a PC, one person means they're doing it on a Mac, one person is using a phone, and another person is working in a browser. There isn't necessarily a need to differentiate which platform they’re using but if they felt the need to do so, they could easily add that extra bit of specificity. 

 

To the second point, when people use Office on the web we believe it’s because they want to use Office (and the expectations that go along with that) and have chosen to use it through a browser because of personal preference or situational need. The product is Office and the browser is simply the means they’ve used to access it. Having a unique brand for the web implies that it’s a different product which isn’t really the case. Now we recognize there are some differences in functionality with Office on each platform and that will probably always be the case to some degree. But most of those differences have to do with optimizing the apps for the unique capabilities and predominant use cases of those platforms, and people usually have different expectations of what they want to do with the product based on which platform they’ve elected to use. The other differences that exist do tend to even out over time. But at the end of the day, Office is the product and people can choose to access it whichever way makes the most send for them on the desktop, web, or mobile.

 

I hope this adds a little more clarity and context for why we made this change. If there’s one thing to take away from the significance of this change, it’s that Office is a solution that spans across platforms and we are committed to making Office the best experience it can be on each of those platforms. Office for the web is not a separate product – it is an integral element of the Office experience. The time has come for us to acknowledge that it doesn’t need to have its own unique brand... it is Office. 

Super Contributor

I disagree. Regular users know tools, they don't usually know or care about "solutions" or "services".

 

Kevin, app can imply open inside Teams, if that menu is shown in Teams..

 

How about instead playing PR semantics MS would add real value to "online" versions. I get constant notifications from a few voice ideas with annoyed users comments about a seemingly easy option. Colors. If you say Office is a solution, how come its "not Online" version is so limited?

https://excel.uservoice.com/forums/274580-excel-for-the-web/suggestions/34086466-excel-online-more-c...

https://excel.uservoice.com/forums/274580-excel-for-the-web/suggestions/19114552-multiple-font-color...

Senior Member

If you're a trainer or a teacher and you've said, "Open OneNote", you would rethink this new plan to drop the "Online". You walk around the computer lab and see users opening OneNote, OneNote Online, OneNote 2016, and who knows what else opening.

 

It's already confusing enough.

 

Remember, we're teaching 10-year-olds and younger. 

@Oleg K, I have started to see three choices for opening a document in Teams.

  • Edit in Teams
  • Open in browser
  • Open in app

When I think about when I write steps in a how-to article, I usually start by referencing the location.

1. In the General channel, select the Files tab.

2. Select the document name you want to open.

The document will open in Teams to preview.

You have three options to edit the document.

Edit in Teams - the document will open within Teams and use Office in the browser to edit.

Open in browser - the document will open in a new tab in your browser and use Office in your browser to edit.

Open in app - the document will open in the Office application on your desktop to edit. 

 

Just for fun, I welcome those reading the post to re-word the instructions above. Try and make it as simple as possible, but clear when you are referring to Office in browser, or in app.

Occasional Contributor
Amen, Brother. And many users are , shall we say. "not technical?" Many of our users need and expect hand holding for what we might consider a trifle. Having these users in a world with out "Desktop," WebApp, "Client" or "Online" is going to be a *huge* confusion fact for all of your support center and level Three Analysts.

We're still looking for some consistency though. In this screenshot,

  • From Teams it reads "Open in Desktop app" meaning PowerPoint on desktop
  • From SharePoint opening the same document it reads Open in PowerPoint (the old "brand")
  • From Teams, opening a OneNote notebook reads "Open in OneNote" rather than Open in app. (The new "brand" is in effect in this case.)

Open-Office-in.jpg

Occasional Contributor
Oh, and @ Mary Branscombe You can get the latest style book at Amazon. It is a major stylebook in use at one large company (the one I work for). I even have differences on the stylebook for a variety of issues, such as: *Bolding every option used in instructions (which M/S authors are inconstant). If you've ever tried to create a step-action table, job aid, How-To, you know that several options make the pages black, complicated and difficult for users to use. *Titles and Headers should capitalize each non-article. "Stream security: handled in two ways," should be Stream Security: Handled in Two Ways.
Super Contributor

I wonder why there are 3 options in Teams at all. Is editing in Teams much different than in a browser? I haven't used Teams in a while. I think there were only 2 options like half a year before.