Why is the core functionality so hard to get to?

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Warning:  This will probably be long.  I’m incredibly disappointed in how hard it is to get started with some of the basic functionality I expected with Office 365…
We are a small business (~15 users) currently using hosted exchange from a non-Microsoft vendor.   We currently use installed versions of Office 2007 and Office 2010 for Document/Spreadsheet/Presentation functionality.  We also have an internally hosted wiki (not used very much).  And generally don’t have a good way to share files and information within a project.
I am evaluating Office 365 to see if it can replace our hosted email, AND also web-based office and team collaboration functions.   I signed up for the E3 trial last week.  One reason I went with E* instead of P1 was for flexibility – team sites, email storage, deployable office suite.  I particularly like the idea of being able to set up a team site for each project team. My thought is that I would use the E2 plan as my base and give some people E3 if they need the installed version of office.
One of the core things I was hoping to do is replace the majority of our installed Office suites with the web versions.  So, it MUST be easy to create, edit, and store Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents using the web-based interface.
It’s not easy.  In fact, it seems like this core functionally is almost deliberately hidden.
If I go to “Shared Documents” on my “Team Site”, there is not an obvious “Create New Document” button or menu choice.  There is “Add document”, which allows me to upload an existing file, but not create a new one.  But I do see “Library Tools”, and a “Documents” menu.  Ok. It has a “New Document” button.   BUT I CAN ONLY CREATE WORD DOCUMENTS, NOT EXCEL AND POWERPOINT!  Yes, I’m shouting.  I want OFFICE 365, not WORD 365.  And it launches the installed version of Word.  How the heck do I create a new word document using just the web interface?   
I searched the boards and found that if I want to create anything but Word documents, I have to go through a multiple step process to add new templates for Excel and PowerPoint as content types for the library, which includes creating these with installed office and uploading them.  And (apparently) I (or my users) will have to do this for every library.  And I still don’t have any idea how to create any of the “big 3” file types using just the web interface.
This is, to put it bluntly, INEXCUSABLE.  You have made it extremely HARD TO USE the core functionality of Office 365.  Office 365 needs to be able to support the creation and modification of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents OUT-OF-THE-BOX.
Please tell me I missed something in the setup, a checkbox or something that disabled this? 
So I uploaded a word document or two for testing.  I can now edit them via the web or my installed Word version.  That’s good.   So I create a new Folder to put my test documents in.  How the heck to I move my Test word document in to my new folder?  There’s no “move” command.  There’s a “Send To” which will allow me to make a copy, assuming I know and can type in the URL of where I want to copy it to.  I can “upload” a new document and select the folder, but can’t move an existing one.  Really?  It’s hard to move a file to a folder?  I was finally able to move a document by opening the library using “Open with Explorer”. 
I’m not where to go from here.  The presentation and tools of Office 365 seem pretty slick, but it’s hard to do what we will commonly need to do.  And the folks in my company (myself included) are a fairly tech-savvy bunch.  Only 3 days into the evaluation, and this is not going well.  I had such high-hopes that Microsoft really had a winner here and it’s been such a disappointment so far.  Google Apps (which is your competition on this) is not nearly as “slick” or comprehensive, but it’s easy to do the things we need to do every day, and requires less administration.
What am I missing?  What am I doing wrong?  Why shouldn’t I just give up now?
Thanks,
Doug

1 out of 1 people found this post helpful.

Verified Answer
  • Hi Doug,

     

    This is Tim with Microsoft Office 365 SharePoint Support.

     

    Lets start off with your first issue regarding the content types for your document libraries.

    A document library is created with 1 default content type. When you create the document library, you can click on the more options button and see at the bottom where it says "Document Template" and be able to choose Word, Excel, PowerPoint, or OneNote for the default content types. After the library is set up with the default content type, you can go through the steps to create the additional content types and add them. You can create a template of a library that you already have set up with all the content types and then be able to use that template to create other libraries, hence not needing to set up the content types again.

    I am glad to hear that you were able to find how to open the library in explorer view to move the document to the folder that you created.

     

    Thanks,

     

    Tim Muth

    Microsoft Office 365 SharePoint Support

    0 out of 1 people found this post helpful.

  • Hi Edwin,

     

    Below are the steps you can take to create a content type.

     

    Adding a Document Content Type:

    1. First create either a Microsoft Word, Excel, or PowerPoint template
    2. I just opened a new Excel workbook and saved it as an Excel Template
    3. I saved it to my Desktop
      1. Next go to your site collection
      2. Click on Site Actions-->Site Settings
      3. Under "Galleries" click on "Site Content Types"
      4. Click Create
      5. Enter a name for the content type
      6. For "Select Parent Content Type From" chose "Document Content Type"
      7. For Parent Content Type chose "Document"
      8. I left the existing group as "Customer Content Type" and clicked OK
      9. Next click on the custom content type you just created (should be listed in the site content type page under "Custom Content Type")
      10. Click to Upload a new document template and choose the one you saved to the desktop, then click OK
      11. Next I went to a Document Library-->Library Tools-->Library-->Library Settings
      12. Click on Advanced Settings under "General Settings"
      13. In the "Content Types" section choose "Yes" to allow management of content types and click OK
      14. In Site Settings you should now see the "Content Types" section
      15. Click on "Add from existing site  content types"
      16. You should see the name of the site content type you created in the "Available Site Content Types" listing
      17. Highlight it, click "Add", and click OK
    Thanks,

    Tim Muth

    Microsoft Office 365 SharePoint Support

    0 out of 1 people found this post helpful.

  • There are several "Verified Answers" to this thread.  However, the closest correct answer is:

    "Yes, it is hard to get to."

    The "why" is still a mystery and will likely remain so.

    mchv2.0 summed it up pretty well just recently, stating that office 365 is not really a true cloud solution.  The current Microsoft direction seems to be that Office 365 is a supplement to your Microsoft operating system desktop and your installed Microsoft Office suite.

    As long as Microsoft continues to make the simple things hard instead of the complex things easy, it will struggle.

    Doug

    2 out of 2 people found this post helpful.

All Replies
  • Hi Doug,

     

    This is Tim with Microsoft Office 365 SharePoint Support.

     

    Lets start off with your first issue regarding the content types for your document libraries.

    A document library is created with 1 default content type. When you create the document library, you can click on the more options button and see at the bottom where it says "Document Template" and be able to choose Word, Excel, PowerPoint, or OneNote for the default content types. After the library is set up with the default content type, you can go through the steps to create the additional content types and add them. You can create a template of a library that you already have set up with all the content types and then be able to use that template to create other libraries, hence not needing to set up the content types again.

    I am glad to hear that you were able to find how to open the library in explorer view to move the document to the folder that you created.

     

    Thanks,

     

    Tim Muth

    Microsoft Office 365 SharePoint Support

    0 out of 1 people found this post helpful.

  • Tim,

    So the answer is basically "Yes, it is hard to use?"

    One of the key reasons I'm looking at Office 365 is to save me time - SysAdmin stuff is my nights-and-weekends job.  If I have to spend all my time explaining to my users how to create and edit documents, I'm not going to save any time at all.  Worse, it will cut into the hours I can spend doing "my real job", which has a real cost in lost billable hours.  I shudder to think how long I will have to spend working with the sales people just to show them how to create a new Excel file using only the web interface - I still haven't figured out how to do that!  

    At least the "express team site" includes the main content types by default.  

    So let me ask a specific question:  How can I use the express team site (or modify the "express team site" template) to allow me to create a NEW Word, Excel, or PowerPoint document using ONLY the web interface?  I do not want it to open Word/Excel/PowerPoint on my PC, even if it is installed.

    And another specific question:  How can I modify the default personal team site for all users to include all document types in its document libraries so that when I add a new user I don't have to teach them how to do it?

    Third specific question:  How do I move a document in a library to a folder in the same library using only the web interface?

    Doug

    1 out of 1 people found this post helpful.

  • Doug,

    If you read the reply from Tim, he tells you the answer to your specific question. Once the templat of a library is done, it can be used to create any new ones you may need.

  • Robert,

    If you read my specific questions, you will find that they are not answered.

    Doug

  • I'm more than a little disappointed that MS didn't answer all Doug's questions the first time. It's almost as if Tim picked one little part of the post and ignored the rest. I've spent the last 4 hours trying just to open/create documents using only a browser when Office is installed on the PC. I need to be able to test this functionality but every computer I have already has Office, so how do I do this. Frankly, if it wasn't for another post I would never have found the Express Team Site.

    So again, here are the questions (just in case you didn't read Doug's post);

    1. "How can I use the express team site (or modify the "express team site" template) to allow me to create a NEW Word, Excel, or PowerPoint document using ONLY the web interface?  I do not want it to open Word/Excel/PowerPoint on my PC, even if it is installed."

    2. "How can I modify the default personal team site for all users to include all document types in its document libraries so that when I add a new user I don't have to teach them how to do it?"

  • Hi Tim,

    Can you explain a little more what are "the steps to create the additional content types "?

    Thanks!

  • Hi Edwin,

     

    Below are the steps you can take to create a content type.

     

    Adding a Document Content Type:

    1. First create either a Microsoft Word, Excel, or PowerPoint template
    2. I just opened a new Excel workbook and saved it as an Excel Template
    3. I saved it to my Desktop
      1. Next go to your site collection
      2. Click on Site Actions-->Site Settings
      3. Under "Galleries" click on "Site Content Types"
      4. Click Create
      5. Enter a name for the content type
      6. For "Select Parent Content Type From" chose "Document Content Type"
      7. For Parent Content Type chose "Document"
      8. I left the existing group as "Customer Content Type" and clicked OK
      9. Next click on the custom content type you just created (should be listed in the site content type page under "Custom Content Type")
      10. Click to Upload a new document template and choose the one you saved to the desktop, then click OK
      11. Next I went to a Document Library-->Library Tools-->Library-->Library Settings
      12. Click on Advanced Settings under "General Settings"
      13. In the "Content Types" section choose "Yes" to allow management of content types and click OK
      14. In Site Settings you should now see the "Content Types" section
      15. Click on "Add from existing site  content types"
      16. You should see the name of the site content type you created in the "Available Site Content Types" listing
      17. Highlight it, click "Add", and click OK
    Thanks,

    Tim Muth

    Microsoft Office 365 SharePoint Support

    0 out of 1 people found this post helpful.

  • I am having the same problems - how on Earth do you move a document to a folder without needing to jump through hoops? I am okay with most computer stuff and can figure out how to make most things happen, but, truly, the way Microsoft has set this system up is beyond awful.

    I figured out how to move a document to a folder by using the "send to" option, but then it got to pasting the "url" for one particular document and it said the address was too long. I shortened it and it somehow worked, but I cannot possibly expect my clerical staff to do this stuff - it just is not easy in any way. It lacks any flow and is certainly not an intuitive system. If I have to spend my days explaining how to do what should be very simple tasks I will go crazy... and possibly broke. At this point, I think networking our computers would be easier than this!

    Any suggestions on how I might get past this, or other options for cloud computing, would be greatly appreciated.

  • did you ever get a satisfactory answer?

  • There really is no answer - O365 isn't designed as a true cloud solution and until MSFT decides to offer hosted Office software, it never will be. It's basically a way of connecting hosted documents to your desktop software using web apps as viewers. Google Apps is different because the software is hosted, but of course it's not Office.

    Not sure what you're looking for but if you want what the original poster requested - an easy way to create new Office docs on any site - I developed a web part that will do that (and install the templates). To download choose

    "Adding a 'Create New Office Documents' web part  - with icons." from the drop down on this page.

  • I have to agree with you.  I kept looking for Office app icons and there are none.  I can't even get to a site to try the suggestions from MSFT on here because my Sharepoint site has been "setting up" for 24 hours now.  I do enjoy the "this may take a few minutes" message.  I guess that "this may take a few days" wouldn't pass MSFT's marketing department.

  • There are several "Verified Answers" to this thread.  However, the closest correct answer is:

    "Yes, it is hard to get to."

    The "why" is still a mystery and will likely remain so.

    mchv2.0 summed it up pretty well just recently, stating that office 365 is not really a true cloud solution.  The current Microsoft direction seems to be that Office 365 is a supplement to your Microsoft operating system desktop and your installed Microsoft Office suite.

    As long as Microsoft continues to make the simple things hard instead of the complex things easy, it will struggle.

    Doug

    2 out of 2 people found this post helpful.

  • I am having the same trouble and share the author's frustration. I am a software developer and I cannot figure out how to open/create existing Excel documents or make use of the on-line offering in any constructive way. Good luck selling this service average users.

  • "As long as Microsoft continues to make the simple things hard instead of the complex things easy, it will struggle."

    In some ways, developing a new, online version of Office that is truly hosted might be easier than coming up with the reliable and secure connectivity required to to marry hosted document storage with desktop programs.  After 2 years that still hasn't improved. And  I think online Office is what people really want (and what 365 claims to be), not a hybrid cloud/desktop set up.  Hard though for a company with a desktop mentality to think differently. The problem is the world has changed and whereas people were pretty much forced to learn Office, the same isn't true of cloud based office software. 

  • My favorite thing was when I was asking my reseller what Lync dies (and did not do). He suggested going to FreeConferenceCall.com in order to get teleconferencing services.  So MS pulled together an 80% business solution which is really just a subscription model for desktop software.