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Office Web Apps for EDU Question

  • Hi Folks, I'm helpdesk manager at a small private college in the midwestern united states.   This summer, we switched from on-site exchange to Office 365 with their 'A2' Academic plan.  

    The migration went amazingly well for email, and we've been thrilled so far.   But we were under the impression that students would be able to use the office web apps (word, excel, PP) to create and edit documents online with this service.  In fact, since spring, we've been trumpeting this function to incoming freshmen.  

    Yet for the life of me, I can't figure out where students need to go, or what we need to do to set it up so they can create and edit documents with the Office Web Apps.  

    Here's an example of my personal account, showing that the license for "Office Web Apps for EDU" is assigned to me. 


    Yet when logged in, I have no links to the Office Web Apps.  The best I can do is email myself a document, and open it in my browser which is the barebones preview with no editing options.  

    Do we need to do something to enable the links to web apps?  Is it a different site they log into?  We're currently using to log into OWA, do we have another site we need to be using to access the web apps?  

    Our points of contact with microsoft as well as our consultant, seems to have resulted in some confusion that led our IT director to believe we simply don't have that option with our A2 license, but I'm quite sure we do, since it shows me right on the page that "Office Web Apps for EDU" license is assigned to me (and, for that matter, all the users we migrated from AD who matched the right security groups). 

    This has to be something simple, and your help would be genuinely appreciated!  



    *ETA*--In case this is helpful, this is the what the site looks like when you click the "home" tab:  

    I feel like the links to Word, Excel, Powerpoint web apps should be on this page, no? 

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  • Hello Matthew


    Thanks for your detailed post.  Your helpdesk background shows in the detail ;)


    Students store personal documents in SkyDrive, which has Web Apps.  Documents from your institution can use Web Apps as part of your A2 plan.

    The Web Apps feature is used when you view a document in your browser, from either SharePoint or SkyDrive.  The picture below shows documents in my Shared Docs library.  I've selected the drop down menu to get more options.


    When it opens in the browser, it should look like this.


    In SkyDrive to create a document, log into SkyDrive and use the Create: buttons.  Give the document a name and get creating. 


    Creating documents in SharePoint Online needs a bit more setup, particularly around templates and assigning them to document libraries.

    I'll save this reply and get back to about the SharePoint portion of your question

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  • Hi again Matthew.  

    I found this useful post that answers the question.

    Internet Explorer and Mozilla / Firefox have add-ons that will try to create and open the new Office document using locally installed software.  These instructions tell you how to disable the add-ons to "force" Web Apps to be used.

    Essentially, if your students access SharePoint and want to create a document, they will need to know how to find and disable these add-ons.

    For Internet Explorer

    To disable the add-on:


    Internet Options > Programs > Manage add-ons


    Disable "SharePoint OpenDocument Class"




    For Mozilla / Firefox


    If you are using Firefox, you will need to disable an add-on as per below.


    A quick test using Chrome reveals you can create a document using web apps without being guided down the "open from your desktop" path. i.e. No Office software required to be installed locally.


    To create a document in a SharePoint Library using Web Apps

    When you create a SharePoint document library, you can configure an option to use a default document type.  Or you can go further and create a document template for the library that will be available when you create a document.  The default document type is a Word document.

    Create a new document, navigate to your target SharePoint library, select the Documents tab on the Ribbon and choose New Document. 

    Give the document and name and begin creating. 


    If you want to find out more about setting up default documents for libraries, this article has a good overview and some links into more detailed instructions.


    Post back here and let us know if this help.


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  • Thanks for the responses, Darrell, your first response led me to another question that I think ties into all this.  Originally, we were told that students would each receive a 25GB skydrive account as part of this Office 365 migration.  Later, we were told that no, that's not the case.   Do our students have (or--are they supposed to have--) skydrive accounts as part of Office 365 using their same login?  If so, how do they access that?  I have tried logging in with my O365 creds and have no luck.  

    Or, are you saying they each need to individually sign up for a personal skydrive account?  My main concern is figuring out how our students use this--Johnny needs to write a paper for intro to Philosophy--how does he do that, for example.  

    It will be really disappointing if they have to create and maintain two separate accounts with potentially differing passwords, etc.   

    The SharePoint thing, I'm a little less concerned with.  Most immediate hurdle is figuring out how to easily get the web apps in the hands of our students. 

    1 out of 1 people found this post helpful.

  • Hello Matthew.


    To log into Skydrive you need a Microsoft account (formerly called a Live ID.) 

    Having a Skydrive account will give you access to Web Apps and 7Gb of storage.  More on that further down in this post.

    Anyone can sign up for a Microsoft account. Yes, I suggest your students individually sign up for a personal Skydrive account. They can use their personal email address to sign up for it.

    I believe that Microsoft intended for students to sign up for a Microsoft account to use with Skydrive of their own accord.  When they finish studying at an institution, they still have control of their Skydrive.


    I understand the disappointment of having to maintain two accounts.  However, the Skydrive is for personal storage.  It just so happens that the storage will be used for Johnny to write his Philosophy paper.  This takes the burden off Academic IT staff, who would otherwise have to allocate a H: home drive and manage the storage and life cycle of that storage when students graduate. 


    Students will be in full control of their own storage and what they share from that storage.

    It would be a good thing to create a few brief documents for your students about how to sign up, how to use Skydrive and WebApps, and how to share documents from Skydrive.

    A comprehensive how to list can be found here:


    Skydrive storage capacity changed this year. In brief, if people were not using over 7Gb of the 25Gb capacity, their maximum storage was scaled down to 7Gb. 

    Here is a link about changes to skydrive storage.


    More storage can be purchased using the "Manage Storage" link on the Skydrive left hand panel.



    SkyDrive +20
    Add 20 GB to your free storage
    SkyDrive +50
    Add 50 GB to your free storage
    SkyDrive +100
    Add 100 GB to your free storage


    Regarding the A2 Plan and WebApps, this is specifically about adding the "Edit in Browser" functionality for your SharePoint Online sites.  It's quite separate from Skydrive.


    I hope this goes further in answering your questions.


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  • Hi Matthew,

    If you need further assistance on this issue, please feel free to let us know.

    @Darrell, thanks for your efforts.

    Allen Qiu

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