Everyone is eagerly awaiting the release of Office 2010 and the new PowerPoint (or they should be – it is the best release/improvement since PowerPoint XP!). With the new version Microsoft offers a new set of tools with its Office Web Applications for PowerPoint, Excel, Word, and OneNote. For a limited time anyone can start using the public beta (up to the first 50k or so users).

– You need a Microsoft email account (hotmail, live.com, etc.)

– If you have not setup a Sky Drive (virtual hard drive) you will need to do so

– Go to your Sky Drive documents folder and drag a .pptx file there

* The first one uploaded will be recognized as a Microsoft document and then offer you the opportunity to participate in the Office Web Apps public beta – accept and you are all set!

I have a few more posts set to review the use and features, but here is my personal opinion of the PowerPoint Web App as of today. Microsoft has pulled together a major amount of code development in a short amount of time. The functionality is very limited.

But I can clearly see how it will rapidly improve and become a mainstay in presentation use. It lives in the ‘cloud’ and updates do not have to wait for the standard upgrade time of services pack or new versions. I think the web apps will have the quickest development within Microsoft over the next several years – one we will directly benefit from.

I view the PowerPoint Web Apps as 2 sided:
1. Sharing a presentation online (which is very easy and very well done). Microsoft has this use incredibly far down the developement cycle. It works.

2. Creating or editing a presentation online. This is definitely a 1.0 release and the feature set is limited, a bit frustrating, and will definitely get better and more usable.

– Troy @ TLC