Box, Dropbox users can now edit Office documents together in real time

Box documents are now coming to Office for iOS, too

Business users who rely on cloud storage providers like Dropbox and Box now have some improved tools in their collaboration arsenal, thanks to a set of integrations that Microsoft announced Wednesday

Starting Wednesday, Office Online users can work in real time on documents, spreadsheets and presentations shared inside Box, Dropbox, Citrix ShareFile and Egnyte. That means those folks who don't use Microsoft's systems to store their files will still be able to use the Office web apps to work together on the same file all at once. 

The real-time, co-authoring feature was already available for people who used Microsoft OneDrive and SharePoint.

new cloud storage options for office mobile and office online 2 Microsoft

Office for iOS now supports directly opening files stored in Box, in addition to Dropbox, OneDrive and SharePoint.

In addition to the Office Online support, Office for iOS now also supports editing documents directly from Box, following Microsoft's integration with Dropbox to provide that same functionality. Other cloud providers, including Edmodo, Egnyte and ShareFile, will be following suit soon, according to Microsoft.

That means users who store their files with those cloud providers will be able to access them from the relevant Office apps without having to jump through hoops. 

Finally, Microsoft also announced that Box and Dropbox will integrate with Outlook.com, so that users of those services will be able to send attachments that they have stored in the cloud either as traditional files or as shared links. It's a feature that will allow people to bypass the traditional limits on attachment size, if they need to share large files like videos. 

According to Box CEO Aaron Levie, the changes required a lot of work from Microsoft to make its systems work with other storage providers. Overall, he thinks that the new integrations are part of a larger trend in the cloud software-as-a-service market toward providing more and deeper open integrations between platforms.

Wednesday's announcements are part of Microsoft's Cloud Storage Partner Program, which allows companies like Box and Dropbox to work with the tech giant and integrate their services with its productivity software. The move makes sense for Microsoft, since it's competing hard with Google in the real-time collaboration market, and not everyone is interested in storing their files in OneDrive or SharePoint.

What remains to be seen is how deep any cloud storage integration will go within Microsoft's products. The company is currently working on making real-time co-authoring possible for SharePoint and OneDrive users inside the Office 2016 desktop applications, and already has a working integration for Word 2016. It will be interesting to see if that gets extended to other storage providers. 

Levis wasn't able to shed any light on Microsoft's plans, but he said that the company's strategy and the way the cloud market is going in general point toward a future where real-time co-authoring could be possible anywhere, regardless of what device someone is using. 

"It would certainly make sense that you’ll see more of a consistent experience no matter what the user endpoint is," Levie said.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Microsoft

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Blair Hanley Frank

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?