Sign Up for Microsoft Office Live Workspace

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Microsoft Office Live Workspace, the recently announced online companion to Microsoft Office, now has a website where you can pre-register to use this new, free service. Once the beta launches, Microsoft Office Live Workspace users will be able to store 1000+ documents online and access them from any computer with a web browser and internet connection. You'll be able to invite other people to your workspace, where you will have control over who can view, edit, and comment on your Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents. You'll also be able to synchronize contact lists, task lists, and event lists with Outlook. However, you can upload other documents, too, like PDFs and pictures; you are not just limited to Microsoft Office file formats.

Your files will be protected against viruses by Microsoft Forefront Security for SharePoint, and they can only be accessed with a Windows Live ID and password. Despite numerous comparisons to online office suites, that is not what this is. Rather, Office Live Workspace is a place to store, share, and collaborate with others on your documents online, whether those documents are slideshows or spreadsheets, PDFs or photos. Although the current online office suites may work for light users, there are those who need the robust functionality of a full-fledged office suite, and they shouldn't have to miss out on the online component that's increasingly necessary in today's world. That's where Office Live Workspace comes in.

For people who have worked in larger companies, the description of the new service may sound familiar; it's been dubbed "Sharepoint Lite" by some, and it's true, the service will soon bring "regular users" some of the powerful online collaboration and sharing features large businesses have used for years in Sharepoint. While many will clamor to be the top online office suite, Office Live Workspace offers a different way to work: a combination of software you own (Microsoft Office) plus a service (Office Live Workspace).

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