I am writing this in Microsoft Word, hardly an unusual way to author a document. But I'm not using Word as you know it—part of the large, complex Microsoft Office suite installed on your computer's hard drive. Instead, I am using a new, streamlined version of Word that for the first time resides on remote servers you reach through the Internet.
This new version of Word is used inside a Web browser. It works on both Windows PCs and Macs, and via the newer versions of the major browsers, including Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari and Chrome. It's free and it doesn't require you to have regular Office on your computer.
Word isn't the only Office component that's now available in a free online version. Microsoft has created similar simplified versions of Excel, PowerPoint and its OneNote note-taking program as part of the free online suite called Office Web Apps, which is available at office.live.com. To use the new online Office, you'll need a free account for the company's broader Windows Live online service.
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