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Microsoft Office cloud storageMicrosoft has announced new co-authoring features for users of Office Mobile and Office Online who store their files with cloud services such as Box, Dropbox and Egnyte. Tighter integration with these services means that files can be worked on ‘natively’ as they reside in the cloud service, without users having to come out of their office application.

The new options come nearly a year after the Cloud Storage Partner Program (CSPP) was launched in February 2015, when Microsoft invited cloud storage providers to connect their services to Office Online and Office for iOS. “Today, we’re adding real-time co-authoring with Office Online for documents stored in partner cloud services, extending our Office for iOS integration to all partners in the CSPP and enabling integration between Outlook.com and cloud storage providers Dropbox and Box,” wrote Kirk Koenigsbauer, Microsoft’s corporate VP for the Office team.

Instant co-authoring with Office Online is now available for users with documents stored in Box, Citrix ShareFile, Dropbox and Egnyte. Koenigsbauer also invited all Microsoft’s CSPP partners to integrate their storage services with Office for iOS so that users can designate these partner cloud services as ‘places’ in Office, as is possible now with Microsoft OneDrive and Dropbox. The new changes mean that users can browse for PowerPoint, Word and Excel files on their preferred cloud service from within an Office app without having to interrupt their train of thought by coming out of the application.

Box is now used by 41 million consumers and 54,000 paying businesses, including 55% of the Fortune 500. Among the new features offered are real time co-authoring between Box and Office Online and the integration of Box with Office for iOS and Outlook.com. Users can make concurrent, real time edits to content secured in Box including Word, Excel and PowerPoint files. Box, an early member in the Cloud Storage Partner Program, has introduced a new application for Windows 10 and integrations with both Office for iPad and iPhone. DropBox and Egnyte both also announced real time co-authoring the ability to collaborate across Powerpoint, word and Excel using documents stored in the cloud.

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