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A button to initiate group chats will be available soon for people using PowerPoint and Word via Office Online.

Microsoft Corp. is integrating the Skype-powered chat feature to the online version of its office suite to help enhance communication among people in separate locations who are collaborating and editing the same file online.

Microsoft calls it “real-time co-authoring.”

  • Document chat is available when collaborating with others in real-time in Word and PowerPoint. Simply click the Chat button to begin chatting with everyone working in the document
  • Continue to chat with those same people after leaving the document via Skype on your desktop or phone. Know when your team is working on the document and chime in

The improvements, according to Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT), will also allow users that started a chat in Office Online to continue conversations on their desktops or smart phones via Skype.

Previously initiating a chat inside the app was cumbersome as users needed to initiate chats through the main dashboard of OneDrive.

In the past a user can only have an Online Office chat with people who are included in the user’s Skype contact.

Nelson Siu, program manager for the Office shared experience team, said Microsoft will roll out the feature in the coming weeks.



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