oslw.jpgIt’s official. Microsoft Office Live Workspace, that was previously invitation only, has launch its public beta for the entire world to feast upon.

“An Online extension of Microsoft Office.”

This is just one more way to share your documents, but if you company is built on spreadsheets, there are a few things unique to Workspace that could help you out just enough to not be very helpful. Oh, and could it be used for SolidWorks Data?

If you use something like Zoho or Google Docs you may already have a lot of your documents online. The approach is a little different with Workspace. The idea with Workspace is to setup, ya know, a workspace, create documents offline and share them online. Here’s some nice things about it.

Upload multiple large documents
One big advantage for Live is the ability to upload multiple large files and more filetypes. In this beta version upload size is limited to 30MB per file. That means you could put a fairly large assembly set on there and share it with some of those crazy people you work with.
Linked with Microsoft Office
Live is directly synced with Microsoft Office on your computer. You edit it offline and save it to Live with a toolbar icon. You can do this with a Zoho plugin, but with Live it’s a little more seamless.
Contact, Lists, Events that link to Outlook
You can also add Notes, a list of Contacts or Events, put them in a workspace and add them to Outlook. Of course you also have to ability to share these also.

So, why isn’t it helpful? Here’s the lame parts:

  • You can’t download multiple documents
  • You can’t view many filetypes beyond Office files
  • You’ll need to use Internet Explorer to allow the ActiveX controls
  • You can’t drag and drop out of Windows Live to open a document

So, it’s the beta version and it’s not everything a “workspace” could be outside the realm of Microsoft Office, but it has its moments.

Using it for SolidWorks Data?
Uploading multiple documents is great, but having to download them one at a time is awful. I imagine SolidWorks (Labs?) could whip up an add-in to use with Workspace, but that probably gets in the way of people using buying other products to do this. Would it even be something you would use?

It’s nice to share things quickly online without having to send emails or FTP files back and forth. There’s nothing I’ve found so far that good for large data sets of parametric CAD data online though. At least nothing in the vein of a simple to use web-app.


Josh is founder and editor at SolidSmack.com, founder at Aimsift Inc., and co-founder of EvD Media. He is involved in engineering, design, visualization, the technology making it happen, and the content developed around it. He is a SolidWorks Certified Professional and excels at falling awkwardly.