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Microsoft and Facebook launch

Many Internet users who want to view and edit documents online use Google Docs to do so. There are other services besides Google Docs, but none that can compete with Google’s service on a visual level. (To updateMicrosoft: OneDrive and Office 365 services can, as can others like Zoho).

However, this could change in the near future with the public launch of, an online document processing service from Microsoft and Facebook. is built on the Microsoft Office Web Apps platform. It allows Facebook users to create, edit and share Microsoft Office documents directly on the website.

The service is currently in private beta available to all Facebook users. Interested users can use their Facebook account to join the waiting list and be notified when the service becomes available to them. All that is required to start using is to click the sign in button and select to sign in with your Facebook account, Microsoft account, or work or school account.

docs com beta

Let’s take a moment to walk through the typical life cycle of a social document. Creating a document is the first step and it couldn’t be easier. You can start the document in your desktop version of Microsoft Office, or you can go to Docs and start one in the cloud.

Once you’ve saved a document to, you can start sharing by giving your friends viewing and editing rights. By clicking the “edit” button next to “readers” when you have one of your documents open, you can choose to add one or multiple friends, allow all your friends to view the document… or share your document with all Facebook users. By clicking the “edit” button next to “editors”, you can also add one or multiple friends… or allow all your friends to edit this document.

Once you’ve shared a document, your friends will discover it the same way they discover photos or videos today. Friends who log in to Facebook to see what you’ve been up to will see the documents you’ve shared. They can also view their embedded documents directly on their profile. You can also add a tab to your profile page that will allow your friends to see the documents you’ve shared with just them… and the documents you’ve shared with everyone.

On Facebook, you can talk about a document the same way you would a status update or photo, so there’s really nothing new to learn here. To get started with Docs, simply go to and upload or create a new document. If you need a little more help, go to and watch the “Getting Started” tutorial.

Microsoft has created two demo videos that explain the basic functionality of Docs.

The beta version supports Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, and PowerPoint presentations that can be uploaded, created, and edited on

That’s different from Google Docs, which allows the user to upload and create other document formats as well. Another difference between the two services is the work collaboration that exists in Google Docs but not in

To update: The service is out of private beta. Facebook users can link their account to the service so they can create Office documents directly on the web without installing any software.

Document discovery has recently been added to Docs, which means you can use it to find documents of interest uploaded by other users of the service.

The service can access OneDrive or Sway to upload documents from these services to Docs for viewing and editing. The option to upload documents from the computer is also available, of course.

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