Users wanting to work with others through group chats on Office Online Word and PowerPoint files can now do so through the power of Skype.
Collaborative documents on Office Online now allows users to hold group chats for better communications between the team members that are working on the Word and PowerPoint files.
Microsoft announced late last month that the feature was going to be released very soon, and now Skype has released the feature to Office Online.
When there are two or more users that are collaborating on one document, a chat button will be displayed. Upon clicking the button, the feature to allow users to communicate with their fellow collaborators to the document is activated.
The release of the group chat feature for Office Online simplifies the cumbersome chat options that were previously available, as options only allowed users to chat with only one other user. That may have been fine if only two people were working on a document, but if there are more than two people that are collaborating; the activation of the Skype group chat feature will make working together much easier.
Group chats on Office Online, once launched, take on the name of the document that the group is working on. The conversation between the collaborators of the document will be saved to the list of recent conversations under Skype. In addition, once the Skype group chat window is launched, users are free to close the Online Office document in the meantime as the team members discuss matters.
When using the browser, users are only given the option for instant messaging. To activate video chats and voice chats for the feature, the group will have to transfer to one of Skype's apps. However, this could soon change once Skype for Web is ready, which will allow all these functionalists to be accessed through the browser.
The feature also allows collaborators working on one document to chat without being parts of each other's contacts lists on Skype. In fact, users are allowed to chat even if they don't have a Skype account, as they only need their Microsoft accounts. However, for non-Skype users, they will not be able to access the history of the conversation, which means that if they were late to join the chat, they would have no way to backtrack on the topics that have already been discussed.
Skype-powered group chats are only currently available for Word and PowerPoint in Office Online. It is not yet available for the online versions of Excel and OneNote.