How to create and edit files in the Microsoft 365 Office web apps (Video)

Whether you’re in OneDrive, SharePoint, or Teams, you’re bound to run into the Office web apps (the web-based versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.) at some point. Learn how to create and edit files completely online without needing any Office desktop apps installed on your machine. We’ll also cover interesting and useful features like the Immersive Reader.

This video is part of my FREE 30+ lesson self-paced online training course called Collaboration in Microsoft 365 (OneDrive, SharePoint, and Teams). Enroll today at for the full learning experience including lesson discussions, quizzes, exams, and a completion certificate.

You can also watch the entire course as a YouTube playlist as well (just without the course discussions, quizzes, exam, and certificate). Be sure to subscribe to support my channel and for easy access to future content.


Create files and use the Office web apps

  • When you create a new file from OneDrive (using the New button), it’ll open in an Office web app (Word Online, Excel Online, PowerPoint Online, OneNote Online, etc.) – a browser-based version of the application. 
  • Be sure to switch from the simplified ribbon in the web app to the classic ribbon if you want it to more closely match the desktop experience visually.
  • Be sure to rename any new files by clicking on the document title in the title bar (by default, it’ll name your new file to something like Document.docx, Presentation.pptx, etc.).

Edit files

  • You can open a OneDrive or SharePoint document in the desktop version of an app by selecting Open in Desktop app from inside the document itself. You can also select the document from OneDrive, then choose Open > Open in app from the ribbon menu (so you don’t have to open a document first to go straight to the desktop version).
  • Editing a file in OneDrive is as simple as opening the file – it’s immediately ready to be edited once opened and Autosave is on automatically as long as it’s a cloud-based document in Microsoft 365 (saved in OneDrive or SharePoint). Note: To use Autosave in the desktop version of Office apps, you must have the Office 365 suite installed on your machine and not Office 2016 (or another year).

Additional resources

Remove background from images using Office apps

Most of us have Office apps installed on our machine. But not everybody has, or can afford, Photoshop. Luckily, Office apps (PowerPoint, Word, Excel, and Outlook) have built-in image editing features that can do much of your basic image editing needs, including removing backgrounds from images.

I prefer to use PowerPoint, myself, but you can use whichever app you’re comfortable with or already creating within. When finished editing, you can right click the modified image to save it as an independent image file to be used elsewhere.

Note: Video demonstration at bottom of post.

Remove the background

Here are the few simple steps to start removing backgrounds from images:

  1. Select your image
  2. Picture Tools > Format will become an option once the image is selected. Click it.
  3. Select Remove Background

PowerPoint (or whichever app you’re using for this) will guess what you want to remove by highlighting it in pink.

Make corrections using the “Mark Areas to Keep” and “Mark Areas to Remove” buttons in the ribbon.

In the following animation, I’m choosing to “Mark Areas to Keep.” Once you’ve selected an option, click and drag your cursor over the pink-highlighted parts of the image you want to keep. Then select “Keep Changes” to save, removing the pink areas, and view the result.

Click to enlarge

If you’ve discovered you’ve made a mistake or want to keep or remove additional areas in the image, you can select the image again, choose “Remove Background” and continue the steps above until the result is to your liking. If you decide you want to restore the background and undo your changes, you can choose “Discard All Changes.”

Save the image(s)

When finished, you can save the modified image (which will preserve the transparent background) by right-clicking your result and choosing “Save as Picture.”

If you want to combine multiple edited images into a single image file, as in the following example, group the images first.

  1. Select an image
  2. Select all (Ctrl+A) to select all images
  3. Right click a selected image > Group > Group
  4. Right click the new group > Save as Picture

Video demo

Here’s a video showing this process on multiple image types, layering those images into a final result.

“We’ve run into a problem with your Office 365 subscription” solution

I recently moved from one tenant to another and even though I’d signed out of my client Office applications and signed in with my new tenant, I was still getting this error message when opening any Office app.

“We’ve run into a problem with your Office 365 subscription, and we need your help to fix it.”

“Go to My Account” wasn’t an option, as that account no longer existed. “Remind Me Later” only delays the inevitable temper tantrum you know must be coming.

Thankfully, there were two great posts out there that helped me solve this by removing the product keys associated with the de-activated license via command prompt. Just two notes before you begin:

  1. Make sure you run PS/Command prompt as administrator (right-click command prompt, run as administrator).
  2. Your path to the OSPP.VBS file might be different than what’s in their posts. For example, mine was actually located here: C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office16\OSPP.VBS