office 2010 In the coming months, Microsoft will unveil a Google Docs like product that will let users create and edit Office documents in the browser itself without requiring a copy of Microsoft Office software.

The product, known as "Office Web Apps", will include online versions of Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel and Microsoft PowerPoint. Like Google Docs, Office Web Apps will be available for free and you can use it from all popular browsers on Mac or Windows PC even without the Silverlight plug-in.

How to get Microsoft Office Web Apps

Microsoft is expected to ship Office Web Apps alongside Microsoft Office 2010 sometime next year but here’s a simple hack that will help you access the preview version of Office Web Apps right now.

Go to skydrive.live.com and sign in with your Windows Live ID. Click the Documents folder and upload a dummy Word file to this folder though "Add Files".

Once the document is uploaded, you’ll see an invitation to join the Office Web Apps preview program. Accept the EULA and you’re all set to use Office Web Apps.

Here are some screenshot images of Microsoft Excel and Microsoft PowerPoint running in the browser. In the current version of Office Web Apps, you can view Excel workbooks, PowerPoint presentations and Word documents in the browser but the editing feature is only available for Excel and PowerPoint files.

excel web app

powerpoint web app

Hat tip Abhishek Kant.