Office Online users will soon be able to chat in real-time with others while collaborating on documents. Microsoft has announced that it has added a built-in Skype chat feature to the browser-based version of its productivity suite. Dubbed Document chat, the feature will only be available on the Word and PowerPoint web apps, which means that Excel and OneNote users are out of luck for now, but it will be added "in the coming weeks".
The Skype-powered chat in Office Online is similar to built-in chat the company has already rolled out across Outlook.com and OneDrive.
You will simply need to click on the Chat button in the upper-right corner to begin chatting with everyone working in the document. After you send a message, the recipient will see a chat notification (see image below). Should they accept the request, a chat pane will appear on the right side.
You can also continue to chat with those same people after leaving the document via Skype on your desktop, smart phone, tablet, or any other device.
The new feature is a welcome addition to Microsoft's online service, given that rival Google already offers a similar functionality in Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides. The news comes just a few days after Microsoft updated the Office app for Android with Dropbox support and easier OneDrive sharing.