Today Microsoft Senior Product Manager Augusto Valdez hosted a forum Q&A session about the Office HUB and email and calendar integration and productivity. There are lots of things we’ve already known, but a few answers are worth sharing which I’ve edited a bit for your sake. I’m also categorizing them and changing the order of the questions/answers to make it a lot easier. A lot of question are almost the same but I think they’re different enough to leave them in. I’ve highlighted a few that I found particularly interesting, especially the fact that there may not be network access to docs out of the box.
Q: Can Office documents be sync’d directly to a PC or will all synchronization be through the cloud?
A: it will have to go through email or SharePoint. We use SkyDrive for OneNote syncing but not for documents, the easiest way to sync a document for now will be to email the document(s) to yourself
Q: Is there any support for accessing files on network shares in the plans for the Office Hub/WP7 in general?
A: right now the file access in networks is restricted to SharePoint access, as it provides a better control on versions and things like that
Q: Will OfficeHub have integration with Microsoft Cloud computing on a business level and additionally on a consumer level?
A: That is an interesting question, for sync docs you can use both SharePoint Server (on premise) or BPOS (SharePoint Online). For OneNote you can even use Windows Live skydrive to sync over the air your notes with your PC
Q: I would like to know about the possibility of syncing multiple calendars and such.
A: yes we can sync with multiple exchange email and calendar accounts and also personal email and calendar accounts like Windows Live or gmail
Q: What level of SharePoint integration will WP7’s office hub support? Will comments/updates be disseminated instantaneously?
A: We do user based document sync between the Office hub and SharePoint, we do it user based because if the file is too large you might want to decide when you want to sync, but if the document has changes in SharePoint when you try to open it from your phone it tells you that there is a newer version in SharePoint and asks you if you want to download it
Q: Can you discuss what type of synchronization will be possible with OneNote?
A: OneNote syncs using either SharePoint or Skydrive, in the Skydrive scenario it creates a section in your online OneNote that is visible from your phone, your PC (using OneNote 2010) or on the web (using OneNote web app)
Q: Will meeting requests work with non-Exchange users? In other words, will meeting requests send iCal appointments to GMail users etc.?
A:Yes, if they are using standard ical format, it should work
Q: Will photos, videos and audio recorded on the phone and added to OneNote be transcribed and indexed, like in the desktop version of OneNote?
A: since you can add pictures and voice recording in Windows Phone 7 and then it syncs to your PC using Windows Live Skydrive you could use OneNote on your PC to process your voice notes, but I have not done this specifically
Q: is there going to be integration (without exchange) to keep your pc and phone up to date with out docking with the pc or bluetooth
A: there will be many different ways to keep your information current, not only through exchange, but you can sync up with gmail, hotmail, windows live, etc.
Q: Are we able to edit documents in Windowsphone7?
A: Absolutely, you can view, edit Word, Excel and PowerPoint files, also you can make comments on Word and Excel files [Note I asked about ‘tracked changes’ twice and was never able to get past the mod – I presume it is not included]
Q: What doc formats are confirmed
A: .doc, .docx, .xls, .xlsx, .ppt, .pptx are supported
Q: will PowerPoint creation be possible or will you only be able to edit them on the phone?
A: Only editing, hard for me to believe that somebody will be creating slides from scratch on phone, but I have seen cases 🙂
Q: Has Microsoft put any more thought into customization and helping users separate their work information from their personal life?
A: agree, in fact in calendar we color code the different calendars that you have coming from different sources, for example blue for Exchange Server Account 1, yellow for Exchange Server account 2, green for Windows Live calendar, etc
Q: what about .pdf support?
A: .pdf support will have to come a third party solution [Note: I asked if conversion of Word to pdf was possible and it did not pass moderation – I presume it is not present]
Q: will there be support for Outlook/Exchange Tasks?
A: there are many things that we have not finalized as the product is not finished yet, and we cannot talk about them until we are close to be final, hope you guys understand that 🙂 [Note: Sounds like ‘no’ as of today]
Q: Excel for WP7 will have charts?
A: yes we will support charts, if you make changes on the table the generates the chart, the chart gets updated as well
Q: Will we be able to snooze appointment reminders?
Q: What about security features for lost/stolen phones?
A: yes we support things like pin lock and remote wipe to address those issues
Q: What types of formatting options are available? Can I change fonts, color, size?
A: yes you can change font, color and size on Word and Excel documents, in PowerPoint you can change the text but it will keep the properties it already has