image Live Office files

Updated 18/05/2019 with guidance on how to embed files in read-write.

Version : √ OneNote for W10

Last year in April, I spread the word about several upcoming features dedicated to professional users.

This blog post – at odds with my usual editorial approach, since I don’t comment new features before I can thoroughly assess them… – was justified by their somehow unprecedented nature : while most features brought to OneNote UWP simply aimed at closing the gap with OneNote desktop, new features usually target the education market (rainbow ink, math, ruler, sticker, class notebook…)…

Then, at a time Microsoft was bravely acknowledging OneNote 2016′ end of life, announcing features for the business market came as a relief : custom tags, templates, better integration with Office with live embedded Office file : all that announced for summer 2018 !

Summer, Fall and Winter came by, and yet no major change was introduced in OneNote UWP…  there was reason to doubt…

Eventually, “Live embedding Office file” (or “cloud files”) was made available in January 2019.

Live file preview

But this feature went mostly unnoticed because the “What’s new” window didn’t show up, and you had to activate it in Options :

If you don’t have this checkbox anymore, it’s because it’s no longer optional !

Once activated, embedded Office files show :

  • an hyperlink
  • a live preview (for Excel, Word & PowerPoint, but not for Publisher nor Visio)

To get a preview, you need to choose the first option in the Insert/File menu below :

OneNote adds a copy of the file in the “OneNote Uploads” folder (at the root of OneDrive). You may later move the file towards another location (but still in OneDrive) without breaking the link.

To modify the file, click on the hyperlink, because the icon on the lower right corner of the preview’ window (“Full screen” button) opens the file in read only.

It opens a window in your browser, with a sole file icon. One additional step : Click on it to open Word Online.

Finally, it seems that the file opens in read only for other users, even if you had previously shared the file with them. This is because the duplicated file doesn’t inherit the sharing : You need to grant them access to the duplicated file as well (the one in the OneNote Uploads folder).

File attachment

Along with this new feature, it’s still possible to insert a file as an attachment (choose “Insert as attachment“) : it simply shows a file’ thumbnail. 

What’s new is a “round trip editing” feature, meaning you can open, edit, save and close (a feature only OneNote desktop offered so far), as announced in the “What’s new” window :

Don’t get confused with the title “Embedded file” : this is about Attachment, not Live embedded file.

By the way, the “What’s New” announcing cloud files finally showed up on March :

LIRE AUSSI  Task management using template

Wrap up

As a conclusion, the new feature “Live embedded Office file” leverages on the 100% cloud based’ OneNote UWP, and is especially welcome for co-authoring.


Known issues :

You should be able to insert a file, simply pasting the link to an existing OneDrive file into the canvas. It has worked, but doesn’t anymore. It makes my OneNote crash.

If you insert several times the file, OneNote will add as many times the file in the “OneNote upload” folder : not good for OneDrive storage !

If you print a page with an embedded file, it doesn’t show on the print.

Side note :

The preview is updated when you open the note : other users’ modification won’t show up in real time, nor yours, which is a bit surprising at first.

Visio, Publisher and .pdf files won’t show preview : they are uploaded in OneDrive, and later added as an hyperlink :

Actually, it does exactly what the options says : “Upload to OneDrive and insert link” ! Other file format (.xls, .doc and .ppt) get a preview in addition to the “upload and insert” feature mentioned in the option.

Updated 18/05/2019 : I finally understood how to share (embed) files not only in read only, but that could be modified by others : The duplicated file in OneNote Uploads doesn’t inherit the sharing arrangements of the original file. All you need to do is sharing the duplicated file as well.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *