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SciNote integration with Microsoft Office for the web improves project management and team work

5 min read

The first thing that crosses most researchers’ minds when they need to write a scientific paper, analyze results or create a presentation about their work would be opening one of the Office apps. Word, Excel and PowerPoint are as much a part of everyone’s daily life and work as coffee or tea. These three apps are continuously improving, new functions are being added and the ways to use them are expanding.

Electronic lab notebooks are not only replacing paper notebooks, they are enabling scientists to manage projects and collaborate within the institution and internationally.

Publishing a scientific paper can quickly become a mess if your team does not coordinate properly. It is important to keep track of document versions and changes. From names of team members who made the changes, to dates and hours when changes were made. If possible, try to avoid sending files via email as it can quickly make things more confusing. Ideally, your team should keep all data in one place.

SciNote is bringing you Office capabilities via integration with Office for the web (formerly known as Office online) as part of the partnership with Microsoft.

SciNote offers free view access of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files uploaded to SciNote for free through the Web Application Open Platform Interface Protocol (WOPI).

Editing including the creation of new Office files directly in SciNote with Word, Excel, and PowerPoint apps in the Office for the web requires the user to have a valid Microsoft 365 business account. More info on this below.

How can the integration between Microsoft Office for the web and SciNote electronic lab notebook (ELN) help?

Let’s describe it in one example.

In SciNote, you can organize all your data with projects, experiments, and tasks. Each task can contain a description and a protocol, you can also attach different files or results, post comments etc.

So, once you are on the level of a task, you can either attach your Word, Excel or PowerPoint files or create a new one from scratch directly from SciNote.

Create a MS Office document in SciNote

Integration with Office for the web helps to solve one of the most important issues that can arise – collaboration on writing the content of a scientific paper i.e. making sure that all responsible team members are always working on the latest document version.

No matter whether you are working on your private files or shared files, changes are automatically saved as you type. Members of your team can invite responsible collaborators to review and co-author the files in real-time, thus making sure that everyone is working on the latest versions. Again, the activity of each member is recorded automatically.

Supervisors can have a complete overview of the work, open the files, and add comments in real-time as well. You don’t need to send numerous emails and reminders.

Word Online document

When ready, you can download the files or print them directly.

Download or print your documents

SciNote believes that team collaboration is a prerequisite for great research. Several features support this, including advanced notification system, smart annotations and Office for the web integration.

Which Office files can I view and edit in SciNote?

Editing in Office for the web is supported for modern Office files based on Open XML (e.g. docx, xlsx, pptx). It will not work for older binary Office formats (e.g. doc, xls, ppt) unless you convert them to a modern Office file format. However, you will still be able to view them.

Where are my Office file stored?

This integration is done in such a way that your files will be stored directly on your SciNote and will not reside outside of it.

Regulatory compliance?

SciNote supports detailed activity logs of each team member and guarantees full traceability of your work. However, certain teams and labs need to meet regulatory compliance. If you are one of them and need a solution that would help you meet 21 CFR Part 11 compliance, GLP, PCL, ISO 27001 or HIPAA compliance requirements.

Microsoft 365 business account

Editing including the creation of new Office files directly in SciNote with Word, Excel, and PowerPoint apps in the Office for the web will require users to have a valid Microsoft 365 business account (formerly known as Office 365 business account; Microsoft has recently renamed Office 365 to Microsoft 365). Essentially, Microsoft requires the user to be a “business user”. This means you should have one of the following types of licenses: Microsoft 365 Business Basic (formerly Office 365 Business Essentials), Microsoft 365 Business Standard (formerly Office 365 Business Premium), Microsoft 365 Business Premium (formerly Microsoft 365 Business), and Microsoft 365 Apps for business (formerly Office 365 Business). As Microsoft is known to change the names of their licenses and even products, we recommend you check the most recent information about Microsoft 365 for business on Microsoft 365 web page:

Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365) licenses for Home, including Microsoft 365 Family (formerly Office 365 Home) and Microsoft 365 Personal (formerly Office 365 Personal) will not work with Office for the web. You will need a business account.

By Tea Pavlek, MSc