Microsoft Office Online Converter

by Dr. Uwe Wächter

With Office 365, Microsoft has changed Office licensing from a product license to a subscription model. This means that customers are now free to choose between a local installation or a cloud version with use in the browser.

For companies that store their files on OneDrive in the Azure Cloud, using the browser version of MS Office is not necessary, but logical.

For these companies and those who do not want to have a local Office installation on their SEAL Systems conversion server, we can now offer our new Microsoft Office Online Converter.

In this article we will clarify the application possibilities and advantages of MS Office Online Converter!

What was the purpose for the development of the MS Office Online Converter?

One possible use of MS Office 365 is to manage without a local installation and instead use an instance in the cloud, i.e. to work in the browser. This goes hand in hand with storing the documents in the cloud on OneDrive under Azure. Local installation and cloud instance behave slightly differently, so the conversion result can also be different.

We recommend our customers to use exactly the same version of the Office package for the automatic conversion of documents on the server as the users. So even using a cloud instance is only consistent if the users in the company do so.

This led us to the conclusion that we also wanted to use a cloud instance for our conversion server and not just rely on local installation of the Office package.

For whom was MS Office Online Converter developed?

Dr. Uwe Wächter, Sales Manager at SEAL Systems:

“We have some customers who do not allow installation of a client product on a server. For these, the use of the Online Converter is certainly exciting. With consistent cloud use, we can take advantage of scaling in the cloud; for example, react variably to peak loads by restarting instances.

In addition, we can set up test installations for interested new customers very quickly.  Over a limited period of time, we rent corresponding resources in the Azure Cloud for this customer and integrate his source application.“

Waechter_Uwe Microsoft Office Online Converter

How well does MS Office Online Converter perform?

In principle, performance depends on the connection to the Internet or Microsoft’s Azure services. This is because the data has to get from the document management system (DMS) to the conversion server. But especially when the conversion server and content server are also in the cloud, the overall performance benefits. Our tests even showed an improvement compared to local conversion.

The online solution also has an advantage in terms of scaling. Additional conversion capacities can be built up with it – just by configuration and without needing additional servers.

Are there any limitations?

Wolfgang Lang, Team Lead Software Development at SEAL Systems:

„It is a bit dangerous to write about limitations of Office Online, because due to continuous updates the functional limitations of the online version of MS Office are decreasing every day. What doesn’t work today may work tomorrow. We have no influence on that. Nevertheless, I’ll give you a brief summary of the limitations we noticed in our tests (as of February 2022) here:

  • Size limitations: Files with more than about 6,000 pages don’t work, but that’s risky with MS Office anyway.
  • Rate Limits: A too large load is identified as an “attack” by MS Office and blocked. However, it is not yet clear how rate limits are defined (number of pages or requests per minute?).
Lang_Wolfgang_04_final_mail Microsoft Office Online Converter
  • Functional limitations: File types docm, xltm, xlsb, pptm are not supported. Automacros (in doc documents) are not executed.
  • Passwords for opening the documents are not supported.
  • Accepting or rejecting revisions for Word through the conversion process is not supported.
  • Conversioin of embedded files is not possible.
  • The control of the print area within Excel documents does not work.
  • It is not possible to update properties.“

Office 365 – On-Premises or Online?

We have explained the difference on our homepage here “office-365-und-konverter-von-seal-systems“. There you can also find hints on how to find out which specific version is used for Office 365 in each case.


We are happy to be up-to-date all around with our conversion server! Contact us if you want to be too.

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