As some of you might have heard, Microsoft released RemoteApp at TechEd a few weeks back. At the same time I noticed an update was released for the Microsoft Remote Desktop App on my mac that included support for RemoteApp.

  • Note: This is different from the Remote Desktop Connection Applications
    You Want Microsoft Remote Desktop Application, NOT Remote Desktop Connection Application

So…I figured I would give it a try on my mac. I have to say, it was pretty cool.

  1. Launch RemoteApp
    Launch RemoteApp
  2. Enter your login email for either a Microsoft ID or an Office 365 Account (I successfully tested it with both types of accounts).
    Enter Login Email
  3. Based on if it’s a Microsoft ID or Office 365 ID you’ll get directed to the appropriate login dialog (I have two-factor authentication for both of my accounts and it fully supports two-factor auth for both account types)
    Login with the Login Dialog
  4. Must to my excitement, even though I don’t have any RemoteApps, Microsoft provided some trial apps to play around with 🙂
    Continue with the Trial Applications
  5. And there those trial apps are! You can now launch Word, Excel and/or PowerPoint 2013 on your Mac!
    Application Menu Showing Word 2013, Excel 2013 and PowerPoint 2013
  6. If you double click on any of them, it appears to be logging you into a remote desktop session, but when all is said and done, you have the Apps running right on your desktop!
    Word 2013

A couple of observations I made while playing around with this…

  1. If I went to File -> Open in any of the Apps and then selected Computer, it browses the server hosting your RDP session, not your local machine. So, you can’t open any documents saved locally.
  2. I was also unable to connect to SkyDrive OneDrive. If I tried to open from SkyDrive OneDrive I got an error about having temporary server issues.

So, it appears that with these Demo Apps, you’re restricted to creating documents that you will loose as soon as you close the app and only opening the demo documents provided my Microsoft. Understandable for a demo, hopefully in the future you’ll be able to at least browse to and open documents from SkyDrive OneDrive and Office 365.

Overall, I think it’s a cool idea and I’m excited to see where it goes and hopefully even be offered the ability to use Office Apps this way as part of your Office 365 subscription.