I learned last week that the Office365 public website feature is being discontinued. Microsoft is no longer offering the feature to new Office365 customers, and existing customers have two years that is until March 2017 to find a new hosting platform and move their data. The loss of the public website did not concern me as much as the loss of the ability of users of my website to view Word documents and PowerPoint presentations in Office Online (Office Web Apps). As I explained to the Sharepoint Online support team at Office365:
One of the key features of the public facing website is the ability for my users to view documents in office Web apps. Microsoft lists a number of third-party solutions none of them have the ability to view documents in the office Web apps (See jgkeegan.com/plans/home.htm). One of the reasons I activated the public facing website feature is the fact Office Web Apps provide somewhat more security from copyright infringement than does the standard PDF file. I have tried to share with (everyone) documents with my one drive for business and my team site, but that has never worked. I require a solution that allows users to be able to view documents in Office Web Apps. None of the third-party solutions listed in the knowledgebase article provide that functionality.
It took two service requests, but they were able to show me a solution. One that, apparently, has been available all along. One drive for business has the capability to share documents and presentations publicly. And one of the members of the support team was kind enough to walk me through the process.
The following video demonstrates how to share an Excel document stored on OneDrive for Business from within the client. The process is the same with Word documents and PowerPoint presentations.
Next click the three dots.Then, click share.
Then, Click Get a link.
After that choose between allowing the public to only view the document or give everyone in the world the ability to edit it. Most, if not all, of the time choose view only.
After clicking create link A public link is generated that can be placed on any webpage or emailed to anyone. Note also the ability to stop sharing any document by clicking disable.
The only drawback, and this is true of the public website if it does not have a vanity domain, is that anyone can print or embed my content on their website without asking permission. I am not happy about that. So, over the next two years I will be moving all my content from the public facing website to OneDrive for business.