Check out the whole SharePoint 2013 Solution Series
New Titles Added Weekly!
I kept reading that if you have Office Web Apps Server up and running, you can connect it to your SharePoint farm and then, automagically, document previews will start appearing both in Search and in Document Libraries. I have not found any examples of what this document preview looks like so I had to take matters into my own hands.
I essentially followed the steps here: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj219455(v=office.15).aspx and used the standalone test environment section using Internal HTTP. I have some screenshots of the steps so I will probably post my installation journey as well. (UPDATE: The installation post is here.)
However, I was so excited that the Office document preview worked that I wanted to share the results. Below are some screenshots.
Search Results - Hovering over a Word document (click image to enlarge)
Document Library - Selecting the elipsis (...) on a Word document library item (click image to enlarge)
The previews under Office Web Apps server is only for Microsoft Office documents. Therefore PDF previews do not render. However, at least for the search results, I have a PDF Preview solution.
The document preview is the "cool" part about Office Web Apps server but not the business value part. The business value is the ability to edit and work with Office documents in the browser without the need for local Office applications.
What does this mean? This means that business users may interact with Office documents through SharePoint directly in the browser on any device. So whether it is a laptop, desktop, smart phone, or iPad - there are no constraints in making those last minute edits.