Understanding GigJam and How It Works with Office 365

Reduce file bloat and streamline how you share information

Microsoft GigJam Cloud File Sharing and Productivity
Microsoft GigJam Cloud File Sharing and Productivity. Fanatic Studio / GigJam

GigJam was discontinued by Microsoft in 2017. This information remains for archive purposes only.

If you aren't as familiar with Office 365 as you are with more traditional or desktop versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and other software in the Office suite, you may want to start here: Understanding Office Software Subscriptions and Quick Comparison of Microsoft Office 365 Plans.

At the time of this writing, GigJam is in preview status. To join, you can request an invite from Microsoft.

Productivity on the Molecular Level

You have probably never thought of your Word, Excel, PowerPoint, or Outlook documents as a system of molecules working together, but Microsoft does when referring to its innovative collaboration tool GigJam.

This is because GigJam allows you to work with and share data across a variety of applications and services in a highly customized way. That customization comes down to treating each element in a document, for example, as a "molecule of work".

Here is what that might look like in practice. From your Office 365 interface and using the GigJam app, you could bring up a set of projects, documents, or data. Then, using your finger, you could circle information you want to share with others. If there is anything in that circle you would like to omit, you simply draw an "X" through it.

You could then share your GigJam creations momentarily, allowing you to reduce the bloat of files you may be managing across your projects.

A Continuation of Microsoft's Other Collaboration Efforts

While GigJam is different from Microsoft's other collaboration tools in this parceled approach, it still represents an extension of those other tools.

For example, Office 2016 marked the first real-time collaboration with other authors in Microsoft Word. Microsoft has also acquired Skype, a popular collaboration platform. In later versions of Office, Skype can integrate with Microsoft Word

Types of Tasks You Might Complete Using Office 365 and GigJam

Working with data in Office 365 and with the additional help of GigJam could be a game-changer for many people, even just for certain tasks.

After all, while saving information as a document can be convenient, there are also plenty of times when that structure gets in the way of working efficiently.

Here are some ways you might use GigJam within your Office 365 account to work on "the molecular level":

  • Share or work with content from several Office documents at once
  • Share or work with content in Office programs as well as non-Office programs
  • Share parts of a document, such as passing on a file without that sensitive paragraph at the end; meaning you won't have to do a Save As and create a new version of the document with that part deleted. Instead, using GigJam, that custom version of the document is sent, which could be a more convenient route in a lot of situations.

To emphasize the possibilities, here is how Microsoft's Ambient Computing General Manager Vijay Mital explains GigJam:

"Today, it’s hard to take what you’re working on and share just a portion of it momentarily with someone else. This means you miss opportunities to accelerate work, get spot input or get instant closure on actions. For instance, you want the person across the table to help respond to an urgent customer email but you don’t want to hand over your phone in case they hit Send, navigate back or see who is on the cc: line. Similarly, you can’t selectively reveal a few clauses in a contract without leaving the entire file behind. Finally, you can’t spontaneously take a couple of Salesforce orders and related Outlook emails and have a vendor help you update the information directly in the forms without sending over sensitive pricing and customer details."

These are just a few ways to leverage GigJam in order to work better as a team or get more done on your own. Pretty cool, right?

Available Applications and Services

It gets even cooler when you realize the range of tools GigJam can work with. In addition to core office software programs like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook, you can use GigJam with services ranging from LinkedIn to Salesforce, just to name a couple.

Keep in mind that those you are sharing with must also use GigJam in order to view the information you send. 

Available Platforms

While Office 365 can work on most desktop and mobile devices, GigJam is initially available on Windows, Mac, and iOS. However, the whole idea of GigJam is that is should help you get things done no matter which device you are working on.