Office in the Clouds

GEEK FREE
20 January, 2015
By Joe Callison

Most of us use a Microsoft Office suite, or at least Microsoft Word. Even though there are some alternatives such as OpenOffice and LibreOffice that provide reasonably good compatibility with Office files, we would probably prefer to use the real thing if we had the option. Keeping current with the new versions of Office has been quite expensive in the past, but now Microsoft has made the most popular applications in their Office 365 suite available through their cloud service, OneDrive at no cost! All you need to do is sign up for a Microsoft Account, if you don’t have one already.  For information on Microsoft Account, see the following link:

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-live/sign-up-create-account-how

After signing in you can access an online version of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote as well as other online applications. Documents are automatically saved to your free 15 GB of OneDrive storage, where they can be accessed through a web browser anywhere you are. You can also download the created documents to your computer, or share them with others. If you want more Office applications than are available in the cloud, or more cloud storage space, you can sign up for one of the paid plans that includes offline versions of Office 365- either $6.99 per month for 1 user and 1 TB of storage, or $9.99 per month for 5 users , each with 1 TB of storage.  For a comparison of the plans and features, see the following link:

http://products.office.com/en-us/compare-microsoft-office-products

Google has been providing a similar service for some time through their Docs and Drive applications that are available if you sign up for a Gmail account. Docs includes a word processor (Docs), a spreadsheet (Sheets) and a presentation application (Slides). The documents are automatically saved in your free 15 GB of Google Drive storage, or through Docs settings you can turn on offline synch so you can edit while  offline. You can pay for additional Drive storage space, or if you have signed up for Google Fiber, you are already entitled to 1 TB of Drive storage space. Information on Google Docs can be found at the following link:

http://www.google.com/docs/about/

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