When you need to collaborate with other people on documents or worksheets or to make presentations online, you can work on and store those documents in SkyDrive, Microsoft's online file storage service. Even better, in both Microsoft Office 2010 and 2013 make it easy for you to link directly to SkyDrive
In this article, I'll show you some of the choices you have for sharing files, working collaboratively and even making presentations online with Microsoft Office 2013 and 2010.
Sharing Files Online
Saving files to the cloud not only lets you access them anytime, anywhere -- from almost any device -- it also lets you share these files with other people. If you use Microsoft Office, then SkyDrive is the obvious place to store files in the cloud. When you store files on SkyDrive, not only can you access them from your desktop versions of Office but you can also work on the files online using the free Web Apps: PowerPoint, Excel, Word and OneNote.
Figure 1: On SkyDrive you can select and share a file with others via email and give them editing rights or not.
Sharing files from SkyDrive is simple. Once you upload the file, select the file's checkbox and click Sharing. You can then send an email to the people with whom you want to share the file and, at the same time, you can select an option to them edit the file or not. If you prefer not to email from within SkyDrive, you can click to get a link that you can share with others.
You can do something similar from within your Office 2010 or 2013 programs. In Office 2010 you must first save the file to a shared location on SkyDrive. Then you can send an email with a link to the file by choosing File > Save & Send > Send using Email.
In Office 2013 you must save the file to SkyDrive, but not to a shared location. Once you save the file, you can share it using the File > Share options. Click Invite People, type in the appropriate email addresses, type a message and click to send.
When the Microsoft Office Web Apps first launched, they provided a feature that small businesses had been waiting for a long time – real-time collaboration on Office documents. Historically this feature was available to big businesses that could afford the cost of installing and managing SharePoint sites, but this was the first time that anyone -- from individual users on up -- could do it.
The various cloud-based programs work a little differently. If you want to work on an Excel worksheet at the same time as another person, then you must all work on it using the Excel Web App. None of you can work in Excel on a desktop; if you do, the others won't have access to the file.
Figure 2: SkyDrive is the default save location for the Office 2013 suite programs, and it's a good place to save files you want to work on with other people.
If you want to collaborate on a Word document, you can work with it in either the Word Web App, the desktop version of Word or Word for Mac 2011. If you want to work with others on a OneNote notebook, you can do so using either OneNote 2010, OneNote 2011 for the Mac or the OneNote Web App.
In any case, to work collaboratively on a file you must store that file on SkyDrive, and you need shared with the other uses as detailed above. Once you share the file, you and your collaborators can open it in the appropriate Web App and work on it -- even at the same time. And because you stored the file in the cloud, changes that anyone makes to the file will be saved to the original.
You can make a PowerPoint presentation online in a number of ways. In PowerPoint 2010 you can broadcast the presentation by selecting Slide Show > Broadcast Slide Show to access the PowerPoint Broadcast Service. In PowerPoint 2013 choose Slide Show > Present Online to present via the new Office Presentation Service.
Figure 3: In Office 2010 you can send someone a link to access a file provided you saved the file to a shared location on SkyDrive.
You can also upload a presentation to SkyDrive and then share the presentation file with other people as you would an Excel or Word file. Then those people can view the presentation at their leisure. Of course in this situation you need to ensure that the presentation is self-contained as there will be no narration possible.
If you want to narrate a presentation, record the narration in PowerPoint, convert the presentation to a video using PowerPoint 2010 or 2013, and then upload the video to SkyDrive and share it from there.
If you are new to SkyDrive, you get 7GB for free, and that amount increases to 20GB if you subscribe to the cloud-based Office 365. When you save and share files from SkyDrive, everybody has access to the same version of the file and anyone with permission to do so can view and edit the file from this central location.
Helen Bradley is a respected international journalist writing regularly for small business and computer publications in the USA, Canada, South Africa, UK and Australia. You can learn more about her at her website, HelenBradley.com.
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