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Monday, May 12, 2008

Integrate Online Documents into Your Everyday Life

You may have tried a web-based office suite like Zoho or Google Docs and been turned off by the lack of features, slow interface, and formatting issues.

The truth is, online office suites are not up to par with desktop programs like Microsoft Word and WordPerfect. However, there are ways in which services like Google Docs can enhance your life in which traditional office software cannot.

Collaboration
If there's one thing I can't stand, it's emailing an ongoing document back and forth between friends and/or colleagues. It always winds up getting messy. Stuff either gets over-written or I wind up with multiple versions of the same document.

Enter the web-based office suite.

Google Docs allows you to collaborate with others on Word, Excel and Powerpoint documents. Once you create your file, all you need to do is click on the "Share" tab and invite others to the document. You have total control over who can view the document and who can make changes. The service even keeps track of who made which edits - so you can revert back to an old version of the document if you so choose.

Consider the possibilities. You and a loved one can keep track of bills in a Google spreadsheet, add items to your shopping list in a Google document and create a photo sideshow of your vacation in a Google presentation. I've even seen Google Docs used to collaborate on wedding vows!

Access Your Documents From Anywhere

The most useful feature of web-based office suites is having access to your documents on any computer with an Internet connection. There is no need to worry about remembering discs or jump drives. Your documents are always in the same place. Even better, if you already have a GMail account, you can easily access Google Docs using the same login information. With Zoho, you can create a new Zoho account or login with your own personal Yahoo! or Google account information.

Not by a computer? No problem, you can access your Google Docs on your mobile phone!

Take Your Docs Offline
Google recently released Offline Docs, which allows you to edit your documents in your web browser without being connected to the Internet. When an Intenet connection is detected, the docs automatically sync up with your online documents. This is especially useful when on an airplane or at a coffee shop that charges an exorbitant amount for Wi-Fi access *ahem Starbucks ahem*.

Joe Says: When it comes to professional projects, you may not feel comfortable using a web-based office suite - and I don't blame you. Applications like Microsoft Office offer more stability and a wider feature set. However, when it comes to integration into your daily life, online is where it's at!

This is Joe, signing off.

2 comments:

Mike said...

Thanks for bringing this up! My roommates and I actually use Google Spreadsheet for our house budget. We are able to do the conditional formatting and formulas just like in Excel. Works great, and as Joe said, there isn't a need for this to "presented" so who cares if it is simply web-based?

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