Want to access your files wherever you are, without sacrificing the Microsoft features and formatting you use every day?
Then check out what Microsoft’s cloud-based storage and collaboration solution, SkyDrive, can do for you.
Free Cloud Storage
Microsoft SkyDrive offers 7 GBs of secure free storage, and all you need is a Windows Live ID to get started. If you need more storage, Microsoft offers paid storage plans starting at just $10 a year.
Integration with Microsoft Office
Free storage is always nice, and SkyDrive offers more free storage than competing products like Dropbox and Google Drive. But what really sets SkyDrive apart is its deep integration with other Microsoft products, such as Microsoft Office (available to public libraries through TechSoup donations).
You can store anything you want in SkyDrive, but it really shines when you're working with Microsoft Office files:
- When you sign up for SkyDrive, you also get access to Office Web Apps, Microsoft’s free online versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote. Combined with SkyDrive, Office Web Apps allow you to create, edit, and store Microsoft Office files using just a web browser.
- If you prefer to work with your regular desktop version of Microsoft Office, you can also open and edit files from a SkyDrive folder on your computer, just the same way you would any other Office file. The only difference is that when you save, you’re saving to SkyDrive instead of onto your computer.
This means you can create, edit, and share Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files using a variety of devices, without sacrificing the Microsoft Office formatting or features you’ve come to rely on.
Collaboration and Sharing
On Your Desktop and On-the-Go
Whether you’re a Mac or a PC, prefer IE or Chrome, have an Android phone or an iPad: SkyDrive supports them all. This means you can access your SkyDrive files from just about anywhere.
- On the desktop: When you install SkyDrive on your PC or Mac, a SkyDrive folder is created on your computer. This means you can access, update, and organize your cloud-based SkyDrive files right from Windows Explorer or Finder.
- With a mobile app: Access files using the SkyDrive app for Windows Phone or iOS. If you’re using a Windows phone (including the Dell phones available through TechSoup donations), you can also edit SkyDrive files right on your Windows phone with Office Mobile.
- Via a browser: SkyDrive is also compatible with most mobile and desktop browsers including Safari, Chrome, and (of course) Internet Explorer.
I'm just one user, but I use a PC in the office and a Mac at home, so I benefit from both SkyDrive's cross-platform availability and its deep integration with Microsoft Office. Once a file is saved to SkyDrive, I can update it from my office PC or my personal Mac (and read it via a smartphone or a tablet). Even better, I can edit Microsoft Office files via my Mac, with no loss of formatting or features, even though I don't have Microsoft Office installed at home.
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Ariel Gilbert-Knight is a Technology Analyst for TechSoup