Call me crazy, in a world full of people switching to Web apps and solutions for everything they do, but I still like Microsoft Office.
See, all my documents are currently offline – they’re synchronized across all the computers I use regularly, but what about when I’m at an Internet Café, or a computer lab at a library? Maybe those computers don’t have Word, or don’t have a version of Word I’m used to. In that case, it’d be great to have access to something like Google Docs, where I could store and edit all my files online, and have them be accessible from everywhere.
Well, with a little elbow grease, I’ve got a system that gives me the best of both worlds. It gives me access to all my Word files, on any computer, but also allows me to edit any file in Google Docs, for when there’s no Word available. Same for Excel and PowerPoint.
Before I continue, I should mention that Syncplicity can actually do all of this – it does a lot of the same backup and sync stuff Dropbox does. For me, though, a user of multiple operating systems, Dropbox is critical (Syncplicity is Windows-only, and has crapped out on me more than Dropbox).
First, download Dropbox. Install it, and then drag all your Word files (along with everything else, should you so desire – you get 2GB in the free account) into the “My Dropbox” folder. The Dropbox folder has all but replaced My Documents for me, and if you use it as your document hub, there’s no extra work necessary in this system. All your Word files, into the Dropbox folder. Install Dropbox on as many machines as you want, and those files will be available across all of them.
Now, download Syncplicity. Syncplicity is the software app that’s going to keep all of your desktop’s documents synced to Google Docs on the Web. Once Syncplicity is installed, it sits as a plugin right within all your Office applications.
Within Syncplicity, choose your “Watch” folder – this is the folder Syncplicity will check, and maintain in sync with Google Docs. I’d suggest you either make a “Google Docs” folder in your Dropbox, or just set the “My Dropbox” folder as the Watch folder.
In the settings of Syncplicity, make sure you’re logged in to Google Docs with the right username and password. You’ll notice that all your Google Docs (if there are any) get immediately downloaded to your computer.
You can edit any downloaded document in Word, or in any other desktop-editing software – any changes you make will be immediately uploaded back to Google Docs, keeping them always in sync. Make changes in Google Docs, and they get synced back to the desktop.
This all boils down to a simple solution – your documents are now available on any computer you use (through Dropbox), are available online and off (through Syncplicity), and always in sync – no version hell for you!
The Simplest Solution
The simplest way to do this, if you’re a Windows user, is to just download Syncplicity. It offers most of what Dropbox does – syncing across computers, restoring accidentally deleted files, sending and collaborating on files, and a real-time backup of your important files.
Syncplicity also has tons of great features, like editing in Zoho, syncing photos to Facebook, photo editing in Picnik, and much, much more. It’s one of the best ways to store files online – but until it supports Mac OS and Linux, I’ll be sticking with Dropbox.
Where do you edit your documents? How do you manage them all, in all their different places?