Cool Apps: Put Your Microsoft Files in the Cloud

Here’s a pretty nifty cool app that is sitting right under your nose, but that you may have missed: Microsoft’s Windows Live SkyDrive. This one’s a must-try for those real estate agents who use Microsoft Office products like Word, Excel and Powerpoint – which is something like 99.986 percent of us (my own estimation, not scientific by any means).

What is SkyDrive? It’s Microsoft’s answer to “in the cloud” apps. It means you can work on a Word document, Excel spreadsheet or PowerPoint presentation, save it to SkyDrive and then access it again later from anywhere with an Internet connection.

Free back up One of the coolest features of SkyDrive is the 25 GB of free online storage that you get with it. With that much space, you could pretty much just use it as a backup service if you aren’t interested in the other features. And to top it off, you can use it to back up photos or Microsoft Office files of any kind.

Free file-sharing Need to share any Word or Excel files with clients? Photos? Use SkyDrive. If it’s the type of file you’re both updating, you’ll both have access to the latest version. And of course, you’ll say goodbye to the annoying task of emailing large files back and forth.

One platform Probably the most attractive feature of SkyDrive is that it’s Microsoft, so there’s no chance of losing any formatting when you upload a file that was created in Microsoft Office. This is what really distinguishes SkyDrive from Google’s similar service. If you’ve ever tried to use Google to share a spreadsheet that you created in Excel or document created in Word, you know that often you lose formatting. SkyDrive eliminates that.

Create it online SkyDrive is also set up so that you can create your file right online. So say you are on vacation and you need to send a typed letter ASAP to keep a deal moving forward. You can log right onto the Internet from your hotel’s computer, access SkyDrive and spark up a Word document on the spot without even launching the software.

Here are some great follow-up tips from a few of the geek blogs on using SkyDrive:

LifeHacker explains how to use SkyDrive as an online syncing service (much like DropBox, which we discussed here recently). also explains some of the nitty gritty of uploading and syncing from your harddrive.

So if you’re looking for online backup and also want to share more of your files with clients online rather than via email, try out SkyDrive – especially if you’re already a Microsoft Office user.