Still e-mailing files to yourself? Use online storage services instead!

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Still e-mailing files to yourself? Use online storage services instead!

Recently, I attended a client who was still e-mailing files to herself to work on her files both at home and at university. I showed our client how to make use of Windows Live SkyDrive to store her files online, work with them online using Microsoft Office Web Apps and retrieve them to work offline again.
It got me thinking, how many people know about these free tools? There’s Windows Live SkyDrive for Hotmail users and there’s Google Docs for Gmail users. If you don’t use either of these e-mail services, you could consider DropBox or Zoho, which are also free. In this article, I’ll discuss Windows Live SkyDrive and its features as an online storage service.

The biggest benefit for online storage services, especially those with integrated Office suites, like SkyDrive, is you can store up to 25 gigabytes of stuff (documents, spreadsheets, photos, music, whatever) online in one convenient location, which you can access from any Internet-enabled computer (PC, Mac or Linux). You don’t need to keep sending yourself the latest file you’re working on as it’s basically your online hard drive. Plus, with SkyDrive, you can download Windows Live Mesh (also free) and it will automatically synchronise your files between your PC and your online SkyDrive, so you can rest assured you always have the latest version.

Using your SkyDrive

Every user of Hotmail is given a SkyDrive absolutely free. You can access your own SkyDrive by logging in to your e-mail account as normal, and choosing SkyDrive from the top menu.

You’ll be presented with your SkyDrive’s root folder, similar to below.

By clicking Add files, you can drag and drop your files or folders or you can use the select option to find files on your computer. You can select multiple files to save to your SkyDrive. You can also create folders to keep your files organised and move your files between them. You can work with your files by selecting the checkbox next to the file’s icon and you can choose from the options presented on the right-hand side. These include things such as renaming your file, moving the file or deleting it from your SkyDrive. The Download option allows you to save the file to the computer you’re working from to work offline.

Work with Office files online

One of the best features about Windows Live SkyDrive is its integration with Microsoft Office Web Apps – an online version of Microsoft Office that’s free to use. You can open documents, spreadsheets and presentation files and work on them directly within your web browser without having to download the file to your computer. Any changes you make are saved automatically to SkyDrive, meaning you don’t have to worry about uploading the file after you’ve finished working on it. Plus, if you use a PC at home to create your work, it doesn’t matter whether it’s PC, Mac or Linux that you use elsewhere or whether you have a compatible version of Microsoft Office on both computers!

Once you’ve clicked on your file, make sure to click Edit in browser to open the Microsoft Office Web App. And that’s it! No more having to send e-mails to yourself and worry about having the latest file version with you. Oh, and did I mention, by keeping a copy on SkyDrive, you’ve created a reliable backup source for your work!

Leave your thoughts or questions about Windows Live SkyDrive below.

There’s a follow-up to this article!

Read the follow up article here – Fetch files from your computer remotely