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Office 2013, SkyDrive, and the Office Web Apps

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Steve Schwartz shows you how to use Windows Live SkyDrive and Office Web Apps to do your Microsoft Office computing in the cloud.

In January 2010, Microsoft launched Windows Live SkyDrive, providing free online file storage to anyone with a Windows Live or Hotmail account. (Currently, each account has 7 GB of storage to use as you see fit.) Later in 2010, the new Office Web Apps were rolled out. Unlike Microsoft Office, the Office Web Apps aren’t programs that are installed on your computer. They reside on Microsoft servers. Using them is an example of cloud computing.

Using SkyDrive storage and the Office Web Apps individually or together, you can do the following:

  • Use SkyDrive to store backup copies of Office and non-Office documents.
  • Create and edit Word, Excel, PowerPoint, or OneNote documents using Internet Explorer, Safari, or FireFox—even without having an installed copy of Office on the current computer
  • Save and open files on SkyDrive from within Office 2013 (and earlier versions), treating SkyDrive as another hard drive
  • Share selected folders or documents and allow collaborative editing

Creating an Account

SkyDrive is the repository for the Office files you’ll be creating, editing, and sharing with Office and/or with the Office Web Apps. Whenever you use SkyDrive, you must log in to Windows Live. If you haven’t registered, you can gain access by creating a free Hotmail or Windows Live account at www.hotmail.com or www.live.com, respectively.

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