Kick Microsoft Word
To The Curb!
Have you looked at the nutty price tag to legally add Microsoft Office to a PC that does not include it?
Recently, I purchased a new Windows 7 laptop, which did not come with an Office license key.
As I had also just reformatted my main Windows 7 system, it was the perfect time to do some experimenting! (Oh yeah, and I wanted it to work flawlessly with my Android phone.)
With everything being so mobile today and with me wanting my documents to “just work” from anywhere, I needed a solution that was as flexible as my lifestyle…
What I discovered was that, with a little tweaking, Google Docs has really grown up and now has the ability to be used in some ways you might not have considered.
As I have been living more and more in the Google ecosystem lately, a Google Docs solution was surprisingly ideal!
Setting Up Google Drive For Offline/Sync
Step 1) Set up a Google account. (You HAVE already done this right?)
You can learn more about Google Drive here.
Step 3) Download/Install the Google Drive application (the link for this is also on the lower left side of the Google Drive page). This application will sync the Google Drive to your computer and create a folder on your computer for Google Drive. (Allow sync if it requests permissions.)
Step 4) (Optional) Install Google Drive on your smartphone. (Android Play/Market)
Step 5) On the Google Drive page, open Settings (that’s the “gear” icon, drop-down menu) and click “Enable Offline Mode” (or similar). You know you’ve already clicked this if you see “Stop Using Docs In Offline Mode”.
Using Google Documents For Docs On Your Computer Already
Alright, well that’s just fine and dandy… but what about making it actually work for files already on the computer?
Step 6) First we want to make web-based documents open in Google Docs and for that we will use “OpenIT Online”. (Available for Chrome/FF/IE/Opera). I suggest installing it in every browser you use.
Learn more about how to set up OpenIT Online here. I assigned documents to GDocs and images to Pixlr.
Step 7) Next, we need to do something about these existing .doc files on my computers. For that, we need GDocsOpen.com which, while not free, is very affordable (I bought a license for all 5 machines I use or visit.) This little app will require Microsoft .NET 4.0 to be installed (free).
Step 8) After adding your license key (which you got by email) to the GDocsOpen application, it will automatically assign itself to the various files it can open. However, you may not want ALL of those files assigned.
Here’s how to specify which application opens which file type. I let GDocsOpen open all my .doc files. However, I generally want my .txt files to open in Notepad since I use that like a “scratchpad” for random stuff that is only temporary.
Pros & Cons of Google Drive vs MS Office
I really like that Google Docs can natively produce PDFs and that you can use GDrive to upload & share documents, videos, zip/rar’s and more assuming you have enough storage space. Google has just purchased the mobile document application Quick Office and I’m optimistic that this will let me further leverage this on my phone.
The downside of this setup is that there is “some setup required” and that GDocs are not as feature-rich as Microsoft Office tools. (However, I can’t tell you the last time I used advanced formulas/etc, so for me that does not matter). Also, the current cap on a single item size for uploading is 10 gigs.
There is certainly a time and place for Microsoft Office use but the amount of utility and flexibility you can get from GDocs/GDrive is pretty darn impressive!
~ Kim ~
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