Working in the Cloud has become more and more popular and many free online applications and storage services are emerging that allow you to create and store documents online for free. Microsoft Office Online is one such service and is a suite of online applications that lets you create Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations and use OneNote. You can then store the documents you create on Microsoft OneDrive, an online file storage service. Both of these tools are free and are accessible from anywhere with an Internet connection.
What is the Cloud?
The cloud is nothing more than the Internet or more specifically, a network of servers that allow you to store and access data remotely versus locally on your own computer hard drive. By connecting with computers in the cloud, you can store your files in the cloud to easily share with others. Many business today are utilizing cloud computing as part of their networking strategy as the cloud allows them to access some of the many cloud based applications that reside on a server other than their own.
Many of us are already using the cloud and may not even realize it. Some examples of how you may be already using the cloud are E-Mail services such as Gmail, Yahoo, outlook.com and Hotmail, Social Networking such as Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn and Document and storage services such as Google Docs and OneDrive. These providers allow you to your upload your documents, presentations and spreadsheets on their data servers for easy collaboration with other users from virtually any device. Users are also utilizing the cloud to store their photos and photo albums on sites such as Flickr and Picassa and upload and share their videos on YouTube.
What is a Web App?
A web app is any application that runs on a server in the cloud and is not installed on your desktop. Microsoft offers a set of Web-based office applications called Office Online, that are Internet-only versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote. Some of these applications can be accessed for free via your Web browser without installing any software which makes them a version of web based cloud computing. Some of the applications are also available via a subscription fee such as Office 365. Backing up data is also another way to use the cloud and there are may cloud storage services available for this purpose.
What is OneDrive?
OneDrive is Microsoft’s free cloud-based storage solution whose purpose is to provide a single place for you to store and access your files. The real value of OneDrive is that you can access it from multiple devices including Windows computers, Mac computers, windows, iphones and Android Smartphones and iPads and other tablets. OneDrive is particularly useful for individuals and businesses that use Word or other Office products as you can store and access your Office files, pictures, and other files all from one central location. This allows you the ability to collaborate and work together with anyone in your workplace and personal life.
There are currently two types of OneDrive solutions – one for personal use and one for business use. The personal OneDrive storage gives you 5 GB for free but if you need more space you can currently get 50 GB for just $1.99 a month. If you have an Office 365 subscription, you’ll automatically get 1 TB of OneDrive cloud storage. OneDrive for Business is provided with every business level Office 365 subscription and is usually configured as part of an organization’s Office 365 online infrastructure.
The wonderful thing about using Office Online and OneDrive to store your files in the cloud is that you can edit and share your documents without having to download them to your computer. Files can also by synced with your computer and OneDrive so that your changes are automatically copied between the cloud and your computer providing an instantaneous back-up capability.
What is Office Online?
Office Online is Microsoft’s free offering of their professional office suite. It is a slightly scaled down version of the complete office suite but perfect if you just need to create simple business documents, presentations and spreadsheets and of course, you don’t mind working in the cloud. One of the main benefits of using Office Online is that you don’t need to install any software on your computer. You work online using Microsoft OneDrive explained above.
Create a Microsoft Account
The first thing you need to do before you can start using OneDrive and Office Online is to create a free Microsoft Account. Once you have your Microsoft account setup, you can access all of Microsoft’s online services including OneDrive (previously called SkyDrive), Office Online, and Outlook.com. If you already have a Microsoft account, you can proceed to the Sign In to OneDrive below.
- Go to OneDrive.com and click the Sign up for Free button.
2. On the Sign up page underneath OneDrive, click the Create a Microsoft Account button. Note: If you use Outlook.com or Xbox Live, you already have a Microsoft account.
3. On the Sign in page, enter the email address you want to use for your Microsoft Account and click Next.
4. On the Create account page, type a secure password and click next.
5. You will receive a verification email from Microsoft. Click on the Verify link in your email and you will be presented with a Ready to Go page. Click OK and you will be connected to your OneDrive account default page.
Login to OneDrive
- To start using OneDrive, go to oneDrive.com and click Sign in.
2. Type the email associated with your Microsoft Account and click Next,
3. Type the password for the account and then click Sign in. Your OneDrive account will appear and you’re now ready to begin using OneDrive and Office Online.
You are now all set to start working in the cloud. Look for our next post on Working in the Cloud with OneDrive and Office Online.