I am a Microsoft Office Ambassador and compensated for time in sharing my experience with the product. I am also a Windows Champion and receive product for review purposes. As a speaker, I received a free pass to attend BlogaTECH. All opinions are my own.
When I worked for the school system, collaboration was as easy as knocking on my colleague’s door and sitting down in their office to work on training materials for our teachers. Working outside our department, however, proved trickier. Not only was it harder to find common times to work together but it wasn’t rare for different departments to be running various versions of Office which meant that there were times that they couldn’t be opened or lost formatting.
Thank goodness those days are long gone.
Recently Michele McGraw from Scraps of My Geek Life and I were asked to present a session at BeBlogalicious’ BlogaTECH Summit about Streamlining Your Tech Life. Held in Washington, D.C. at the Microsoft Innovation & Policy Center, the day’s focus was “Create. Build. Fund.” with sessions for “aspiring and active startup founders, software developers, bloggers with technology interests and tech though-leaders.” As Microsoft Windows Champions, we wanted to share how Microsoft tools help us collaborate across distances and streamlines work across devices and platforms.
Michele and I don’t live too far from each other distance-wise but we rarely see each other in person. It’s far more common for us to Skype chat throughout the day, pinging each other with interesting tidbits of tech news or catching up on the lives of our kids. Skype is our virtual office water cooler. We also used Skype to outline our presentation before jumping on a call to talk things through.
While we were on a Skype call, I opened up Office 365 to create our PowerPoint presentation. Office 365 includes applications like Word, Excel, and Powerpoint and works across devices to provide a seamless experience when accessing files regardless of where I’m working or what I’m using. Office 365 allows me to work on a PC, Mac, smartphone, or tablet on the same document and then save it to my SkyDrive account.
Working with Michele on our BlogaTECH PowerPoint presentation was easy. I started by selecting a PowerPoint template for our content. The template below was perfect because it matched the BeBlogalicious logo colors. Also notice how I’m using Office 365 on my Mac!
Using the “Edit in PowerPoint Web App” mode, we were able to make changes from our browser while in SkyDrive. You can also open up full versions of the document on your desktop and sync to SkyDrive.
This allowed each of us to have the presentation open, add content, or make necessary changes. Since our presentation was available through the free SkyDrive desktop app on our computers, we could work on either the desktop or web version of our PowerPoint, have it sync to the cloud, and not worry about any loss of formatting due to different software versions.
Once we were done, I used the Share button in the top navigation to send BeBlogalicious conference founder and BlogTECH coordinator, Stacey Ferguson a copy of our presentation to review.
On the day of BlogaTECH, Michele had to be home with a sick child but collaborating with Office 365, SkyDrive, and Skype proved to be especially useful because we able to Skype her in via video for our presentation. Attendees were thrilled to know about Office 365 as a productivity tool and even more excited to know about SkyDrive’s versatility.
If you’re not familiar with Office 365, the Home Premium version allows you to install it on up to 5 PCs or Macs for $99 a year. It includes access to the Office suite of products like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote, and Publisher. It comes with 20 GB of SkyDrive storage and 60 minutes of Skype world minutes per month that work to call over 40 countries around the globe. For more information about Office 365, this helpful chart outlines prices and features of Home Premium, Office Home & Student 2013, Office Home & Business 2013, and Office Professional 2013.