SkyDrive and Office: Student friendly, full-powered collaboration in the cloud across PCs and Macs

A few months ago, we annouced a wave of improvements for the already popular SkyDrive cloud storage solution. This has led to an even more powerful and streamlined collaboration feature set to sreamline intergration through an app-centric approach to getting work done together. Students now are able to complete their tasks with less screens to move between and stick to the applications they already use for their projects, Microsoft Office and a browser. While we continue to improve SkyDrive to meet adapting learning needs, today’s SkyDrive can already help students work together more efficiently. To spread the word, we’re showcasing what students can do with SkyDrive and Office, to help get the most out of SkyDrive and Office for full-powered collaboration.

This blog post includes an example scenario ultilising the features of Office and SkyDrive as a student collaboration suite with productive, high quality results.

The problem

Let’s say you're working on a business plan competition (or another group project) with a few other people. Your teammates are across campus, in different classrooms, across town or even across the country. Some use PCs. Some use Macs. You want to put your best foot forward with a compelling pitch deck, smart business plan, and sound financial analysis. How can you easily work together and create something great?

You could use web-based apps like Google Docs. While they may work well for simple tasks, they may not have the features you need to create professional documents. You can also have formatting issues when you move between these apps and Office. You could also use a “file cloud” like Dropbox, but these tools aren’t really designed for collaboration, and they don’t let you work simultaneously with others on a document.

Faced with these choices, many people decide to work independently and email files back and forth. This makes it hard to know if you’re working on the latest version of a document, and sometimes you can run into attachment limits. It also can take a lot of time to piece together different Word documents or PowerPoint presentations from multiple email messages.

How SkyDrive can help

With SkyDrive, you have a better option. You can store all your files in one place, so everyone can access the latest version. You can also use free Office Web Apps for basic editing from any browser.

But what most people don’t know is that SkyDrive and Office Web Apps integrate with the Office apps installed on your PC or Mac so you can work together on documents in the cloud right from your desktop apps. With the right setup, you can work together on a Word doc or PowerPoint presentation with your teammates at the same time.

Working this way, your team gets the powerful authoring and formatting tools that you’re used to in Microsoft Office, while also being able to take advantage of cloud-based collaboration. Everyone can work from the latest version and even work on the doc at the same time. You won’t have to convert your document into a different format that could lead to formatting problems.

Also with tools like OneNote Web App and PowerPoint embedding, SkyDrive can save your team time by being the one place to brainstorm, create, collaborate and publish.

Want to get going? It's free and easy, log into SkyDrive with your LiveID or simply sign up. If your school is a provider of Live@Edu, you already have access to all of these great methods of working. If your school is interested in Live@Edu check out our resource center full of case studies and training materials catered at granting access to these tools and more.

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