When I got my new laptop for Christmas (thanks honey!) it came pre-loaded with a "TRIAL" version of Microsoft Office 2007. The "TRIAL" version can only be opened 30 times. That’s a grand total of 30 times, not 30 times opening Excel, 30 times opening Word. Nope it was 30 times total, so if I opened Excel 10 times, Word 10 times and Powerpoint 10 times my trial would be done. Thanks to having Microsoft Vista installed as my operating system, Microsoft would be alerted if I attempted to install a bootlegged copy of Office. Thankfully I don’t really use my laptop that much for work related stuff, but for anyone else that would be a real pain in the arse. So what’s a gal to do? According to Buy.com, I can buy a Microsoft Office for $174.79. Nah – too expensive. Or I could open Word, Excel etc… never shut my computer down and leave them open permanently. Nah – too much room for user error :)
Here’s where Google comes in. Specifically Google Docs. According to Google it’s a:
Google Docs & Spreadsheets is a web-based word processing and spreadsheet program that keeps documents current and lets the people you choose update files from their own computers. You can, for example, coordinate your student group’s homework assignments, access your family to-do list from work or home, or collaborate with remote colleagues on a new business plan.
There are so many things that it can do! It can:
Forms: spreadsheet editing for the rest of us
Create a form and invite people to fill it out. They won’t need to sign in, and they can respond directly from the email message or from an automatically generated web page. Answers will be automatically added to your spreadsheet.
Keep track of forms and responses on your iGoogle page
Add the Google Docs Forms Gadget to your iGoogle page to keep an eye on form responses. This gadget lists your most recently active forms, with new responses highlighted. Jump directly to the form results from your iGoogle homepage.
Save presentations as PDF
Easily save a copy as PDF for presenting offline.
Embed your slideshow anywhere: use the embed code on the "Publish" tab to put your slides on any website, including your blog.
The list goes on and on – to find out more go here.
I’ve tried it, and for what I need it to do at home, it works amazing! I can create spreadsheets and text documents and save them in either .xls, .pdf, .html, .csv, .txt or .doc formats to be opened with Word or Excel at work. I can also share them on the ‘net, eliminating the need to email them or store them on an external hard drive. I can also publish docs right onto my blog or share them through an rss feed (I’d rather do that). The best part is that if your hard drive crashes you don’t lose all of your work and you can access it from any computer (like a library computer while you wait for yours to be repaired).
Here’s an example of a Word document that I’m sharing with you. It’s from my soaftball league ’cause I didn’t have the time to create a new one, and my trial version of excel saves the file in a format that can’t be opened by Google Docs (thanks alot Microsoft). Anyways, here it is:
OK – I can go on and on about Google Docs (aka GDS), but I won’t. Why don’t you just go on now and try it for yourself? Yes – it’s yet another reason to get yourself a Google Account!