An Office In The Cloud

One of the most important developments in computer science that has already started to affect our lives is cloud computing. In a nutshell, it means that when you use a computer, you only need a browser and an Internet connection, without having to install any programs or having to upgrade your computer in order to make it faster and powerful enough to run the programs you are using. You simply open a window that connects you to the web and use applications (web apps) that utilize computing power and storage available on some server far, far away. Where exactly? You don’t care.

All you care about is your work. Maybe not a TPS report, but definitely that grammar exercise you have to prepare for tomorrow and all the homework you have go through. The article you are reviewing or the final draft of that proposal that was due last night. Up until recently, you could use Google Drive to create Docs, Sheets and Slides (Google’s version of Word documents, Excel spreadsheets and Powerpoint presentations) but when someone sent you an Office file, you had to convert it to Google’s format in order to be able to edit it, which often resulted in broken formatting. If you wanted to edit it but keep it as an Office file, you needed to have Office installed on your computer.

Not any more.

You can now edit Office files directly from Chrome. All you need is the Office Editing for Docs, Sheets, and Slides extension. Extensions (or add-ons in Firefox) are small applications that are added to a browser to provide extra functionality. After installing the extension, Office documents open directly in your browser and you can go ahead and edit them without having to download them beforehand. While you’re editing, changes are saved automatically in your Google Drive. Once you finish, you can share the edited versions from Google Drive or download and attach to an email. This works for all Office files: Word documents, Excel spreadsheets and Powerpoint presentations. There is no need to convert them to Google Docs, Sheets and Slides. You can also do this directly from your smartphone or tablet by using the apps that are available for Android and iOS.
Here are the links: Docs (documents) for Android and iOSSheets (spreadsheets) for Android and iOSSlides (presentations) for Android and iOS

Happy now?

This post is part of the When EdTech Meets ELT series, my regular column for the TESOL Macedonia Thrace Northern Greece e-bulletin, and was originally published in September 2014.

Image credit: Author: Dimitris Tzouris


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