Microsoft Office On Your iPad? You Bet, With OnLive

 

Have you seen this very VERY cool app for your iOS or Android device? OnLive, the streaming service for PC games, has developed a desktop client and companion mobile app that allows you to stream your favorite Microsoft desktop apps to your tablet. The iOS app has been out for about a month, and the Android app was just released this past week.


Want to try it out? Navigate to OnLive’s web page, create a free account, and download the client. Then, launch the app and sign into the account you created. You then will see a simplified Windows 7 desktop screen on your tablet. When you need to type, a proprietary keyboard pops up. Don’t get frustrated – the Windows interface is definitely stripped down when compared to its desktop counterpart. But, when you open up the applications, you will see the full Windows versions of PowerPoint, Word and Excel, as well as Adobe Reader. Easily move files between the desktop and the tablet. And they work pretty freaking well, with very little lag.

 

Free gets you 2GB of online storage and use of the core Office applications. $10 / month gets a Pro account, 50GB of storage, web browsing within the app and additional features promised, including collaboration and chat features. The Pro account also offers a faster experience and the ability to add a few more programs to the tablet-top.

 

Oh, and guess what? You can even run Flash in the browser on your iPad using the OnLive app, when you up-purchase your account. And, just to make it fun, they added a couple of games. For those times that you feel you have been too productive on your tablet with your new-found virtualization abilities.

 

It’s internet based, so the app won’t work without a connection and, when you have a lousy connection, it will show when you try to use the app. And if you have lots of typing to do, consider a bluetooth keyboard rather than the propriety Windows screen-based keyboard. Another downside to the free version is that you will be pushed to the end of the line for server access, making it difficult to use it when there is heavy traffic.

 

But, there is little doubt that OnLive is on to something and that this type of tech, along with apps like Dropbox, are definitely the wave of our productive, working future. If you would like to see the magic in action, check out Walt Mossberg’s video review for the Wall Street Journal YouTube channel – there is no question that this app can perform some magic.

Act Local, Impact Global – Google Cloud Connect & Microsoft Office

Moving in the opposite direction, there’s a new way to work locally and act globally, or more accurately, in the cloud, with the newly-released-to-everyone Google Cloud Connect for Microsoft Office. This service allows two or more to work on the same Microsoft Office file (2003 forward / Windows PCs only) and back it up using Google Docs.

Cloud Connect adds a toolbar to the Microsoft Office interface. With that toolbar, you can give Microsoft Office the same online capabilities as Google Docs. You also can give Google Docs meaningful offline capability.

The killer feature is sharing and simultaneous editing of Word, PowerPoint, and Excel files from within office, but via the great Google cloud. Synced files are continuously backed up and fitted out with a unique Web address for sharing. Even offline edits make it up –  Google Cloud Connect will sync those changes the next time you log onto the Web.

Don’t worry if you get too crazy with the edits – Cloud Connect stores previous versions and you can roll back to earlier versions if you want. When there are two or more edits to the same section at the same time, the user can choose which version to keep.

All you need is a free plug-in and a Google account. Google Cloud Connect works on Windows XP, Vista, and Windows 7. However, sadly enough, it doesn’t work with Microsoft Office for Mac. Not sure if there is any hope for a Mac version in the future.

You can download here Google Cloud Connect onto your capable machine running the eligible Microsoft Office versions. And get cloud backup and collaboration within the Google ecosystem for free.

Play With Office Docs On iPhone – Free

There are iPhone applications that allow you to manipulate MS Office docs on your iPhone, but they tend to fall into the “getting-on-expensive” side for the average iPhone application. If you want to get down with your docs but don’t want to drop between $10-$20 in the process, try Office2 Plus (link here). It’s Free!

Office2 Plus works with Word and Excel files. Access local files, Google Docs files or files shared on your MobileMe iDisk. While the editing tools are fairly minimal, they hit most of the usual functions one might require most of the time. Remember, this is iPhone editing we are talking about.

The app is optimized for Office 97 – 2003. If you need to read a 2007 file, it is doable but not attractively formatted. On the other hand, Office2 Plus also includes a PDF viewer – nice addition!

While there may be applications out there with more features, you simply cannot beat the price! Office doc manipulation on the go, without impacting your wallet. Excellent combination.

Edit PowerPoints On Your iPhone

Diminutive as the iPhone may be in comparison to the average desktop or laptop, there is no denying that this particular phone in the hands of clever applications developers can result in a near full-size experience. Take, for example, Documents to Go’s new Premium version (iTunes link) – it now allows you to edit PowerPoint presentations on your phone! This newly-added ability makes DTG’s application the first to permit mobile manipulation in all three of Microsoft Office’s main programs – Word, Excel and PowerPoint. While the price isn’t cheap ($14.99), anyone who regularly travels and presents may find this suite an excellent addition to their mobile office toolbox.

Having just presented a PowerPoint show at the Boston Bar Association, I can easily envision the need to edit a presentation arising at the last minute, perhaps in the absence of an available laptop or desktop. Although I haven’t tried this new version (I have the Word and Excel program on my phone), I may just spring for the new Premium version to try it out.

Hat tip to Just Another iPhone Blog.

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Use Your Ribbon For More Than Tying A Bow

In honor of Microsoft‘s announcement about the upcoming Office 2010, I thought I might talk about “the ribbon.” Office 2003 users may ignore this post if they wish, but 2007 and those waiting for Office 2010 should perk their ears.

Have you gotten a handle on the infamous “ribbon”?

Office Ribbon

“What’s the “ribbon?” you ask.  According to Wikipedia, “[t]he ‘Ribbon User Interface’ is a task-orientated Graphical User Interface (GUI). It features a central menu button, widely known as the ‘Office Button’. The Ribbon Interface has been introduced into Microsoft Office 2010.” In other words, its that strip of commands adorning the top of each program in the Office suite offering a changing set of buttons for tools as you select one of the categories at the very top of the screen contained in the tabs. The tab commands are relevant to whatever program you are using.

Office 2007 Image

You can minimize the ribbon with a click.

The ribbon and related functionality is, by far, the biggest stumbling block for users migrating from Office 2003 to 2007 or later. So, in an effort to help those still stuck in 2003 prepare for 2010, I thought I might share a link to Microsoft’s “ribbon” page, with overview of the ribbon and toolbars, a video demo of the ribbon, tools, tutorials, demos, interactive tour and more. If you really aren’t doing well with the ribbon using the “hunt and peck” method, you might try some of the helpful features Microsoft is offering. A nice overview, falling just short of an admission that the “ribbon” might as well be written in some dead language, based on the average user response to it.

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