Kathy has a question about Word:

“Have you covered how to use Word on Microsoft Cloud? I do a lot of documents and I have not paid forward to have a copy on my PC. Depending¬†on how available my information is in the cloud, I may want to just buy the word for my computer.”

Kathy, you’ve opened the door for a multi-part article, and I thank you.¬† I’ve covered using the Free Microsoft Office suite online before, but there have been several changes to the service, so it’s a good time to update. But first I want to clarify something about Word and OneDrive (the name of the Microsoft cloud).

documents-one-drive

There are two ways to use Word. There’s a free version available to anyone with an Outlook.com account. You have to be connected to the Internet to use it and you use with a browser interface. Your documents will be autosaved to the OneDrive cloud service (of which you get 5 GB for free). You could also download them to your PC and delete the version in OneDrive if you wanted to.

The paid versions of Microsoft Word, either an Office 365 subscription or a one-time installation of Word will work with OneDrive. They work fabulously with OneDrive, I think, but you don’t have to store any of your documents in the cloud if you don’t want to.

I love the OneDrive option because I have backups of my documents in case something happens to my PC. I have my documents folders mirrored to OneDrive so they save both on my PC and in the cloud at the same time.

I’m not sure if when you say “available” you mean to others or to you. If you’re talking about availability to you, it’s really instantaneous just like another folder on your PC. Documents are also available through OneDrive to your phone, tablet, or any PC you happen to be working on. If you set your OneDrive folders to be mirrored as I have, they are available even when you don’t have an Internet connection.

If you mean available to others, the documents are password-protected and private unless you choose to share your username and password with someone else. Or unless you or Microsoft get hacked. I can’t promise that won’t ever happen, because as we know, just about anyone can get hacked.

I’ll cover how to use Word as part of the free online Office Online suite and how to use OneDrive with a version of Word installed on your PC.