Don’t overlook hidden office apps

woman using silver laptop

Just a quick bit of advice for folks with either Microsoft or Gmail email accounts. Don’t overlook the free office suite and cloud storage that comes with your email account. Everyone with a Gmail address or any Microsoft address (email address ending in outlook, hotmail, livemail, or have these free services available.

Both companies offer 5 free gigs of cloud storage along with completely free word-processing, spreadsheet, and presentation programs.  You don’t download these apps onto your computer, so you’ll need a stable Internet connection to use.

The best part is that these apps will work with any type of device. Open a browser on a Windows PC, Mac, Linux computer, or Chromebook. Or download the corresponding apps from the app store on your phone or tablet. You can access the programs from any device, your home computer, a friend’s house, work, or even a computer at the library.

And there’s absolutely no reason you can’t use both services and score yourself 10 free gigs of cloud storage.

Here’s how to find the apps for your Microsoft account. You’ll need to open a browser and head to the inbox for Outlook. You can’t do this with an Outlook email client. You have to do this through a browser. Any browser will work, too.

Click the square of dots at the upper-left and a pop-up window will display all of the apps available.

Most notable are OneDrive, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote. To open Word, Excel, or PowerPoint documents from your device, just upload them to OneDrive. You can create new documents or edit existing ones.

These apps aren’t quite as full-featured as Microsoft 365, but for most people, they can more than do the job.

For Gmail, open your inbox.

Click the square of dots at the top right.

Select Drive.

Then click New. 

You’ll have the choice of creating a document (Docs), spreadsheet (Sheets) or presentation (Slides).

To open documents or spreadsheets created with Microsoft Office or other compatible programs, upload the files to your Google Drive.  Then right-click on the file, select Open with, and choose the Google app that opens the program.

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