Wouldn’t it be great if Microsoft Office (s msft) had the collaborative and cloud storage functionality of Google Docs (s goog)? Well, now it does, using a free add-in called OffiSync that launched into public beta today. Offisync adds a toolbar to Office that allows you to use Google Docs for file storage and collaboration.
Once installed, Offisync adds a new toolbar to your Office apps. (Offisync works with Word documents, Excel spreadsheets and Powerpoint presentations.)
First, you need to configure Offisync with your Google account details using the “Accounts” button. Offisync supports multiple accounts, so if you use both Google Docs and Google Apps, you can easily switch between them.
You can then use Google Docs as an online repository for your Office documents. Click on “Save As” in the Offisync toolbar and you get access to a file menu showing your Google Docs account. As well as being able to save files, you can add, rename and delete folders.
Once your document is saved, you can access it from any browser through Google Docs, or open it up again in Office. You can also use Offisync to edit your existing Google Docs files in Office.
One of the best things about Google Docs is how easy it makes sharing your documents with others and collaborating on them. Offisync brings that power right inside Office. Click on “Collaborate” and you can choose to share your document with anyone else through Google Docs. If they also have Offisync isntalled, they’ll be able to work on the document in Office, too.
Offisync’s not perfect, because Google Docs doesn’t have quite the same functionality as Office — it doesn’t support tracked changes and turns some objects into images, for example — but for most documents it works very well. The next version of Office will hopefully have cloud storage and collaboration functionality included, but until it’s released, Offisync is a great interim measure.
The Offisync beta is free to download and use, and works with Office 2003 and Office 2007 on XP, Vista and Windows 7. It also requires .NET Framework 3.5, so if you don’t have that already, it will be downloaded as part of the install. There’s a demo video available if you’d like to see it in action before trying it out.
Have you tried Offisync? What did you think?