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Lifehacker: The Guide to Working Smarter, Faster, and Better, Third Edition by Gina Trapani, Adam Pash

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Hack 68: Manage Your Documents in a Web-Based Office Suite

Level Beginner

Platform Web

Cost Free

A profound shift in modern computing is afoot: a move from desktop software to the Web. Mature web browsers, always-on broadband Internet connections, and an increase in mobile users has spurred a new breed of websites that aren’t just static pages — they’re hosted software applications (web applications, or webapps) that you access from your browser.

Typing a memo, calculating charts in a spreadsheet, or designing a slideshow presentation once required specialized and expensive software, such as WordPerfect or Microsoft PowerPoint, that you’d install on your computer. Today, a new crop of completely web-based office applications can create and manage those types of files, and you need only a web browser to use them. Several hacks in this book encourage you to move from desktop software to web applications — such as controlling your email with Gmail or managing your schedule in Google Calendar. You can do the same with your word processor documents, spreadsheets, and slideshows. This hack covers how (and why).

Why Move from Desktop Software to Web Applications?

All you need to start using an online office suite is a computer with a web browser connected to the Internet and a free account at the service you choose (such as Google Docs at http://docs.google.com or Zoho at http://zoho.com). There are several advantages to abandoning your expensive desktop office suite in favor of web applications: ...

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