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Office 2013 Feature Focus: SkyDrive Integration

Office 2013 Feature Focus: SkyDrive Integration

SkyDrive integration changes the way you use Office in profound ways

In previous Office versions, Microsoft added SharePoint integration so that business users could easily access their corporate document repositories. In Office 2013, this capability has been dramatically expanded with support for SkyDrive, thus further expanding the suite’s suitability for consumers.

This is no small change. While the Office suite itself is still locally installed on Windows-based PCs and devices, with Office 2013 this addition of SkyDrive integration isn’t just a nicety, it’s now the default: When you open or save documents, the Office applications will attempt to do so via SkyDrive first.

And to be clear, this integration is present whether you use the SkyDrive desktop application for Windows or not. (Which makes sense, as it’s a feature of Office, not Windows.) So those who use Office 2013 on Windows RT devices like Surface RT will still see SkyDrive as the default save and open location, and the Recent Documents list in the Open experience will be populated by SkyDrive-based documents unless you try to override this behavior.

As with the discussion in Office 2013 Tip: Personalize the Office Applications, the SkyDrive storage you use is determined by the Microsoft account you use to sign in to Office. This makes sense, and provides a consistent experience, though it’s worth pointing out that Office offers some options with regards to Microsoft account(s) that aren’t present in Windows.

For example, in Windows, you can integrate one SkyDrive account into the file system using the SkyDrive desktop application, and you can further integrate one Office 365/SharePoint Online account with the file system using SkyDrive Pro. (Yes, both can run side-by-side.) But with Office 2013, you can integrate multiple accounts with the suite, and mix and match with their online storage spaces. This includes multiple SkyDrive accounts.

You configure these accounts through the Accounts view in the Office Backstage experience of any Office application. You can add multiple SkyDrive and Office 365 accounts through the Add a service drop-down.

You say you don’t like saving to SkyDrive by default? Here’s a tip: Open Options in any Office 2013 application (File, Options) and click Save in the left column. Here, you’ll see an option buried among other settings called Save to Computer by default.

This won’t eliminate SkyDrive integration but it will make Computer (and not SkyDrive) the default save location. And yes, setting it one Office application will apply the option in all Office applications.

Of course, I don’t recommend doing this: By storing documents in SkyDrive, you can ensure that they’re available anytime, from any device. And with Windows 8 (and Windows 7), you can use the SkyDrive desktop application to sync your SkyDrive storage with your PC, ensuring you have access to those documents even when you’re offline.


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