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Collaborate on Office Documents With Your Facebook Friends on Docs.com

Would you like to collaborate and share Office documents, PowerPoint presentations, and more with your friends and colleagues? Here we’ll look at how you can use use the new Office Web Apps with your Facebook friends via Docs.com.

Recently we looked at the new Office Web Apps on SkyDrive, and were excited over the features it had but wished it could do more.  One major problem with the standard Office Web Apps is that few people use Windows Live SkyDrive on a daily basis.  This means that if you want to share a document online with a friend, they would have to signup for a new account and figure out how to use it.  Docs.com is a new service that takes away this complexity.  It integrates the Web Apps with Facebook and lets you collaborate on documents with your Facebook friends.  Let’s look at how you can use this with your friends and colleagues.

Getting Started

Head over to the Docs.com site to get started sharing Office documents with your Facebook friends.  Click the Sign in link on the right side to add it to your Facebook.

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If you’re not already logged into to Facebook, enter your Facebook account info and click Login.

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Note that some browsers may block the login and upload windows as popups, so you may want to allow them to open.

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Once you’ve signed in, you’re ready to get to work.  Click the Add a Doc link to upload an existing document or create a new Word, Excel, or PowerPoint file.

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Docs may request permission to manage your pages when you try to upload a document.  Click Allow to continue.

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Now you can upload a new document, and select who you want to view and edit it.  You can make the document fully private, share it with individual friends, or make it public.

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The Web Apps themselves work just like the Office Web Apps on SkyDrive, which has the same features and limitations.  One odd thing we noticed is that there doesn’t seem to be an option to open a Docs.com document in Office on your computer.  This means that you’ll need to do all of your editing online, or download a copy to edit separately.

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As with the Web Apps on SkyDrive, Docs.com works great as an Office viewer, but the editor may not support all of the features in more advanced documents.

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You can add a title to your document from the right sidebar, as well as share the document with your friends and post it on your wall.

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It’s simple to add friends to edit or view your document, as you’ll see Intellisense-style notifications as you type to select friends easily.

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You can post updates about the document and see what other people said about it from the Wall section on the sidebar as well.

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You can easily access your own documents and the ones your friends have shared from the tabs on the top of the Docs.com page.

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Or, from the front page, you can see some featured public documents.  These can help you get ideas of great things to share with your friends.

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You can Like or comment on other people’s documents while viewing them, which is a great way to help your friends discover public documents you find interesting.

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Docs on Facebook

Once you’ve signed in with Docs.com, you’ll see a new optional tab on your Facebook profile.  Select the Docs link to show your shared and public documents to your friends.

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Your friends can now see all of your Docs from your Wall.

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As noted before, you can post on Facebook when you’ve shared a document.  This will make a nice-looking post on your wall to inform your friends and help them find your document.

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You can now upload documents and create new ones on Facebook with the Docs tab as easily as you upload pictures.

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Unfortunately we did run into a few errors, though that’s to be expected as it’s a beta service.  In all, it worked rather good, and let us easily share our documents with friends and family on Facebook.

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Conclusion

The Office Web Apps are a nice addition to Office 2010, but it can often be difficult to use them for collaboration as few people have a SkyDrive account or know how to use it.  Docs.com takes that complexity away, and lets you share the documents with friends the same way you already share photos and videos on Facebook.  Now, instead of having to learn a new way to share documents, you can use the familiar Office and Facebook interface that millions around the world already use daily.

For more information about how the Web Apps themselves work, check out our Screenshot Tour of the New Office Web Apps.  They work almost the same way on Docs.com, so you’ll get to see more of the features in each Web App here.

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Share and Collaborate on Documents With Docs.com and Facebook

Matthew digs up tasty bytes about Windows, Virtualization, and the cloud, and serves them up for all to enjoy!

  • Published 07/15/10

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