Online cloud services are ready wherever you are, as long as you’re connected to the Internet. They save you time and worry by automatically saving and some even keep records of past revisions. These programs enable you to share a live copy of your work. Some, like Google Drive, allow for simultaneous editing. Because these are in the ‘cloud’ they will automatically sync your most recent activity to any modern device– across phone, tablet, laptop, or computer.
I've known some of these for years, but I'm always discovering new applications for old apps. For instance: did you know Microsoft Office Online allows you to create and edit Word files from a web browser? This lightweight Office software allows you to work from the cloud on any computer or laptop. The standard MS Office Suite: Word, Excel, Powerpoint and others are all here but lack several features. Go to sign up for a free Microsoft account and get started.
My favorite, all-purpose software is Google Drive. If you're new to Google Drive start with Google Docs for word editing and Sheets for spreadsheets. More advanced users: try Google Forms. This app allows you to create surveys and questionnaires and then gather time-stamped data from respondents. You may try using Google Forms to log entries into a personal fitness or spending journal and track your habits over time.
Evernote is handy for on-the-go note taking and lists. You can copy anything to your Evernote including text, audio, images, web clips, and more. I recently discovered that the Evernote app even transcribes my voice into text right on my Android tablet!
This next service may end up replacing that old USB memory stick you carry with you (especially if you lost your last one). Dropbox is a slick file-management software. The premise is simple: upload your files to Dropbox and they’ll be there when you need them later. You can also setup options like automatic upload with your phone so pictures are backed up in your personal cloud right away.
There is always more to learn about these evolving online tools. Our library has resources to get you started! Get answers to your specific questions by taking one of our free computer classes or by signing up for a one-to-one Book-A-Librarian appointment -- just email us at ReferenceServicesDesk@dppl.org or call the Reference Desk at 847-376-2841.
"What is Dropbox, and how can you get the most out it? This unofficial mini-manual will get you up to speed with Dropbox, one of the most popular storage and sharing applications available today."
Merrill, Douglas Clark
"Whether it's a faulty memory, a tendency to multitask, or difficulty managing our time, every one of us has limitations conspiring to keep us from being organized. But, as organizational guru and former Google CIO Douglas C. Merrill points out, it isn't our fault."
Sarna, David E. Y.
"Organize your life the simple, painless way with Evernote! Evernote makes it easy to remember things big and small using your computer, smartphone, or the web. If you can see it or think of it, Evernote can help you remember it!"
"Engage digital learners with the power of Google! This guide for K-12 educators explores the wide array of Google tools and shows how to use them in the classroom to foster digital learning. Appropriate for experienced Googlers as well as novices, the text is organized into parts according to the 21st century skills each tool promotes."
"Brimming with step-by-step instructions and illustrative screenshots, this guide designed specifically for seniors provides detailed information on the free software and services provided online by Google."