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Using OffiSync to Sync Microsoft Word with Google Docs

Machine GearsLast week I explained how you could edit Google Docs on a mobile device, and now I want to share another find related to Google’s cloud-based alternative to Microsoft Office. It’s a Microsoft Word plugin called OffiSync, which lets PC users (sorry, Mac folks!) seamlessly sync documents between Microsoft Word and Google Docs.

You’ll need Windows XP, Vista, or Windows 7, along with Office 2003, 2007, or 2010 for OffiSync to work. Once the plugin is installed, you’ll find the controls for OffiSync under a new menu item by the same name. The general idea is this: you’re working on a Word document at home, and when you save the file through the OffiSync menu, a copy will appear on your Google Docs account, which you can edit from any computer with a browser (and now, from many mobile devices). And any changes you make on Google Docs will show up when you reopen that document in Microsoft Word.

You can also use OffiSync to open previously saved Google Docs within Microsoft Word—and this includes Google Docs that others have shared with you. You can manage sharing and permission rights directly within the OffiSync dashboard in Word.

OffiSync comes in two flavors: a standard, free version, and a premium version that lets you do everything I describe above plus real-time collaborative writing. In other words, you can edit a shared document in Microsoft Word, while your co-author is editing in Google Docs, and the changes that either of you make will appear instantly for the other author. The premium version costs either $12/year or a $30 one-time charge. A small price to pay, arguably, for turning Microsoft Word into an Etherpad.

[Gears image courtesy of Flickr user BinaryApe / Creative Commons License]

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