Microsoft's SkyDrive has always been a handy spot to store Office documents and other Word files when you're traveling. However, there wasn't much to differentiate SkyDrive from other cloud-based storage options. Microsoft's latest changes to SkyDrive really up the ante for SkyDrive, and if you've passed over this handy cloud service, you may want to give it another look.

SkyDrive Apps For Every Device

The new features that Microsoft has added make SkyDrive easier to use and the new SkyDrive apps are right at the top of my list of new features. Microsoft has made apps for just about every device you would want to use. The different SkyDrive apps include:

  • Mac
  • Windows Store (for Windows 8 and Windows RT)
  • Windows Phone
  • iPhone and iPad
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Xbox
  • Windows desktop

The SkyDrive Windows desktop app is incredibly useful for the IT Pro. The Windows desktop app adds a SkyDrive folder directly in Windows Explorer Favorites next to Desktop, Downloads, and Recent Places. Opening the folder seamlessly opens your SkyDrive storage with no need to first open the browser. When you first connect, there's a brief lag while the app syncs your SkyDrive cloud storage with the local SkyDrive.

 

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You can navigate the SkyDrive folder just like you can any locally attached folder. Dropping files into the SkyDrive folder and changing documents in the SkyDrive folder will automatically sync the updates to your SkyDrive storage in the cloud. The Windows desktop application makes sharing your SkyDrive content between multiple computers like your laptop, tablet, and desktop simple and seamless. You can download the different SkyDrive apps the from Microsoft's Get SkyDrive apps for the device you use.

SkyDrive's Document Collaboration Capabilities

Other significant changes in SkyDrive include a more modern Xbox-style tile design, but even more important, is the ability to allow other users to view and even edit your files by having them login with a Windows Live account. SkyDrive now has an edit link that can be used to give anyone access to a document at the same time. You can also manage who can view and edit your content by inviting specific people via their email addresses. Microsoft's Inside SkyDrive blog provides more details about how you can take advantage of SkyDrive's document collaboration capabilities. 

SkyDrive is also seamlessly integrated with Office 365 and Office 2013. Office 365 has an icon that saves documents to SkyDrive, while Office 2013 has SkyDrive incorporated into the Open and Save dialogs for all of the different Office 2013 applications.

Microsoft has said that more than 1 billion documents are now stored in SkyDrive. However, if you haven't checked out SkyDrive for a while you may want to have another look and try out the new apps. Best of all, they're all free. 

Learn more: Microsoft Brings the Cloud to the Masses with Office 2013