You would think that Microsoft Office and Google Docs working together is pretty much an impossiblity. After all, the two of them are fierce rivals and the thought of the two company’s products working seamlessly together is laughable.
Well not anymore, thanks to Offisync which allows you to use, update and synchronize your Google Docs onto Microsoft Office – as well as offering the ability to search on Google from the Office interface and insert images into your Office documents from Google Images.
This is one of those services that will prove to be insanely useful if you are in the habit of switching between them both all the time. For it to work though, you need :
- Either Office 2003 or Office 2007
- Windows XP / Vista or Windows 7.
- Microsoft’s .net framework version 3.5, which will automatically be installed on your computer if you don’t already have it.
- A Google account to be able to use Docs (that one is a bit obvious!)
You first have to install a small toolbar which sits in your Office documents. It looks like this :
To open a document from Google Docs, just press the small yellow folder icon on the far left and a box will appear asking you to enter your Google account name and password. I was initially a bit concerned about entering my Google account password so I emailed OffiSync and asked them if they store the account details on their servers. Their answer is an emphatic no.
User Names and Passwords are stored in the Windows Credentials Manager (CredMan) service on your computer. OffiSync does not store any credentials on our servers or on the Google servers.
That reassured me somewhat so I proceeded with entering my password. When your details have been accepted, your list of Google Docs files will come up (I don’t normally use Google Docs so I created a test document for this article).
Just double-click on the Google Docs file that you want to work on in Microsoft Office and it will immediately open in Word. If you have lots of documents and you can’t find the one you want, just click the black binoculars in the Offisync toolbar and you can filter out the file you want by entering keywords.
Now this is the file that I created with a simple short sentence. All you basically need to do now is just work on your document and periodically save the changes using the Offisync toolbar.
Say, I want to add “Now I’m updating it” to the document –
When you’re finished with the document and you want to synchronize your changes with the copy in your Google Docs account — all you need to do is click the black disk icon on your Offisync toolbar and you will see this –
After a few seconds, that box will disappear and the updated version of the document will now be in your Google Docs account. Let’s check on that.
Yup, there it is!
There are other features to Offisync too. Basically the app gives you all the power of Google Docs but inside Microsoft Office instead. Offisync allows you to do the following :
- Add or remove collaborators to the online Google document
- Email the online Google document to someone
- Paste the link to the Google Docs copy of the file in your Word copy.
But the best part of Offisync (in my opinion) is the ability to insert images from Google Images into your Word document. Everything opens in Offisync’s custom-made mini browser.
Since I’ve just been to see Transformers 2 at the cinema, let’s see what pictures there are of Optimus Prime on Google Images.
As you can see, you can filter the images down to size, type and also by creative commons. When you have found one you want to use, click “Insert” and you will receive a box notifying you where it has come from :
If you accept it, click “Accept” and the image will then be embedded into the Word document.
Offisync doesn’t only support Word though. You can also use the feature in Microsoft’s Excel and Powerpoint to keep those documents synchronized as well.
And that’s it! This one is going into my “keeper” pile of software apps as it has already motivated me to use Google Docs more and so far I haven’t found any bugs or really irritating features. I really hope Offisync continues to be developed and I can’t wait to see what other features they come up with next.
Let us know what you think. Is this something you would use? What features do you like the best and what new features would you like Offisync to introduce?