How to Harmoniously Work With Google Docs from Microsoft Outlook
<firstimage=”//static.makeuseof.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/Harmonie.jpg” />There are some of us who still prefer a desktop email client like Microsoft Outlook, but also rely on the flexibility of the cloud via Google Docs. If you want the twain to meet i.e. a way to work with Google Docs from Microsoft Outlook, a new app called Harmon.ie seems to be the answer.
Harmon.ie is a free add-on to Microsoft Outlook (2007 & 2010) that removes the need to send across email attachments from MS Outlook to Google Docs. You can work with your Google documents, spreadsheets and presentations from the Harmon.ie sidebar within MS Outlook.
But just how harmonious is this handshake between a desktop app from Microsoft and an online cloud application from its long standing rival? Let’s find out by downloading the 500KB sized installer that proceeds to download the rest of the sidebar.
The one worry with add-ons and sidebars within an application is that load times may increase. Doesn’t seem so with Harmon.ie, as it loads up quite smoothly and takes up a bit of Outlook’s real estate. You can hide it from view with a click. You can straightaway login with your Google account (or register a new one).
Work with Existing Google Docs
Harmon.ie displays all the Google Docs you have on the account. If you have a large number of documents, you can use the search bar at the top or the View Bar at the bottom. The View Bar gives you a few view options to selectively pick and display the type of document.
Each file also has a small Actions link with document functions like renaming, hiding, staring, sharing and more. Some of the properties like a shared document, or a document that’s part of folder have small icons against their names. You can use the commands under Actions to reorganize the docs from within Outlook.
Sharing documents or changing the sharing options you might have set in Google Docs is easy with the Share command under Actions. Just type in the first few letters of the contact and Harmon.ie picks up the email address from the contacts database of both Outlook and Gmail. Specify the role and you are done.
Google Docs allows you convenient download in multiple formats (depending on the file type) like PDF, RTF, Text, Word, Zip, and OpenOffice etc. Harmon.ie gives the very same flexibility with its Save As command under Actions.
Creating New Google Docs
This is where Harmon.ie really comes to the fore. Uploading or creating new Google Docs files is as easy as a drag and drop or a click on the New button.
Pick up a document from the desktop and just drag and drop it into the Harmon.ie sidebar. The document gets automatically converted and uploaded. If you have any folders setup, you can drop the file on top of it and it’s included in the folder.
Just as you can email a Google Doc as an attachment or as a link to share it with others, Harmon.ie works with Outlook to provide the same functionality. Open a new email window (the sidebar appears in all Outlook windows) and simply drag the file from the sidebar into the email body. The file is shared with all recipients of that email automatically. Your contacts can view the document as they would normally in a browser. Just before the dispatch, you can further set permissions as view only or edit.
When you send attachments via Outlook, Harmon.ie pops up a box and asks you if you want to save the attachment in Google Docs and send the link instead. The benefit of sending a link is that you can keep the online Google Doc updated without needing to email across copies after each update. Recipients always get to view the latest version via the link.
Also get under the hood of Harmon.ie by going to its Options. You can enable or disable a few functions there.
Harmon.ie does the same things that Google Docs does when you go to the cloud. But the sidebar brings along MS Outlook and that’s handy when you working on document sharing and document backups. Harmon.ie makes the synergy between both Google and Microsoft somehow”¦ harmonious. Would you agree?