Google Docs is a web service that allows users to create, edit, store and share documents online. It’s a great service but has limited features. OffiSync V2 is a free extension for Microsoft Office that overcomes two of these limitations: easier collaborative editing and better integration with Microsoft Office itself.
OffiSync V2 adds a new toolbar to Office 2003/2007. From that toolbar users can easily access their Google documents and edit them directly from within Word, Excel or Powerpoint. Edited documents can be saved to Google Docs directly from Office to the documents in your Google Docs account.
Clicking Open in the OffiSync toolbar gives direct access. Clicking a document filename will automatically download the file to Office where it can be edited directly in Excel, Word or Powerpoint. Saving an edited file works in a similar manner. It is virtually transparent to the user whether the file is local or stored online. Files are saved in Google doc format.
OffiSync allows any number of users to collaboratively and simultaneously edit a document. Any user who has Google Docs file edit privileges can make changes to a Google document. Changes are displayed to other online users immediately via a notification popup and also notified to offline users by email. Changes made by other users are not shown in real time (in the free version) but by pressing the Merge button in the toolbar that then incorporates the changes into the working copy of the document. Tracking changes is simplified by a version comparison view from within OffiSync. Other users can edit via different Office versions combined with OffiSync or directly by online editing with their browser from Google Docs.
I tried it on a Windows 7/ Office 20007 system and OffiSync worked without a glitch. I particularly liked the way OffiSync seamlessly integrates Google Docs within Office. I like Google Docs but frankly I find its word processor and spreadsheet programs limited compared to Word and Excel. With OffiSync I can work completely within Office yet have the advantage of online storage and collaborative editing.
Yes, there are other solutions to this problem but OffiSync is free, available now and works like a charm. Will it remain free? I suspect so as a Premium Edition is offered that adds additional features such as real time co-authoring and the ability to store files in Microsoft Office formats. For a full feature comparison see here:
- A Google Docs or Apps account
- Microsoft Office 2003 or 2007
- Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7
- Microsoft .NET Framework V3.5 SP1 (32 bit only)
Download link: http://www.offisync.com/download.html (5.7MB)
Introductory video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=06Mw9R61xUs&NR=1
Have you got a Hot Find for us? If there's a great web site, or freeware app, that you want to tell us about, just click through to http://www.techsupportalert.com/content/submit-product-review.htm, fill in some basic details, and we'll do the rest. If it's published we will give you full credit.