If you regularly work with other professionals then it’s likely at some point you will need to share documents with them.
If you don’t work face-to-face, the usual method of sharing is often sending something by email. However if you’re using different systems, this can raise issues of compatibility, as well as the fact that sometimes documents and images are simply far too big to send by email.
Today I’m going to introduce three tools that are available for overcoming these issues and which speed up the process when working on collaborative projects. These tools are DropBox, Google Drive and Evernote.
DropBox is cloud based and enables you to access and share files easily without the need for email. Here are some of the benefits:
View and edit files and folders from anywhere
DropBox allows you to upload files and folders onto a website so you can access them from anywhere. You simply need to login to the site to view your documents.
Similarly, you can sync your laptop, phone and tablet so that you can easily edit documents and save new files, safe in the knowledge that the changes will sync with every other device. It also means that if something happens to your equipment (for example your laptop gets stolen) you won’t lose any of your documents if they are saved on DropBox.
Share your files and folders with others
A useful function of DropBox is that you can easily share files with other people. This cuts the need to send bulky emails. The options for this are either to send a link to someone so they can download a document and view it on their own system, or alternatively, you can share a file or folder with someone so they have editing rights.
How to get started…
DropBox is free to use for up to 2GB. If you need more storage space the accounts available start at $99 per year for 100GB. You can get started with a free account by signing up at the DropBox website and syncing any devices that you want to access and edit your files from.
2. Google Drive
Google Drive allows you to easily work on documents as part of a team. Here are the benefits:
Work collaboratively on a document in real time
Similarly to DropBox, Google Drive permits you to upload files so you can access and edit them from anywhere. It also allows you to share documents with other people for collaboration. A particularly useful feature of Google Drive is that one or more people can work on the same document at the same time from different computers. This means that each person can respond to any edits immediately – a far more effective way to work than waiting for edited documents to be emailed or worrying about which file is the latest version.
Create documents within Google Drive
As part of Google Drive you can create documents within the system. These include word processing, spreadsheets and presentations and are known as Google Docs. They are particularly useful if you are working with people who aren’t necessarily using the same systems as you (for example a PC user collaborating with a Mac user) as you can always be sure that both parties are seeing identical documents and edits can be made accordingly. In addition, some people chose to use this functionality instead of Office.
How to get started…
Google Drive is free for the first 5 GB.
For more storage there are a range of plans that you can choose from which start from just $2.49 per month. To set up Google Drive simply go to the website and either sign-in with your Google login details or set up a Google account if you don’t already have one. You then just need to install Google Drive onto your computer so that it syncs to the website.
Evernote allows you to collect notes, web pages and files all in one place. Here are some reasons why this is such a useful tool.
Create notebooks you can access anywhere
Evernote is a fantastic tool for collecting notes, bookmarking web pages and uploading files. You can organise everything you put on Evernote into notebooks and the handy tagging and search facilities ensure that keeping everything organised and easy to find is a breeze. The Evernote web clipper is a particularly useful function that allows you to ‘grab’ useful web pages as you come across them. You could collect ideas for blog posts, keep really good examples of marketing and create a reading list of high quality articles to refer back to.
Share your notes and files with people with other people
Evernote is handy when working on team projects as you can share notes and notebooks with others for viewing and editing. You might for example create some notes following a meeting you had with a client which you then share with a colleague along with some relevant files that you’d like them to view. Sync Evernote to all your devices and you’ll also be able to access and share your notes from anywhere.
How to get started…
Evernote is free for basic use and you can sign up for an account on their website. If you want to upload a high volume of files or be able to share editing rights with other people, you’ll need to upgrade to the Premium account which is £35 per year. Once you’ve got yourself an account you can begin to create notebooks and download other Evernote apps that are available such as web clipper for bookmarking web pages.
What do you think?
How do you share files? Do you prefer DropBox or Google Drive? How has using one of these tools benefited your working day? Please let me know in the comments below.
Today’s Micro Action
How are you currently sharing files with clients and colleagues? Could you streamline the process with one of these three tools? Take some time today to explore the different options and figure out which works best for you.