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5 Apps That Help Microsoft Office and Google Apps Play Nice Together

5 Apps That Help Microsoft Office and Google Apps Play Nice Together

Even though Microsoft Office is a standard Office suite in many organizations, on occasion you may work on a project of mixed Microsoft Office and Google Apps users. While this might sound open to frustration up front especially when it comes to multiple authors on documents, there is a growing list of options to help Microsoft Word and Google Docs play nicely together without a loss in productivity.

Beyond the multiple authors or geographically dispersed project team use cases, some of the tools in this post can even be helpful to freelancers to backup or sync their project documents with a Google Apps account.

Here are some free apps you can resort to if you are a Microsoft Office and Google Apps user to help with transferring documents back and forth:

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1. Google Cloud Connect

Google brings us Google Cloud Connect, an installable Microsoft Office toolbar that adds collaborative editing, tracking tools, versioning, and sharing to the Microsoft Office interface. It also helps resolve the document hijinks that can ensue when it takes a lot of the complexity out of these tasks. I use Google Cloud Connect to synchronize certain project documents to my Google Docs account even if I am not collaborating with another writer. Google Cloud Connect requires Windows 7, Windows Vista or Windows XP with .NET Framework 2.0. It is compatible with Office 2010, Office 2007, and Office 2003. It is not available for Mac OS X, which is a bit of a disappointment to us Mac users.

    2. Google Drive

    As I write this post, Google Drive  is going live around the web. Even before the pundit complaints die down, it is easy to see that with the Google Drive desktop client (available for Mac and Windows), that Google Drive can become a handy bridge between Microsoft Office users and Google Docs users through straight up file synchronization between Google Drive’s free 5 GB online storage and a Mac or Windows desktop.

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      3. SyncDocs

      I found this gem in the Google Apps Marketplace (always worth a visit!). SyncDocs is free up to the first 10,000 documents and lets you treat Google Docs as another drive on your PC. It creates a backup that is an exact mirror of your local files in your Google account. It is an example of the power of Google Docs for the freelancers and small to medium business users out there because it is easy to use and maintain without the need of an in-house IT department.

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        4. Harmon.ie for Google Docs

        Originally, I wasn’t planning to mention this option because Harmon.ie for Google Docs  is a Microsoft Outlook Add-in. While, I have objections over using Outlook as a document management tool I do know there are those of you out there who live and die by the email inbox with Outlook open all day. This app is for you! After installing Harmon.ie for Google Docs, you have a new sidebar in Outlook, which you can use to upload and convert Office document into Google Docs. Since it is an Outlook add-in, Harmon.ie automatically shares linked document with your email message recipient(s). This is a great option for breaking Outlook users of email attachments because it asks you if you want to replace a file attachment with a link and then automatically uploads the file attachment into the sender’s Google Docs account for sharing. It has some useful search tools and lets you open and edit Google documents in Outlook (groan!). Most importantly, it lets users save Google native format documents in Microsoft Office formats, OpenOffice, PDF, HTML, and TXT. One annoying element of this app is the Thank you pop-up that appears after you use the sidebar encouraging you to share the fun of Harmon.ie with your social network contacts.

          5. GoDocSync

          To round out the list, I chose the free standard version of GoDocSync for this lineup. It’s a great example of how synchronization should work between Google Apps and Microsoft Office. GoDocSync supports Microsoft Office 2003/2007/2010. This Microsoft Office add-in application also includes a powerful search tool, local file history and restoring, and support for Google Docs file attributes. This app is simple and elegant in its implementation.

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            The apps I profiled in this post can help you get Microsoft Office and Google Apps to play nice together during a project, hopefully saving you time and frustration. Plus these apps let you and your team have the best of both Office suite worlds.

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            Last Updated on February 15, 2019

            7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

            7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

            Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

            Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

            Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

            So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

            Joe’s Goals

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              Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

              Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

              Daytum

                Daytum

                is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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                Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

                Excel or Numbers

                  If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

                  What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

                  Evernote

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                    I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

                    Evernote is free with a premium version available.

                    Access or Bento

                      If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

                      Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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                      You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

                      Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

                      All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

                      Conclusion

                      I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

                      What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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