Based in Toronto, Ontario, Nancy Matsumoto is a writer and editor who covers sustainable agriculture, food, sake, arts and culture.

Web-based Document Sharing

Problem: You're working on a project with a team of people and want everyone to have access and work on the same files.

Solution: Online services offering Web-based applications let you upload or start Microsoft Office documents and access the files from any Web-connected computer. The services let more than one person make changes to the files, with previous versions viewable online so you can keep track of who did what to a file. The Web sites are also another way to access files away from work or home. Google (docs.google.com) allows gmail account holders to originate a document, spreadhseet or presentation and invite anyone with an email address to collaborate on it. Check docs.google.com/templates for a large selection of free document templates. Zoho.com offers 18 online appications, from word processing and spreadsheets to an application called Zoho Meeting that allows you to access the contents of your home computer from your work computer (free of charge for individuals and for businesses. It's free for up to 10 people; more than that, it's $50 per user per year).

Caveat: Real-time collaborating and editing isn't available for BlackBerrys or other handheld devices, though Web files can be viewed on certain Web-connected handhelds. GOfficeiPhone.com offers a free word-processing application that allows you to create a document on your iPhone and turn it into a Word document you can email. Thinkfree Mobile (thinkfree.com), due out in 2009, will allow small-screen editing and sharing; it'll come preloaded on certain handheld devices.

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