Monday, September 15, 2014

Office 365 - Good, Bad, and Awesome

Happy Monday, good people of the blogosphere! Do you remember that post I did a while back on MS Word vs Scrivener? Well, I may have mentioned something about Office 365 playing a huge part in the decision on whether I'd take the leap and learn Scrivener or just stick to MS Word. So, I invested in the Office 365 suite, downloaded the app, and the results are in. If you've been on the fence, this might be the tipping point. Of course, my experience with the program may not mimic yours, so remember to take everything you read (no matter the source) with a grain of salt. Grab your comfy chair, a cup of Jo, and let's get going!

When I saw the editing and portability power of Word in the 365 suite, I knew it would be the game changer for me. I can't begin to tell you how amazing it is to be able to write on my computer, pick up my iPad and go outside to sit with my daughter while she swims and write some more, and then come back in and have the words I wrote magically appear on the screen in my manuscript. Can you say freedom? No longer am I tethered to my desk.

But writing in two different places and having it all sync up is something Evernote could do, right?

Yes.

However...

I'm also an editor (and if you're a writer, you kind of are, too). No other program holds the MS I'm editing, allows me to make inline changes and comments, and keeps it all in a format most people have the program to open (.docx). Best of all, it can also be saved out as a .doc.

Now for the one downside so far:
On my iPad, it's difficult to highlight a specific place in the text because I don't have a mouse. It requires a few more motions to get to where I need to be because of the press/hold/select function. I kinda wish it was adaptable to highlight whatever I hold my finger on without me having to go into select/select all.

But, I can also see how that might be an annoyance. Hello? I just clicked to put the cursor there, not select the word! Right? So, six of one, half a dozen of the other.

Also, I'm not losing as much editing time when I have to hold my finger as I would be if I needed to be chained to my desk to work.

Make sense?

So, the pros outweigh the cons for me. But, allow further elaboration. Here are some screenshots of my WIP in Word 2013 on my iPad (click to enlarge):

Here we have the HOME screen.


You can see, it looks a lot like the traditional Word. No huge learning curve, and nothing to be alarmed about. You won't be able to format your page like you can in Word, but if you take a moment and set it up beforehand, it functions just fine. Or, you can always open on your laptop or desktop and select all and format. It'll save the changes over automatically.


When we click on the INSERT tab at the top, we get this:


It lets you add pictures, shapes, a text box, and all sorts of goodies.

Next up, is LAYOUT:




Just like in the older version of Word, you can change the margins, headers and footers, and numbers.

Then, we have my favorite, REVIEW:





Ahhhh, the power of the editor is here. This screen. You can turn on Track Changes, leave inline corrections, comments in balloons, and do so much more. See that tiny icon in the top right? You can add editors to the document if they have the program. Their edits show up in different colors when you look at the document again. How cool is that?

Last, is VIEW:


This is where you can choose what Word shows you as you write or edit. You know we all love word count! *grin*

Another awesome thing is how this program (on your desktop or mobile device) will take you to the place you left off when you return. It happens automatically on the iPad version, and you just click a ribbon that resembles a bookmark on the desktop version. My app crashed on me one time so far (knock on wood) while I was editing. But the changes were automatically saved as soon as they were made, so I lost nothing. Yeah, awesome.

By the way, the desktop version functions like MS Word 2007. Not a bunch of new stuff to learn before you use it.

Everything is stored in the cloud, and you're giving a ridiculous amount of storage space with the home version (I have 1TB). I mean, will I really ever use a terabyte of storage? I think not.

It is a per-year cost, so consider yourself warned. But every single one of you are writers or editors and will be using it for work, right? Ask your tax rep if you can write it off. My version is Office 365 Personal and will be $70 a year. It includes one desktop and one iPad license.

Anyway, now you have more information and a personal account of this new software. As always, I get no kickbacks from anyone, and there are no affiliate links on this blog. I just tell it like I see it and let you make your own decisions. You can get more information here or do a Google search for Office 365 and go from there.

What do you think? Have you considered changing? Any questions about the software for me?

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!

Jo

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