Have you heard of Microsoft’s Docs.com? You might have noticed it when you login to your Outlook.com account from the web and you click on the upper left icon. This opens to show all the free apps and Docs.com is one of them. We’ll look at what docs.com is, what to do and not do with it and how it might help you organize particular subjects or get noticed via the public searches.
What is Docs.com?
“Docs.com is an online platform where you can publish and discover Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Sway, and PDF documents, among others. With Docs.com, you can create an online portfolio of your expertise, discover, download, or bookmark works from other authors, and build your brand with built-in SEO, analytics, and email and social sharing.”
That’s the official explanation, now to break it down to how an everyday person or blogger might like to use it.
Docs.com is a part of your on-line Microsoft account, just like you have access to use Word, Excel and PowerPoint online, you also have Docs.
It is a public place to publish, store, collect and share all kinds of documents. The key word is public. Know that whatever you upload or publish is searchable by anyone using the Docs search box and your uploads will also be indexed by both Google and Bing. There is the ‘Limited’ control button – which means people must have a direct link to view it. But if you’re going to limit people, just use OneDrive to share!
When you first upload or publish, you will get the below reminder (unless you tell it not to show it again). Unfortunately, many people clicked to not show it after the first time and then they forgot and uploaded private documents. Maybe they thought it was like OneDrive – who knows? Here’s an article from Ars Technica about what they found. They did notify Microsoft and they removed the search bar for a while, but it is back now.
Set Up Your Docs.com Profile
This is the first thing you should do. Although you sign in with your Microsoft account, the Docs.com area needs to be set up. There’s a place for your name, website, photo and then you can write an explanation/introduction to yourself. Very important!
Securing Your Docs.com Content
This is really a misnomer, because there is really little you can do. Here’s an excerpt from an article from Jeff Guillet @Expta on Twitter where he goes over what you can do. While you can limit viewing to people with a url, I would play it safe and send a url from your OneDrive!
“Docs.com is meant to be a service for sharing documents, either publicly (to everyone), or limited (only to those who have the URL). A third option, Organization, allows access to your docs only from users who sign in using organizational credentials for your Office 365 tenant, but this visibility setting is currently only available for schools.”
The parts of Docs.com – Documents, Collections and Journals
This is the heart of Docs.com. This is where you can dig in and upload, collect, organize and write. Let’s go over each of these.
- Documents – you have multiple options. You can upload your current documents (Word, Excel, PPT, Sway, PDF) either from your computer or OneDrive. There are three other options – you can share a OneNote document, a Sway presentation or Office Mix.
- Let’s go over Sway – this is a newer presentation software. It’s also a free app with the Microsoft on-line apps that is supposed to be easier and cooler to use than PowerPoint. I haven’t used it much.
- Office Mix – this is still in a beta preview, which means it’s not released to the general public yet. The Office mix is simply a PowerPoint you have built with audio in it. Pretty cool. I will be trying this one out!
- Documents – besides uploading something of yours to share, you can also insert a URL. This is great for those of us who blog and want another place to highlight some of our documents. I’ve added several from my blog. I had the opportunity to fill in a description and add some tags for discoverability. Nice.
- Collections – I’m using this area to gather and collect items in related categories. I’ll start up a new collection by adding a name and then I add documents to it. Right now, I’m working on collecting some OneDrive For Business information. I have found some things around the web – both from searching docs.com and by getting things from Microsoft. When you add anything, the default is to put yourself as the author. Of course, I change this before saving. Even though you see my name below, when you click to open it, it says, ‘curated by Lynn Dye’ and then it has the author’s name!
- Journals – this area is for publishing original content right from Docs.com. Clicking on it brings you to a spot where you can start typing.
Docs.com Analytics, Social Sharing and Following
Since Docs.com is searchable and indexed, Microsoft has added in an analytics section. People can follow you, like they can on Twitter or Pinterest. When someone opens and reads your content, you’ll see an icon count notification on that document.
You’ll notice a share button on each article/document. Use this to share to social media and get yourself known. Before doing this, it would be good to beef up your site with quite a bit of content.
The About link takes you to Sway where you will be walked through how to set up a nifty About you section. I haven’t done this yet.
What Will YOU Use It For?
Does this give you any ideas? You could use it to repurpose things you’ve posted on your blog, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc. Maybe you have a hobby you want to share. It’s kind of like Pinterest, only for documents and presentations–perhaps more business like, but it can also be put to personal use.
If you’ve developed your docs.com, put a link in the comments so we can check it out!