As a VA (Virtual Assistant), my daily activities include collaboration with my clients, as you might expect. At times, my workload increases and then I turn to my sub-contractor, Tracey to help out with certain tasks and projects.
When working with a client or a contractor, reliability and security are at the top of my list of must-haves. Right after that is a simplicity – the tool we use can’t be difficult. In the days before ‘the cloud’, we’d have to email files and documents to each other, but now there are cloud choices.
Tracey hadn’t used SkyDrive before, so I was eager to let her know all the advantages of using it and walk her through the process.
Here are the Steps to Get SkyDrive
1. She already had a Microsoft mail account, but had never explored the SkyDrive portion of her account. When I told her she had 7GB of free storage with SkyDrive, she was pretty excited about that since one of her other cloud accounts was full. I directed her to https://apps.live.com/skydrive where she chose the Windows Desktop app and installed it. Once the app was installed, I told her to look for the white cloud in her system tray and click on it and follow the instructions to get it connected to her cloud account.
2. Now she has SkyDrive both on her laptop (under Favorites) and in the cloud. She discovered she could make new folders in SkyDrive, put documents in them and have them sync to her cloud SkyDrive.
How We Shared Project Folders
Now that Tracey was up and running with SkyDrive, I had a folder with subfolders in it ready to share with her. Here’s how I did it:
- I made a folder with Tracey’s name and in it you can see I have four sub-folders along with documents. I decided to put sub-folders in the main 1Tracey folder to keep everything contained in just one folder – at least for now. The view below is the detail view. I like to use this view when doing maintenance as I can easily see dates, sharing status and size.
- Now, to share the folder (from detail view), I simply clicked on the box next to the 1Tracey folder and then went to near the top of my screen and clicked ‘Share’. Then a box opened up like the one below where I filled in Tracey’s email address. Usually, I prefer to ‘Get a link’ and shorten it and then send the link from my email client (Outlook), so that’s what I did and sent her a note that she now has access to the folder and all its contents. I also gave her editing privileges since we will need to collaborate on documents together.
- When Tracey clicked on the link, it took her to her Microsoft account sign-in and after signing in, she would be able to immediately see the folder and it’s contents. A quick and easy way to see who is sharing folders or documents is to look in the left-hand column of your SkyDrive and click on ‘’Shared’.
There aren’t any more steps – it was just that easy. Now we could talk about a particular photo or Publisher document in the folder and we could both be looking at the same thing at the same time. This has made us more efficient. There’s no more sending things back and forth and wondering who did the latest edits.
There is one more view I wanted to show because it has so much information and that is ’detailed view’. This view is great for folder administrators because we can see at a glance who a folder is being shared with, the permissions they have, the last time it was modified and if any comments have been made. Detailed view is accessed by clicking the icon at the far right top of the illustration.
Bonus – Windows Photo Gallery!
Soon after getting Tracey set up with SkyDrive, I shared with her how I have been using Windows Photo Gallery for many years and how easily and beautifully it integrates with SkyDrive.
I had her download Windows Live Essentials at http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-live/essentials-home. I told her with this suite of free programs, she’d be able to easily upload all her photos to SkyDrive with Windows Photo Gallery as well as get Messenger and Windows Movie Maker – all for free. I explained to her how I use SkyDrive as a backup for both my files and photos. I especially focused on Photo Gallery because I know she’s an avid photographer. She loved how beautiful the Windows Photo Gallery interface was and how she could click on different views to see them grouped in various ways.
Below is a snapshot of the main tool bar. When I told her she could upload photos to SkyDrive, Flickr or share them on Facebook, she thought that was pretty cool. If she had videos, they could be uploaded either to YouTube or Vimeo (in addition to SkyDrive). Then there’s the email button where she can send an entire album to someone’s email. The best thing about sending via email is that the recipient actually gets a cool photo gallery embedded in their email AND when they click on it, it takes them to SkyDrive where they can be viewed in slideshow mode. No more cluttering your inbox with attachments!
I enjoy telling people how I use SkyDrive and Windows Photo Gallery because it has simplified and streamlined how I catalog, save, retrieve and automatically have my photos and documents backed up. Now when I download photos from my camera, I put them right into a new or existing SkyDrive folder and I know they will be synced to my cloud – instant peace of mind. Most people don’t backup until a disaster happens and then it’s a hard lesson to learn. I really encourage everyone to get a system that works for you – for me, it’s SkyDrive!