Most lawyers use Microsoft Office – Word, Excel, Powerpoint at a minimum – in their law practice. If there is any keystone application in the modern legal profession, it is arguably either the word processor or e-mail. The cloud offers Web versions of word processors and e-mail and, while the latter is an excellent match for the power of a locally-installed application, the former isn’t. In fact, Microsoft Word is a sufficiently powerful software program that the narrow focus of cloud applications on features has meant there isn’t any online replacement for offline Word.
Here are some cloud office suites that can give you the flexibility – when all you need are the most common features – to work in the cloud part, if not all, of the time.
Apple users can synchronize their files to their iCloud and use Web-based versions of Pages (word processor), Numbers (spreadsheet), and Keynote (presentations) programs.
Business version of the free apps available with a Google Drive (formerly known as Google Docs) account. Includes word processor, spreadsheet, presentation, and drawing programs.
Consumer-oriented file storage service that has free Web apps. Includes word processor, spreadsheet, presentation, and drawing programs.
Microsoft Office 365
Cloud-based service that incorporates free Office Web apps, Skydrive storage, hosted Outlook, and a desktop license to the Microsoft Office suite.
Microsoft Office Web Apps
Free version of Microsoft Word, Powerpoint, Excel connected to free Microsoft Skydrive file storage service.
Personal and Standard products provide basic office suite, including word processor, spreadsheet, and presentation apps.