10 ways to share your Word 2010 documents

The need for collaboration technologies keeps growing, and Word 2010 includes a number of features that address that need. You might be surprised at how many ways there are to share your Word content.

Once you've put your heart and soul into preparing a document, you're ready to share it with the world (or at least your colleagues). Word 2010 offers numerous options for handling the task. Here are 10 ways you can make your great content available to others, online and off.

Note: This article is also available as a PDF download.

1: Share a Word doc in Windows Live SkyDrive

The integration of Word 2010 with Windows Live SkyDrive and the addition of the Word Web App is one of the big stories of the new release. Now you can easily post a Word document to Windows Live SkyDrive by using the Save To Web tool in the Save & Send tab and continue editing, formatting, or even sharing it with others, right from that online space (Figure A). The editing tools in the Word Web App enable you to do everything you might need to do online, including add new content, research your topic, and edit and format what's already there. You can give others access to the file stored in Windows Live SkyDrive so that you can all work together peaceably on the file in a space that's accessible to everyone.

Figure A

The Word Web App and Word's integration with Windows Live SkyDrive make collaboration easy.

2: Post a document to SharePoint Workspace 2010

Microsoft SharePoint Workspace 2010 is available to users who are working with Office 2010 Professional Plus. SharePoint Workspace 2010 offers a shared workspace for you and your team that connects to your SharePoint Server. You can take files offline, work on them, and sync them back to the server the next time you go online. You can do all the workspace things you like to do -- set tasks, check calendars, create and collaborate in a Groove workspace, and more. You can save directly to SharePoint Workspace 2010 from the Save & Send tab in Backstage view in Word 2010.

3: Send a document as an email attachment

This feature has been around for years, but it's still the primary way most people share documents -- attaching them to an email message. This approach is fine when you're working with people you know and trust, but with all the concern about online hoaxes and viruses, attachments are considered highly suspect by individuals and by security software. For example, one of my clients uses security software that automatically rejects any PDF file regardless of the sender.

Before you send a Word 2010 document as a file attachment, be sure you set the protection you want for the file. You can do this by clicking the File tab and clicking Protect Document in the Info tab and choosing the protection you want to add. When you're ready to send the file, click the File tab, click Save & Send, and then click Send As Attachment in the Send Using E-mail selection. Word 2010 opens an email message with your document attached, and you can address the message normally, add a note if you like, and click Send.

4: Share a document in PDF format

Even though sending a PDF might not work for everyone you communicate with (see the previous note), saving a file in PDF format and sending it to a colleague is a good way to share a file in its final format. It's possible to edit a PDF if you have the right software, but most people simply view PDF files and enjoy the fact that the text, graphics, and layout are all finalized in the file and that it can be opened on any type of computer. Word 2010 can prepare and send your file as a PDF in one smooth step. Click the File tab and click Save & Send. Then, click Send As PDF in the Send Using E-mail category. Word creates the PDF and attaches the document to a new email message for you to address and send.

5: Save a document to a shared folder on your server

Once you tell your operating system where to find the shared folder, you can use the Save As command to save files directly to a folder others can access. In Windows 7, you can set up Windows Explorer to recognize the shared folder by mapping the drive. Open Windows Explorer, right-click Network, and choose Map Network Drive. Then, specify a drive letter, choose the folder you want to use, and click Finish. That should add your shared folder to your Network Connections so you can choose the folder to receive the files when you use the Save As dialog box.

6: Publish a document as a blog post

Depending on the nature of your content, you may want to post it live on the Web for everyone to see, link to, and share. Word 2010 enables you to set up your file so that it publishes directly to your blog. Begin by creating a new blog post. Just click the File tab and click New. Then, choose Blog Post and click Create. Now choose the account to which you want to post. (The first time you do this, you'll be prompted to provide your blog account information.) Type your title and add your content in the body portion of the document (Figure B). When you finish, click Publish to post the file to the Web. Quick, simple, and easy to edit and share.

Figure B

You can post your document to a blog and share it directly with your public.

7: Send a document as an Internet fax

Yes, people really do still send things via fax. Granted, the technology isn't used as much as it once was, and the lines dividing scanners and faxes and email are getting increasingly blurred. But you can send your Word 2010 document by Internet fax if you decide that's the way you want to go. The tool you need is in the Save & Send tab of Backstage view. Click Send As Internet Fax, and Word 2010 will display a message box prompting you to choose a fax service. When you click OK, you'll be taken to an Office Web page offering a variety of fax services you can review. After you select a service and set it up, you'll be able to use Send As Internet Fax seamlessly with the account you create with that provider.

8: Send a Word doc by instant message

So you and your colleagues are having a quick conversation about something in a document you're all developing and instead of going back and forth about something, you decide to send it to the others so they can see what you're talking about. Windows Live Messenger enables you to attach the file and send it while you talk. Everyone else can then open the file and be on the same page (figuratively and literally) while you talk through the decisions you need to make about content and format.

9: Display a document in Microsoft Office Live Meeting

Another way to share your document in real time is to show it to others using Microsoft Office Live Meeting or another Web conferencing tool, like Go2Meeting. While you're meeting online with others, you can open, discuss, annotate, revise, and finalize the document in real time.

10: ...Or just print the document and walk it down the hall

And of course you can return to the dinosaur-age of computing and send your file to the printer, using ink and paper resources (which some poor tree paid dearly to provide for you), and then meander down the hall to deliver the document to a colleague. There's a time and a place for print, and it will most likely be with us for a long time. But if you can save the steps (and the resources) and just click a button to share the file electronically, why not?

[Full disclosure: In addition to being a tech writer, I'm also a member of the Society for Environmental Journalists and the coauthor of Green Home Computing for Dummies. So if it sounds like I'm advocating green practices, well, I am. :)]

Katherine Murray is the author of Microsoft Office 2010 Plain & Simple (Microsoft Press, 2010), Microsoft Word 2010 Plain & Simple (Microsoft Press, 2010), and Microsoft Word 2010 Inside Out (Microsoft Press, 2010). You can reach Katherine through her blog, BlogOffice or by emailing kmurray230@sbcglobal.net.