Jack Wallen discusses how to install, configure, and use Microsoft's SkyDrive app on an Android tablet.
For some of us, one cloud storage service isn't enough. And even though the Android tablet seamlessly integrates with Google Docs, there may be a necessity to connect to a different cloud service, such as SkyDrive. Unlike the Windows 8 Surface tablet version of SkyDrive, the Android version does not have a seamless integration with the Windows 8 Office application. What the Android version does offer, however, is the ability to upload both pictures and files to your SkyDrive account (whereas the Windows Phone 8/tablet app can only upload pictures).
The full feature set of the Android SkyDrive app includes:
- Access all of your SkyDrive content
- Access to files that are shared with you
- View recently used documents
- Upload multiple photos and videos from your phone
- Share your files and photos directly from app
- Open files in other Android apps
- Delete or create new folders
Let's install, configure, and use SkyDrive on a Verizon-branded Samsung Galaxy Tab.
As with any Android app, the installation is simple:
- Open the Google Play Store
- Search for "skydrive" (no quotes)
- Tap the entry for the official Microsoft SkyDrive app
- Tap Download
- Tap Accept & install
- Allow the installation to complete
Once it's installed, you should see the launcher in either (or both) the home screen or the app drawer. Tap the launcher to open the application.
Connecting SkyDriveIt should go without saying, you must already have a SkyDrive account in order to connect. If you don't have one, visit the SkyDrive site and register. Next, tap the Sign In button on the SkyDrive app (Figure A). When prompted, enter your account credentials. Figure A
The familiar blue background of the SkyDrive app on the Galaxy Tab.Upon successful authentication, the main SkyDrive window will appear (Figure B). From here you can access all of the files and folders that reside on your SkyDrive storage. Now, what can you do with them? Let's take a look. Figure B
The main SkyDrive window, ready for you to manage.
One of the features that I like about the Windows Phone 8/tablet version of the app is that you can open files directly from the app itself. However, the Android take on SkyDrive does not offer that feature. Instead, all files are automatically downloaded to the SkyDrive/downloads folder of your SD card — and from there, you can open the files. Furthermore, the downloads do not get placed in a directory hierarchy similar to that on your SkyDrive account — they're simply all dumped into the downloads folder.
To download a file, do the following:
- Open SkyDrive
- Locate the file you want to download
- Tap the file you want to select
- Tap the Download button (downward pointing arrow in upper right corner)
That's it. Now, you just need to open your favorite file manager, locate the file, tap the file, and select the app you want to use to open the file.
To upload a file to your SkyDrive account, follow these steps:
- Open SkyDrive
- Navigate to the folder where you want the file to be located
- Tap the Upload button (upward pointing arrow in upper right corner)
- Select Upload Files from the drop-down
- Navigate to the folder holding the file (Figure C)
- Tap the file(s) to be uploaded
- Tap the Upload button (upper right corner)
Every folder on your SD card that contains a file is available for navigatation.
You can check your SkyDrive account to make sure that file uploaded. Just navigate to the target folder in the SkyDrive app, and the file should appear.The Settings for SkyDrive are fairly limited. Tap the menu button in the upper right corner (three vertical dots), and then tap Settings. From this new window (Figure D), you can sign out of your account, check how much space remains on your SkyDrive account, and set upload/download file size limits for photos. Figure D
The available settings on SkyDrive are limited.
You can also share a document with other users. There are two ways to share a document with SkyDrive:
- With a link
- Through the normal Android sharing tools (SMS, Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, email, etc)
The nice thing about sharing via a link is you can determine the access level the user will have. You can share a link with either:
- View only permissions
- View and Edit permissions
To do this, follow these steps:
- Open SkyDrive
- Navigate to and tap the file you want to share
- Tap the 'link' button in the upper right corner
- Select the access mode for the link
- Tap OK
- Tap the service to use for the sharing (Figure E)
- Complete the share
This list of available apps will depend on what you have installed.
If you're looking for yet another cloud-based storage/syncing/sharing app for your Android tablet, do yourself a favor and give SkyDrive a try. You'll get 7GB of storage space for your device and be able to access and share files from numerous other platforms.
Have you used the SkyDrive app on your Android tablet? Share you experience in the discussion thread below.