Wednesday, February 6, 2013

SkyDrive - Embedding an Excel Worksheet - No more file downloads!

Incase you didn't know, I'm a huge fan of SkyDrive, a Microsoft based product that let's you store and share document's in the cloud, giving you access to your files no matter where you are.  As such, I have been deemed a member of the SkyDrive Insider's program.  Should you be interested in becoming an insider, learn more about it here:
A co-worker of mine and I got into a discussion about retirement savings yesterday.  After writing a bunch of stuff on a whiteboard, we eventually realized performing iterative calculations on savings and compounded interest would be much better solved with Excel... nothing groundbreaking there.  After dancing around with some custom calculations, we eventually stumbled upon a well formatted template, complete with a simple to use form section and even a chart (hooray pictures!).

So last night, I went home and thought about that process, and got a little frustrated about it all.  I mean.. it's 2013.. do we really STILL have to Google\Bing\Yahoo!\WebCrawler "Excel Template Retirement", scroll through lists, download a file, un-zip it and open the file?  I mean, not that this is all that difficult, but it just seems so.. non-2013.

As mentioned above, I'm a SkyDrive enthusiast!  I also want the world to know that it's so much more than just storing-a-file-and-having-access-to-it-anywhere-at-anytime-as-long-as-you-have-Internet-access.. because.. you know.. that's so un-impressive.  It also has alot of features to make life simpler, such as not always needed to have a file handy, sometimes all you need is the Internet.  SkyDrive has some awesome features for the web browser that let's you use and interact with files, without the need for downloading them.

So in our instance above, let's say that you already built something like the retirement calculator, or that you found the spreadsheet of your dreams created by SpreadsheetZONE that was hosted on, and let's say this thing is working beautifully, but you want to be able to access it from.. say.. a mobile phone or tablet.. or even without having to have a copy of the file.  With SkyDrive, you can EMBED an Excel file.  Very easily too.. here's how.

Within the SkyDrive web application ( I took the retirement savings calculator and uploaded it to my SkyDrive account within a public folder available here  With my file SZ_RetirementCalculator1 uploaded,  I can choose the file by clicking on the icon.  Then, I can choose "Embed" on the options menu across the top, and choose to "Generate" HTML to embed the file in a webpage.  Why would I do this?  Well.. so now I can show the following:

Check that out!  I can now have a FULLY INTERACTIVE Excel Workbook available on the web, all by clicking a total of 3 buttons.  And of course, using various security settings within SkyDrive, you can configure this to only read\save access to select audiences if needed, but with very little work, we can now move away from the need of downloading and opening files, and re-searching for files when we lose then, and instead just make use of the web as it was intended!

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