What is OneDrive?
Microsoft’s OneDrive provides one place where users can keep and share photos, videos, notes, documents, and surveys and be able to access them on any machine by just logging in. If you’re using the most recent Office 2013 suite, or have a Windows 8 device, you have likely seen the OneDrive icon/save option, as it is built into most of Microsoft’s latest applications, for the convenience of the user. You need a Microsoft account to get started, but if you are already using Windows 8 or Office, you should have one set up.
How is this different from DropBox, Google Drive, or iCloud?
OneDrive offers 7GB of free storage for each user, which can later be expanded as needed. The user can add 50GB, 100GB, or 200GB, or any combination of the three, at a rate of $25/50GB. OneDrive also has an app for Windows, Mac, iOS, Windows Phone, Android, and Xbox, as well as a web interface, and having it as a built-in save option in the Office 2013 suite. Sharing and allowing others to edit documents in OneDrive is also a capability, as OneDrive offers web versions of Office that are compatible on all Windows, Mac, and web-based devices. Permissions can be set on documents such that multiple people can edit a document at one time, with a convenient chat side-bar for collaboration, or a document can be set to read-only, therefore only editable by the original author.
What does it look like?
Logging into OneDrive, the main screen features a series of tiles representing your various folders. When you go to open a document, you are given the option to edit in the native program, or to edit in the web app. Editing in the native program will open the corresponding Office program on your machine. If editing in the native program, remember to then re-upload the document to OneDrive after editing (unless you are using Office 2013, which will do this for you). The web applications of Office look similar to that of native Office programs, with a ribbon on top, File, Home, Insert, etc.. Similar to most text editing software, the web applications are virtually identical to Office 2013. The offering of web apps allows Office to be universal and work on all platforms. Working in the web apps conveniently saves your document frequently and automatically, so that you always have the most up to date version on your OneDrive.