I use a number of Cloud-based services for storing data including DropBox, Box, Google Drive and SkyDrive. However, not only do I need to be able to store and access my files easily, in many cases, I need to be able to work with them directly from The Cloud – either via an app on a mobile device or in a browser.

SkyDrive

Each service has its own benefits and quirks when handling different types of files. When it comes to working with Excel files (and other MS Office files), SkyDrive fits the bill (well it would, wouldn’t it, being a Microsoft service!)

If you have an Office 365 account, you can edit Excel (and other MS Office) files directly on your mobile device using the 365 app – and if you don’t you can still open MS Office files using the free SkyDrive app.

On a PC or Mac, if you log in to your SkyDrive account via a web browser and click on an MS Office file, it opens the file in the browser using the appropriate Web App (Excel Web App, Word Web App, PowerPoint Web App). From here you can view or edit your document.

However, both the mobile app and the web apps are a little sparse in functionality and also, something that I discovered recently when I was uploading a bunch of files to my SkyDrive was that you cannot upload folders from your local computer, which meant that I had to manually create the folder structure in The Cloud and upload the files folder by folder.

So I turned to SkyDrive for Mac. It’s a free download which is now only available via the Mac App Store

When you install SkyDrive for Mac, a copy of your SkyDrive is downloaded to your Mac and put in the SkyDrive folder. The SkyDrive folder is located within your Home Folder on your internal hard drive. At the current time, it’s not possible to change this location.

Finder Sidebar SkyDrive

I’ve got Office 2011 installed on my Mac so if I want to view or edit an MS Office document, I can simply navigate to the SkyDrive folder (I’ve added a shortcut to it on my Finder Sidebar), double click the document and it opens the appropriate application on my Mac.

To upload files or folders (including a complete folder structure) to SkyDrive, I simply drag and drop the file/folder(s) to the SkyDrive folder. The SkyDrive folder is kept in sync with SkyDrive (in The Cloud) so if I add, change, or delete a file or folder on SkyDrive.com, the file or folder is added, changed, or deleted in mySkyDrive folder and vice versa.

If you don’t already have a SkyDrive account, you can sign up for free here – and you get 7GB of free storage too.