When I think about what I used to do to feed my obsession with word processing, archaic software systems like WordPerfect 2.0 and Lotus 1–2–3 come to mind. I can’t help but remember the negotiating with any and every family or friend with access to the Microsoft Office Suite professional licensing codes. This was before Microsoft introduced Home and Student /Business Professional editions that were slightly more affordable.
I would covet those floppy disks and CD-ROMs as if they family heirlooms, and nostalgically they kind of were. Together with desktop computers, the nostalgia train brings back memories of the mainframe and first iterations of the laptop produced by trusty brands like the IBM Thinkpad, Toshiba, and Dell. This was in the late 1990s before Apple’s iBook disrupted its design, and made laptops lightweight and portable. We sure have come a long way in personal computing.
As for present day, I hail to open source collaboration with the Google Docs suite and Drive filing system. It has become my go-to word processing platform, and I honestly don’t know where I would be without it. I’ve been a devotee since a former manager introduced the sharing tool as a way for our team to live collaborate on presentations, and ease the frustration of accessing the company share drive from home.
Since then I’ve plied it as a consideration for collaborators I work with — friends, colleagues, even organizations with whom I volunteer. That’s not to say there aren’t other collaboration platforms available but Google Docs has proven to be the most effective (at least for me). I particularly like the Suggested Edits features which make it easy to track changes, as you would in MSWord or Pages. And I’m constantly discovering new ways to maximize my experience. For instance, I recently started using Explore, a feature that scans your document and then searches the web for related content to aid in research purposes.
Do you have a favorite collaboration tool? If so, how has it changed the way you work?
This article originally posted on Medium on 10 April 2107.