Syncing and sending

You can sync files whether you're an individual with a free Windows Live SkyDrive account, which offers up to 25GB of storage, or a member of a big company that leans on SharePoint for collaboration. Users of SharePoint, which I did not test, can manage stored files and import My Site links. SkyDrive users, however, get a dismally limited version of syncing for the phone: It syncs only OneNote notebooks.

To get started with SkyDrive on the phone, you first register the phone with a Windows Live ID. Other than that, you'll have to dig to find any mention of the free service. There's too much emphasis on SharePoint, which the majority of individuals and small businesses don't use.

When ready to sync OneNote via SkyDrive, you visit Office on the phone, go to OneNote, select All, then touch the Refresh icon. I would never have found that without the Microsoft product guide.

But because I couldn't sync Word, Excel and PowerPoint files among my desktop, the web and the phone using SkyDrive, I resorted to emailing them to myself.

Microsoft Office Mobile

Opening a 36-page Word document attched in Hotmail on the handset took several minutes, but only a few seconds for a 10-page file. Word Mobile rendered formatting, fonts and images beautifully.

After answering a phone call and sending text messages, though, it was torture figuring out how to return to the last document. I went back to Hotmail and the document was no longer open. I went to the Office menu, yet the document did not appear. I found iOS, despite its lack of multitasking, to be more intuitive than Windows Phone 7 for finding your previous place after an interruption.

My lesson was to remember to save a document the moment you open it. When you do that, you can be sure it will appear in the Office Hub even if you get interrupted right away. And wait, how did I get to the point of emailing files to myself again? I stopped doing that when Writely, the Google Docs predecessor, launched more than 5 years ago.

I didn't realise that with Windows Phone 7 you can also access Office files from a browser at That worked swimmingly with even a long Word doc. But your guess is as good as mine as to why I received an error trying to download a small XLS file that was perfectly fine when I downloaded it to my desktop from SkyDrive.