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SkyDrive users can now share Office documents with anyone

Microsoft has tweaked its online collaboration so that people can view and edit your Office documents without a Microsoft account.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
2 min read

People who need to access your shared MS Office documents via a SkyDrive link should now find the process a bit easier.

Using Microsoft's Office Web Apps or Office 2013, you can create a URL of any document that you store online. You can then e-mail that URL to anyone who needs to view or edit your file. Previously, that process required your collaborators to sign in with a Microsoft account before they could tweak your document. Now that restriction is gone.

Users who receive the URL to your document can click on it to view the file in Office Web Apps. From there, they simply click on a link in the Web app to edit the file in the browser. The file opens in the associated Office Web App without prompting for a log-in account, where your collaborators can then edit and resave the document.

A Microsoft blog posted today detailed the process with help from a few screenshots.

Microsoft has been busy beefing up SkyDrive the past few months. A November update brought the ability to selectively sync folders stored under SkyDrive. Around the same time, Microsoft launched a SkyDrive app for Windows Phone 8.

In December, the company kicked off a SkyDrive app for its Xbox 360

. Last month, Microsoft enhanced the ability to move your SkyDrive files via drag and drop.

Now, the new versions of Microsoft Office 2013 and Office 365 offer tighter collaboration with SkyDrive.

Microsoft used today's blog post to tout a new milestone -- SkyDrive is now home to more than 1 billion Office documents. That number is also likely to increase after next week.

Come February 13, SkyDrive will be Microsoft's core online storage and syncing service. On that date, the company will pull the plug on Windows Live Mesh, which lets people synchronize files online or just among different devices.

All Mesh users will have to switch to SkyDrive or find an alternative method for backing up and syncing their files.