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Microsoft Binder 2.0 December 19, 2007

Posted by Doriano "Paisano" Carta in Collaboration.
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No, Microsoft did not resurrect one of their most useful creations, Microsoft Binder. For whatever reason, they decided to kill this brilliant Microsoft Office 95 feature more than likely to put those skilled developers to work on the life-changing Microsoft BOB project (Remember that stinker?).

In any event, for those of you who never had the pleasure of using the Binder, what it did was allow you to “Package” several different types of documents into one bundle! Wow, what a concept! So, instead of today’s “standard” method of packaging related documents and files together in a folder located on a shared network drive or local My Document folder, Microsoft’s Binder let you “link” whatever you wanted in a package. Thus, you could keep Word documents, Excel spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations all together in the same single binder file. Don’t be misled, you still could work on each type of document within its own native application by just double-clicking the document within the binder. No muss, no fuss. Here’s a screenshot of what the Binder looked like:
To separate the documents, you simply used the unbind feature to save the files wherever you wanted:

ThinkFree or Die!
Why all this reminiscence over another blunder from Redmond? Well, ThinkFree has recently released the new millenium’s version of Microsoft Binder with their free online ThinkFree Portfolio ! Portfolio allows you to bundle different types of documents, spreadsheets and presentations into one package. Sound familiar? Oh, and here is the new twist…it’s all done online and you can share it with the public or individuals you select or just keep it private.
ThinkFree has been around for many years and offered a free online office suite alternative to Microsoft Office long before Google docs came around to steal their thunder.ThinkFree has has three apps that are compatible with Microsoft Office: ThinkFree Write, Calc and Show. Oh and it can save any document to the PDF format…did I mention for free?
ThinkFree Online allows you to store up to 1 GB of documents. They include a free ThinkFree office viewer for viewing their documents without needing Microsoft Office apps and for embedding documents within blogs and web apps.

ThinkFreeDocs is like Scribd in that you can upload and share any document online. You can actually use any ThinkFreeDoc you find in your ThinkFree Office or in your Portfolio.
Here is an example portfolio that I created called Champions of Sports. As you will notice, you can share the portfolio (and any ThinkFree document) with a URL link or embed the code in your blog or website.
ThinkFree continues to add new features and services, many of them premium pay packages. They have a Premium version of office that gives you more storage space online.
They also have a Desktop version that will run in offline mode like Microsoft Office, but ThinkFree will sync with your online office whenever you want. Their Portable edition allows you to run presentations from an IPod or U3 thumbdrive.
Final Thoughts: ThinkFree’s free online office applications and ThinkFreeDocs with Portfolio feature are vastly underrated and powerful tools and services.
I’ve used their products for many years and they continue to improve with each update and like fine wine get better with time. If nothing else, ThinkFree’s Portfolio will help fill the void that Microsoft created when they put their Binder out to pasteur.

Comments»

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Great, but I don’t want to work online. If they ever created a stand-alone version, please do write about it. That’s what everyone is waiting for.

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