Central Desktop (news, site) offers a helping bridge between the tricky-to-manage islands of your MS Office docs and cloud data.

Show Me the Data

It's a tricky situation to do document management, when you have data on your desktop that you want to make available to others for sharing, updating or further collaboration. Central Desktop for MS Office is a solution that allows simultaneous authoring of a document and automatic syncing of an updated desktop document to the cloud.

These neat tricks are boosted by the ability to comment on files, adding a litany of useful information outside of the document body, collaboration management, version control and file searching. All from a single application within the Microsoft Office 2003, 2007 or 2010 application, without having to slog through a web browser.

While Microsoft Office 2010 and SharePoint offers this functionality, many companies don't want or can afford to upgrade, making Central Desktop's solution a great niche for Office-bound businesses making their way out into the cloud.

Central Desktop for Office Video

Desktop Documents With Wings

Central Desktop for Office is available as a free version that allows users to open, save and edit Word, Excel and PowerPoint files. That's ideal for users with existing Office installations and light editing needs.

The paid for version adds co-authoring, subscriber management, search and folder management at a base price of US$ 30 per user/per year with discounts available for volume users.

Being able to see the users who have accessed a document via IM-like idents on the dashboard. Comments others have made can appear right next to the live file is useful for anyone accessing it, and when there's a conflict a two version of the file try to merge, a pane opens showing the exact conflict.

Elegant in design and efficient in use, Central Desktop for Office offers a great alternative for those who lack SharePoint or the latest Office version. There's a trial you can download to test it out or there's a video that shows off the product's features.