Ever heard of Youtube? Of course you have. It’s the number one go to place on the web if you want to watch and share video clips. You can upload and share clips with friends and family around the world or find helpful tutorials (I’ve found several useful clips on how to repair mobile phones etc.). But what about if you want to do the same thing with documents? Say you’ve written a nice tutorial for something, or short story you would like to share it with people. An obvious thing that would spring to mind is to upload the file to a file hosting service like Mediafire or Rapidshare or a cloud service such as Dropbox.
But instead of uploading your documents to a free file host, why not try using Scribd? Scribd is very useful for documents because it has an embedded PDF player to publish and view documents right out of your browser! Even if you do not have Adobe PDF reader installed, you still can view the documents on Scribd because the embedded PDF player is in Flash. Just like Youtube, when you upload a video file, it will only require Flash player installed to start streaming the video. One of the big advantages of using this method is you can also upload a Word document, Excel spreadsheet or Powerpoint presentation etc, and other people don’t need Microsoft Office installed to be able to view it!
Uploading is very easy. At the top of the Scribd main page, you’ll see two different blue buttons where you can upload your documents. A window will open giving multiple options to upload. You can select a file to upload using the first option (or the HTML uploader if the flash button is not working for you). Multiple files can be selected by using the Ctrl or Shift key when selecting the documents in the file request dialog. Google Docs can also be uploaded and transferred straight from your Google account. Or for the really easy way, just paste some text into the “Enter text” box and click Submit to create a very basic document without any text formatting.Also on the upload page, there is a desktop application which can be downloaded and installed if you plan to to use Scribd often and want to make things easier to prepare your documents for publishing. With it you can batch upload straight from the desktop and also edit titles, tags, and other metadata. Scribd Desktop Uploader works on Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7. A Mac OSX version is also available.
After you have completed the uploading, you’ll have the option to give a title for the documents you’ve uploaded and also tag them with necessary keywords for easy searching and browsing through documents.
There are several document formats supported by Scribd, they are; Adobe PDF (.pdf), Adobe PostScript (.ps), Word (.doc/ .docx), PowerPoint (.ppt/.pps/.pptx), Excel (.xls/.xlsx), OpenOffice Text Document (.odt, .sxw), OpenOffice Presentation Document (.odp, .sxi), OpenOffice Spreadsheet (.ods, .sxc), Plain text (.txt), Rich text format (.rtf) and all OpenDocument formats
Other than viewing in PDF, you can also download the documents in PDF format, Microsoft Word format, plain text format and also MP3. You have to create a Scribd account for free or login using your Facebook account if you have one. For the odd download though, you don’t need to put in a real email, username or password to get access to the download, just enter anything.
Scribd is definitely a very unique and useful concept and not only can you view documents that have been uploaded by individuals, book publishers also upload previews and excerpts of their products for you to have a look at. A useful tool if you are undecided on a book you might like to buy and would like to get a better idea of the content first. There is a buy button to immediately buy the book if you wish (US only), but you would most likely find it much cheaper with a simple web search.