A few months ago, I wrote a post on document reuse and explained how it can boost your document creation efficiency by 40%, on average. This post provides you a list of my top five document sharing sites where you can find reusable docs of all kinds — invoice templates, study cards, business plan samples, venture capital pitch templates, project management plan templates, graduation announcement templates, balance sheet spreadsheet templates, tournament bracket templates, and so on. There are a lot of so-called “document sharing” sites out there, but not all of them allow you to manipulate the elements (content, structure, style, and rendering) of existing documents fully. The sites that I have listed below do give you full document control, so you don’t have to waste your time re-creating what’s already been created.
- Brief description: DocStoc is a document sharing platform and social networking community for professionals. It currently hosts over 12,000 legal, business, and other professional documents that can be searched, previewed, and downloaded for free.
- Target audience: Professionals such as businessmen/businesswomen, lawyers, etc.
- Document categories: Legal, business, financial, technology, educational, and creative.
- File types supported: doc, pdf, xls, ppt, and txt.
- Pricing: Free.
- More Information: “Docstoc.com – Find and Share Professional Documents” (KillerStartups) and “Docstoc Opens For Business (Documents)” (TechCrunch).
- Brief description: Scribd is very similar to DocStoc, except that it’s targeted more toward individual users. Scribd claims that it’s the largest document sharing community with over 17 million people per month viewing documents.
- Target audience: Individuals (and small businesses).
- Document categories: Business, career, consumer, culture, education, government, health, history, hobby, home, humor, language, law, literature, medical, pets, politics, reference, religion, science, sport, technology, travel, and tutorial.
- File types supported: doc, ppt, pps, xls, pdf, ps, odt, odp, sxw, sxi, jpg, png, gif, tiff, txt, and rtf.
- Pricing: Free.
- More Information: Scribd.com Review (PCMAG.COM), “Make Your Documents Social Objects with Scribd” (FastCompany.TV), and “Interesting: Scribd” (Webomatica).
3. Google Docs
- Brief description: Google Docs allows users to share and collaborate around documents. From a document reuse perspective, the Google Docs Templates is of most interest here since it makes hundreds of different templates available for download. These templates were created by Google and others in business community. At some point in the future, Google plans to include user-generated templates.
- Target audience: Just about anyone.
- Document categories: Albums and flipbooks; business; calculators; calendars and schedules; cards and certificates; labels and business cards; letters and faxes; miscellaneous; personal finance; presentation designs; resumes and cover letters; statistics; and students and teachers.
- File types supported: Supports office file types such as doc, xls, or ppt. Also supports pdf and OpenDocument formats.
- Pricing: Free.
- More Information: “Google Docs gets a profusion of templates” (CNET) and “Google Docs Introduces Templates” (About.com).
- Brief description: Microsoft Office Online contains hundreds of reusable templates available for download. The site allows users to submit self-created templates and to share with others. Templates are searchable by Collections (e.g., real estate, back-to-school, and travel), by Category (e.g., address books, balance sheets, and itineraries), and other search functions.
- Target audience: Individuals and small businesses.
- Document categories: Address books; analysis worksheets; advertisements; announcements; applications; banners; balance sheets; bills of sale; binder inserts; bookmarks; books; bylaws, policies, and rules; calculators; case inserts; catalogs; charts; coupons; dividers; e-mails; estimates; evaluations; forecasts; games; identification cards; instructions; itineraries; job descriptions; journals; ledgers; logs; math and science tables; menus; maps; name and place cards; note cards; notes; OneNote notebooks; OneNote pages; OneNote sections; outlines; paper folding projects; papers; petitions; posters; press releases; programs; proposals; quizzes and tests; quotes; recipes; records; reply cards; scorecards; sign-in and sign-up sheets; signs; stickers; surveys; tags; tickets; tournament brackets; trackers; web pages; wills; with compliments cards; and other templates.
- File types supported: Which do you think?
- Pricing: Free.
- More Information: See website.
- Brief description: Gazhoo.com (a Scribd company) is a content marketplace that allows users to search for documents, preview half of the content (via Flashpaper) free of charge, and download in full for a price set by the content creator (the seller). For each transaction, Gazhoo.com extracts a draconian fee of 30%. (Look at this way: it’s better than 40%.)
- Target audience: Business-oriented professionals.
- Document categories: Business forms, presentations, and templates; legal forms and templates; market research; and reports and essays.
- File types supported: doc, pdf, xls, ppt, and ppt.
- Pricing: Based on Gazhoo’s pricing recommendation to sellers, documents are priced anywhere from $1 to $100.
- More Information: “Gazhoo is a Scribd Marketplace” (Mashable) and “Make Money Selling Documents At Gazhoo” (Some Useless Info).
Other sites reviewed but didn’t make the reuse cut:
- Bookgoo — Bookgoo is geared more toward document collaboration than reuse. It allows you to upload, annotate, highlight, and collaborate with your offline docs in an online way. It’s particularly useful to students and teachers. For more information see “BookGoo.com – Leave the Highlighter Behind” (KillerStartups.com) or “Bookgoo Lets You Highlight and Annotate the World” (RotorBlog.com).
- edocr — The site doesn’t allow users to modify content like Scribd and DocStoc so there are limitations on document reusability. Edocr is most useful for publishers who want to expose their publications prior to release or for businesses who want to generate leads with their sales propaganda. The site’s Community Directory allows you to network with and circulate your documents among users in shared interest groups. You can also use edocr to store your documents online. For more information see “edocr joins Scribd, Docstoc in document sharing” (TechCrunch) or “Share your docs with edocr” (The Tech Brief).
- Issuu — Issuu is a site that allows you to publish documents you’d normally find in print form such as magazines and catalogs. Documents are fully searchable and can be shared with fellow Issuu users. For more information see “Issuu is like Scribd’s hotter cousin” (CNET) or “Issuu: is this really publishing 2.0 style?” (The Next Web).
- Yudu Freedom — Yudu is similar to Issuu in that it allows users to publish their documents online. For more information see “Yudu Freedom hosts your PDFs, makes them SEO friendly” (CNET).
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