Adobe’s online service has been available for almost a year as a place to store files and collaborate. I wrote some notes about it last summer. Now Adobe has introduced a plugin for Outlook that gives you a new reason to look into it.

If you use Outlook 2007 (not Outlook 2003!), you can attach a file of any size to an outgoing email message; if the attachment is oversized, the plugin will automatically upload the file to your account and insert a link in the email message for the recipient to download it. That bypasses all the usual restrictions on the size of file attachments. It’s an elegant solution to the problem faced by many people who are emailing huge PDF files or oversized JPGs or videos.

Signing up with is free and requires nothing more than choosing a password to go with your email address, like a Windows Live ID or “Google Account.” You’re given 5Gb of space for files, with no restriction on the size of an individual file. You could use the Outlook plugin to transmit a 100Mb video file by email.

This is similar to an Outlook plugin from YouSendIt which works similarly. The software from YouSendIt requires a paid monthly subscription while Adobe’s service is free – but on the other hand, YouSendIt’s program will run on Outlook 2003.

Your file attachments will remain in your online account until you manually delete them. That will require some attention to avoid going over the 5Gb storage limit.

I haven’t tried the plugin yet so there’s always a possibility that it doesn’t work very well. (I’ve had some pretty miserable experiences with the YouSendIt plugin.) I’d like to think that Adobe has the resources to develop a high quality product, although perhaps this isn’t a good week to have high expectations for Adobe.

Microsoft also offers online file storage through Windows Live Skydrive – 25Gb of storage space and a convenient interface for uploading files. It’s easy to upload a file and get a link to send people so they can download files. For some reason Microsoft has not yet introduced its own plugin for Outlook to match what Adobe and YouSendIt is offering. It seems like a no-brainer and perhaps it will turn up someday but at the moment you should go take a look at what Adobe has ready for you today.

(Thanks to Stan Beck for spotting the news from Adobe!)

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