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Getting ready to dual-boot 8.1 and Kubuntu

That's my plan anyway. I have looked at a couple different options. A really nice guy on a different forum fiilled my inwith some good information on all the boot things, and I understand it better,  I am running a Inspiron M731R (5735) laptop.  After looking my BIOS over, and then doing some research on Google, I decided it would probably be best to install Kubuntu onto an external USB HDD, rather than start tinkering with the main HDD. Between the actual process of loading the installation media, then installing there really isn't much of a difference. But, this way I don't have to worry about trying to partition the main drive and then format into a file system that Linux can use and won't clash with the GPT of Windows. Then again there are several things that can go wrong and I end up installing to the main drive anyway. 

The other way is to just do a traditional dual-boot identical basically to the dual-boots I have been setting up for myself and for other people in the last 8-10 years.Problem is up until tonight I was lost in the new file systems, the GPT, (U)EFI, secure boot etc....I haven't been keeping up to date on windows information since the first time I saw a youtube of somebody doing a walkthrough pointing out the differences in 8.0 and preceding OS's. I decided right then and there that if I had any choice I would not get an 8.0(1). Unfortunately when my 10 y/o Acer finally died I bought the best machine I could afford, which happened to be an 8.1 pc. I use my pc a lot for work, so I can work from home and not go to the office, the office software will only run on Windows, so I have to keep windows installed. 

So enough backstory, I'm going to make a list of questions I have, which I know there's no way I'm going to remeber all of them at one time. So if you can answer one or two, that's fine at least that's two things I have an answer on. I do appreciate all the information you can give me. 

1. First partitioning should be like any partitioning, correct?

2. What file system do I format for the Linux partition, the usual ext3 or 4, stay with GPT, or what?

3. What I have been doing on my old laptop was I installed just the linux OS, I then used the Windows "Documents", "Downloads", "Pictures" etc... this way I only needed 20GB Linux partition, and had room left over. Is this still something that will work, or do I need to make a third partition for all of that stuff, I just want to have one folder for documents that both OS's can read/write instead of having two folders, and have two places to hunt when looking for something.

4.I have downloaded a copy of Kubuntu 14.04 and a 14.10, both of them contain the WUBI program. I don't want WUBI, I want regular old fashioned grub 2, or isolinux, I didn't want WUBI before getting 8.1, but now WUBI won't work with GPT/secure boot and all that stuff. or is there a workaround? 

5. What would the correct settings for the bios be so I can dual-boot from either system without overwriting or just breaking the other?

I guess that's all for now, I will probably have a few morewithin the next couple of days.  promise I have looked through several pages of threads and found a few threads close to my situation, but none exactly like my situation.I will appreciate any help you can give. Thanks

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