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alternatives-to-google-docs More and more of my word processing is getting moved to the Web these days for a number of reasons. My writing is accessible from anywhere, is open to collaboration and sharing, is easy to import and export, and is just a better way to do work in this constantly connected world we increasingly live in.

For a while now, my solution has been Google Docs. It’s a great service, and one that has served me well over the months and years I’ve been using it. Google Docs, though, is not without its issues and downsides, some of which have left me in constant search for the best and brightest of the online document managing application.

Well, I haven’t found it yet, but I’ve found five pretty great alternatives to Google Docs that you might want to check out. All of these, and Google Docs, offer the same basic editing features; instead of rehashing them over and over, I’ll point out the one or few great features that put the application on this list.

Buzzword

buzzword - google docs alternative

My current online editor of choice, Buzzword, is Adobe’s offering in the online word-processing department. It’s attractive, flash-based, and incredibly simple to use. In addition to all the standard features, Buzzword offers a few key uses for users of all levels. Buzzword lets you share documents with people, giving individuals varying levels of access, from comments to editing to just reading the document.

Also useful is the Version History tracker, which tracks your changes and lets you revert to an earlier version of the document in only one click.

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Buzzword is the prettiest of the bunch, and while it’s not terribly feature-rich when it comes to document editing, its collaboration and tracking tools more than make up for it.

Zoho

zoho

The number of applications Zoho offers, from an email service to a personal wiki and a “centralized public repository” (whatever that is) is ridiculous. I’ve become a big Zoho fan recently, and it has a huge number of useful tools at your disposal.

The writer itself is excellent, with a ton of editing options organized in a way that looks much like Office 2007’s Ribbon interface. Almost anything you can do in Word can be done in Zoho, from adding a header and footer to directly posting a document to your blog.

Zoho is the most feature-complete of the Web-based applications, including Google Docs, and is incredibly easy to use. Zoho doesn’t get nearly the press Google Docs does, but I can’t see a reason not to switch to Zoho.

Etherpad

etherpad

If collaboration is what you’re into, give Etherpad a good look. There’s no need to sign up for Etherpad – just click “Start New Pad” and get going. Then, either share a link to the pad or send invitations to your contacts by email.

As users come in, you can edit the text on the pad in real-time, and changes automatically appear. You can chat in the sidebar, highlight which user made a given change, and save revisions in order to revert if a mistake is made.

Etherpad is perfect for coding and programming, but is also great for writing and editing documents. There aren’t as many features to Etherpad, and all your editing is in plain text, but it’s so collaborative and useful that it deserves a mention anyway.

Peepel

Screen1

Peepel is basically a whole suite of desktop applications, stored within your browser. You can run multiple Peepel windows in the same browser window, letting you manage more pieces of your workflow all at once.

Peepel offers services like the WebWriter word processor, WebSheet for spreadsheets, a contact manager, great file-sharing and collaboration tools, and the Workspace Manager that lets you save your layout and return to it later.

Peepel isn’t the flashiest of the applications, but I love the ability to run more than one document or application in the same window.

OpenGoo

opengoo

OpenGoo is similar in appearance to both Google Docs and the Zoho suite, with a well-integrated interface available to you. You can access calendars, tasks, documents, sticky notes, email, contacts, and time-tracking tools all from within the OpenGoo interface.

For document editing, OpenGoo is much like Google Docs. You can create documents or slideshows, and the interface is much like Google’s. You can edit documents, and then tag them or add them to folders for easier organization.

One thing I liked was that a new document is opened in the same window, with the document browser in the sidebar, whereas Google Docs always opens a new window.

If all you want is documents, there’s not a lot unique about OpenGoo; if you’re looking for a more complete interface and application, it’s a great choice.

What do you use for document editing, either online or off? Which one of the above mentioned online office apps in your opinon is the best alternative to Google Docs?

  1. Juliann
    October 12, 2016 at 2:28 am

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  2. Chauke Stephan Filho
    October 6, 2016 at 10:22 pm

    Muito interessante a sua postagem, David. Obrigado!

    Meus amigos, eu costumava escrever os meus artigos no Google Docs, gostava de fazer isso, estava satisfeito com o serviço, até que... Eu também tinha o meu perfil no G+, até que... num belo dia, o meu perfil foi bloqueado, por razões "politicamente corretas".

    Então, como resposta à violência que sofri, deixei de usar esses serviços da Google. Esses e qualquer outro, como o GMail. Eu deixei de usar também até o navegador da Google. O meu navegador agora é o Firefox.

    O problema da Google é a censura. A Google não é só uma empresa, é uma entidade política operada por censores a serviço da globalização, do multiculturalismo e do judaísmo.

    Meu processador de texto passará a ser o Zoho. Não quero mais relações com a Google.

    Eu amava a Google, hoje percebo o quanto eu fui ingênuo. Minha página recebia mil visualizações por dia. Milhares de pessoas foram proibidas de conhecer o que eu penso do mundo, de compartir comigo a minha experiência de vida, de aprender com o que eu aprendi, depois de tanto viver e estudar.

    Eu não tolero a censura, por isso eu não tolero a Google.

    Um abraço a todos e, mais uma vez, obrigado David!

    P.S.: Votem em Donald Trump para presidente !!

  3. edward
    September 22, 2016 at 3:55 pm

    do any of them have any instructions, I loved using docs, they changed the interface to be completely unrecognizable , I learned how to use it again, I just tried to use it and it changed again .

  4. Ashley
    July 4, 2016 at 1:05 am

    Can anyone recomend an alternative for google docs for android devices?

  5. Bharathwaj
    February 24, 2016 at 1:22 pm

    I am having a Macro Enabled Excel Sheet which needs to be accessed by multiple users (also edit). Excel Share Workbook is not helping as macros get disabled. I tried Zoho but the forumlaes are showing some error. Is there any alternative to share macro enabled sheet that can be shared online by multiple users?

  6. Daniel Huigens
    December 19, 2015 at 6:02 am

    If you care about privacy, Airborn OS (https://www.airbornos.com) is a good alternative.

  7. Juan Pi.
    June 3, 2015 at 11:16 am

    Hello Anyone able to create and modify Visio (*) files ? (*) Or any other full featured organigram creator

  8. Amy
    May 11, 2015 at 2:19 pm

    GDocs dropped the ability to link to another Gdoc in my Drive (unless I first navigate to the doc and copy the link, a hassle), so I tried Zoho. Doesn't seem to offer that either. Seems goofy -- don't authors want to link to their own docs, more often? Buzzword seems to have changed into a for-pay PDF-focused app. Tried ThinkFree -- terribly slow (pages require 10 seconds to load, uploading a 130Kb Word doc also took about 10 seconds) and buggy (said "no files" but they were there). Zimbra looks too big and odd. We used GDocs in my journalism class, where we group-authored pieces. -Everyone- had trouble finding pieces, and getting perms. There must be something better.

  9. Bob Milanov
    March 27, 2015 at 3:42 pm

    You can also consider Nevron Office - https://www.nevronoffice.com/ - it also has online edition which is totally free and has more features than most of the HTML based editors.

  10. Prasanna
    December 19, 2009 at 3:52 am

    I'm an early user of EtherPad. Loved it.
    Now I maintain and host it here: http://www.iEtherPad.com

    Note that EtherPad.com is shutting down soon.

    Cheers.

  11. Avraham Saltoun
    November 12, 2009 at 3:59 am

    It is know that several "free" online services eventually sold private information to help them pay their bills, Mint.com for instance. I currently use Google docs and recommend it to all my clients. http://say-web.com/?p=2791

  12. yoast
    October 13, 2009 at 7:54 am

    I like Zoho because it supports most services with https:// enforced. Google Docs can be used with https but this cannot be enforced (the noscript firefox plugin can be used to achieve this in firefox) the others do not allow using https, as far as I know.

  13. John
    September 25, 2009 at 6:36 pm

    While I believe that Mozilla and even Google are on the right track and that Microsoft is a behemoth, it doesn’t mean that using an alternative to MS Explorer for a browser is the right thing to do. About a year ago I decided to switch to Mozilla’s Firefox for my default browswer. Just this week I changed back to using MS Explorer because with the new edition of Firefox, I have encountered a few situations where the software I was trying to run wouldn’t execute.

    So the bottom line is that each software package that is written for a browser, needs to be tested and changed for whichever browser you might use. Apple has had a hard time getting Safari to be used because most software developers for PC’s only recognize MS Exploerer and Firefox as legitimate enough to spend the time testing their software.

    For now, I will continue to use MS Explorer and maybe in the future I can switch back to Firefox, or Chrome might be a good alternative. It just isn’t worth the effort to use something that requires me to use two browswers. You win, Microsoft.

    Filed under: Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »
    September 10 Presentation
    Posted on September 9, 2009 by johnopp | Edit
    Web 2 0 for nonprofits

    This is the presentation from the Developers’ roundtable at the Long Beach Nonprofit Partnership

    Filed under: Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »
    NPLIC Home Page at WordPress
    Posted on April 9, 2009 by johnopp | Edit
    The Nonprofit Institute of California (NPLIC) was formed in 2008 to assist nonprofits with understanding business concepts and processes, including the use of technology. The first effort was a series of classes aimed at teaching the basic business concepts from organization through Accounting and Marketing to Strategic Planning.

    This blog is meant as another source for those nonprofits who are looking for resources that will help them increase funding and decrease expenses. Please feel free to ask any questions or give us any ideas you may have that will help others. There is an emphasis right now on the use of technology in nonprofits.

    On the left are bookmarks from sites and articles that are of interest to nonprofits. Some of them are specific to products and others are just articles that might be interesting. If you click on the main link, you will be linked to Diigo and you can see all the bookmarks. These are constantly changing and new ones are added. Feel free to join Diigo and add your own.

  14. aunttammie
    September 24, 2009 at 10:49 am

    I was going to try Buzzword, but after going round in circles on the Adobe site, I think that I finally figured out that it is a premium service, and rather pricey at that. I have heard several other teachers mention it, and I thought it was free.

  15. Alex
    May 12, 2009 at 3:18 pm

    Thank you so much for posting this! I used to use Google Docs to track all of my to do lists. It is incredibly buggy - formatting issues, prone to crashing, undo doesn't work. Zoho was the answer. Again, thank you. This article was a lifesaver.

  16. Danh ba web 2.0
    March 29, 2009 at 9:06 am

    Nice list. I like Google Doc and Zoho, but i testing Buzzword
    Good luck to you !

  17. eternalko@gmail.com
    March 27, 2009 at 6:59 pm

    Scribd. Good tool

  18. Buddy Scalera
    March 27, 2009 at 8:50 pm

    Nice overview. These are good alternatives to Google Docs. Other than Zoho, Google, and OpenOffice, are there good alternatives to the Office Suite?

    I mention Zoho and Google in my blog as good Freemium services. wordspicturesweb.com

  19. Jeff D
    March 27, 2009 at 3:48 pm

    Hi David-
    I invite you to take a look at Office Live Workspace. It can easily integrate with Microsoft's Office Suite, or it can be used as a stand alone service to save files online that can be accessed from anywhere, or collaborated on with other users. Users do not need to have MS Office to use it, either; there are built in programs that carry out the essential word processing, speadsheet creating etc functions. Here is a good outline of its capabilities: http://workspace.officelive.com/LearnMore

    Cheers,
    Jeff
    MSFT Office Live Outreach Team

  20. Mr. I
    March 26, 2009 at 9:16 pm

    WOW! Just found that Buzzword also does not support Opera! :-( OpenGoo is last one to try or I will have to use ZOHO again.

    • Stefi
      March 27, 2009 at 7:33 pm

      Dude! What's wrong with Firefox or Chrome?
      Why don't you use them?

      • Mr. I
        April 1, 2009 at 1:51 am

        Just personal choice. Chrome never ran on my PC. It always gives a strange error. I have tried installing and uninstalling it almost 10 times.

        Opera is better for me.

      • John
        September 25, 2009 at 6:35 pm

        I just posted this on my blog:
        While I believe that Mozilla and even Google are on the right track and that Microsoft is a behemoth, it doesn’t mean that using an alternative to MS Explorer for a browser is the right thing to do. About a year ago I decided to switch to Mozilla’s Firefox for my default browswer. Just this week I changed back to using MS Explorer because with the new edition of Firefox, I have encountered a few situations where the software I was trying to run wouldn’t execute.

        So the bottom line is that each software package that is written for a browser, needs to be tested and changed for whichever browser you might use. Apple has had a hard time getting Safari to be used because most software developers for PC’s only recognize MS Exploerer and Firefox as legitimate enough to spend the time testing their software.

        For now, I will continue to use MS Explorer and maybe in the future I can switch back to Firefox, or Chrome might be a good alternative. It just isn’t worth the effort to use something that requires me to use two browswers. You win, Microsoft.

        • Dean
          December 10, 2009 at 5:08 am

          You will run into many many more compatibility issues with ie than you did with firefox. Could you tell us what exactly wouldnt work with firefox that caused you to switch back to ie? I've never met anyone who went back to ie before so it would be interesting to hear more about what pushed you to it and what kind of things you actually do online.

  21. Mr. I
    March 26, 2009 at 9:12 pm

    I have ben using Google Docs and Zoho and both of them seem buggy with Opera. Peepel doesn't support Opera at all. Buzzword and OpenGOO seem interesting. I will try them.

  22. Dominic
    March 26, 2009 at 8:03 pm

    How about http://www.thinkfree.com/ I`m using it and it is really great. I`s powerful and it has offline access as well.

  23. Vin Thomas
    March 26, 2009 at 7:58 pm

    I really like Google, but Docs is not up to par. I have been using Evernote lately. But if I had to do any serious formatting I would probably either bust open Zoho or Buzzword.

  24. GoEverywhere Team
    March 26, 2009 at 3:34 pm

    Zoho is great - especially with their recent redesign. It makes it a very easy transition from Office! GoEverywhere leverages Zoho on their personal desktop, allowing users easier access to their documents when on the go. And for those that will never give up Google Docs, GoEverywhere also allows you to access those with just one login.

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