Internet Productivity

The 7 Best Google Docs Alternatives for Online Word Processing

Gavin Phillips Updated 01-07-2020

Online word processors come with many advantages. Your documents are accessible from anywhere, they’re open to collaboration and sharing, and are easy to import and export.

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When you think of online word processing, you immediately think of Google Docs. It is a great service with an extensive array of features, plus heaps of add-ons, too.

That said, you might not always want to use Google Docs. Thankfully, there are several excellent Google Docs alternatives that you can use for online document editing. Here are the best alternatives to Google Docs you can use right now.

1. Microsoft Office

microsoft office online 2020

Microsoft Office (formerly Office Online, also known as “Office on the Web”) is the free offering from the world’s most popular office suite. A Microsoft account is all you need to gain access to almost the entire gamut of Microsoft Office applications. Office Online grants access to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, and Outlook, as well as Sway and a host of other tools.

So, how does the Office on the Web compare to Google Docs (and the wider range of G Suite tools)? The offering is so good that some people have entirely eschewed purchasing Microsoft Office 2019 or Office 365 in favor of the free online suite. The introduction of collaborative tools 3 Microsoft Office Online Teamwork & Collaboration Tools That Impress With Office 2016 and its free online counterpart, Office Online, Microsoft has rolled out new tools for teams to collaborate remotely and in real time. We show you what you can't miss. Read More  has only strengthened the free service, too.

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However, Microsoft has not given us the crown jewels. The online Office offering does carry some limitations.

For instance, the number of templates available is reduced. As well as this, you can use the integrated styles, but cannot make your own. Office contains a number of these “half-features” that you’ll encounter from time to time. Some are negligible. Others can be massively frustrating—I’m looking at you Merge Formatting.

The free online version of Microsoft Office is still an excellent alternative to Google Docs, despite the shortcomings found in several of the applications.

2. Zoho Docs

zoho writer 2020

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Zoho develops a huge number of apps, from a personal wiki to an email service, through CRM and bookkeeping tools, and more. Zoho Docs is Zoho’s answer to Google Docs, and it is a strong alternative online document editor.

The writer itself is excellent, with a ton of editing options, organized in a succinct and aesthetically pleasing sidebar. 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.

It also features advanced options, such as mail merging and electronic signature support. Another extremely handy feature is the integrated Zoho chat, so you can chat with collaborators while working.

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. Need more convincing? Here are even more reasons to try Zoho as your Google Docs alternative Need a Google Suite Alternative? 4 Reasons to Try Zoho Need a Google Suite alternative? Consider Zoho and its bundle of apps to see if it better fits your productivity workflow! Read More .

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3. Dropbox Paper

dropbox paper document writer 2020

Dropbox Paper is the online document editing offering from Dropbox, better known for its cloud storage solutions. All you need to use Dropbox Paper is a Dropbox account. Once you sign up, you can begin using this handy Google Docs alternative.

Dropbox Paper has some handy features. Adding and curating images is exceptionally easy, especially if you already use Dropbox as an image host. Similarly, embedding other content is just as easy. There’s also the option to edit using markdown language, which is handy for quick edits and basic styling.

As with other online document editing tools, collaboration and sharing are key. Sharing in Dropbox Paper is as easy as clicking a button and inviting users (other Dropbox users or from Google Accounts), as is allowing commenting in the current document.

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One cool collaboration feature is that you can “@” people from your document, even if they’re not currently working on the same document. The person receives a notification that you want them to come and work with you. Another handy collaboration feature is Task Assignment. You can quickly turn any bullet-list into a task list to be assigned to your collaborators.

As a Google Docs alternative, Dropbox Paper is a handy and quick document editing tool. However, it doesn’t have the extensive range of editing tools available to Google Docs or some of the alternatives on this list.

4. ONLYOFFICE

onlyoffice document editor 2020

OnlyOffice is a Google Docs alternative that offers both and offline and online document editing tools. As we’re primarily focusing on Google Docs alternatives that don’t require downloading, we’ll focus on the online OnlyOffice version.

Like Zoho Docs, OnlyOffice’s personal document editing tool is one of the most comprehensive alternatives to Google Docs. You’ll find extensive editing options in-line with offline document editing tools. You can customize formatting styles and layouts, invite collaborators to work with you, and even chat within the OnlyOffice window to keep your focus on the work window.

There’s also the option to install OnlyOffice add-ons, which are extensions that increase the functionality of the document editing tool. For example, you can install the WordPress plugin and publish work direct to your website or the Zotero plugin, which helps you manage references and other research materials.

5. Nuclino

nuclino document editing 2020

Nuclino is a brilliant free collaborative editor and alternative to Google Docs. It is extremely easy to use, has a great user interface (UI), and provides a satisfying experience in pretty much all areas. That said, it isn’t necessarily a direct Google Docs competitor. Google Docs provides a rounded suite of tools 10 Google Docs Tips That Take Seconds and Save You Time Learn some secrets that'll boost your Google Docs productivity with the help of these quick and simple tips. Read More , while Nuclino has a definite slant toward team and project management.

Nonetheless, writing and editing in Nuclino is aided by the clean aesthetic and easily implemented editorial tools. Nuclino is versatile, too. Multiple groups, multiple boards, easy invitations, smart tags, and integration with services such as YouTube, Vimeo, and Soundcloud provide a comprehensive service. There’s the option to write and edit using markdown, too.

However, Nuclino isn’t strictly a document editing program if you’re considering a pure editorial experience. If your team depends on advanced document editing and formatting or even just basic spreadsheets, you’ll be importing to Nuclino from another source.

6. Etherpad

etherpad public instance 2020

If collaboration is what you’re into, give Etherpad a good look. There’s no need to sign up or install Etherpad. You can simply select one of the public instances running Etherpad Lite, many of which feature secure encrypted connections. Once you’re connected, either share a link to the pad or send invitations to your contacts by email.

As users enter the Etherpad, 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 so as to revert if someone makes a mistake.

Furthermore, some public Etherpad instances allow you to choose how long the pad remains active for, adding a handy ephemeral document angle to this Google Docs alternative. For example, the Etherpad in the above image allows you to set a 24-hours, 60 days, or 1-year period before destruction.

7. Slite

slite document edit project manage 2020

Slite is another collaborative work tool you can use as an alternative to Google Docs. As it is a collaborative workspace, you might find that Slite replaces more than just Google Docs, too.

The free version of Slite allows you to create 50 shared documents per month, as well as unlimited personal documents. You can also invite an unlimited number of users to your free Slite. Furthermore, it integrates nicely with one of the most popular team management tools, Slack, meaning you can talk and work between the two with ease.

Other integrations include Figma, Loom, Trello, Asana, and GitHub. In that, Slite works as a document editing tool and as a project management option.

Which Is the Best Google Docs Alternative?

Google Docs is an excellent online document editing tool, but what is the best alternative? Well, you can choose a more traditional editor experience in Microsoft Office or Zoho Writer, or try a collaborative experience with Dropbox Paper or Nuclino.

Needless to say, you have more than a handful of Google Docs alternatives to consider before starting your next big project!

Stuck using Google Docs? Check out how you can make a beautiful Google Document 10 Neat Ways to Create Beautiful Google Documents Google Docs is now an office powerhouse. With the help of these add-ons, you can make your Google Docs look pretty and stylish. Read More using the inbuilt formatting tools.

Related topics: Collaboration Tools, Digital Document, Dropbox, Google Docs, Microsoft Office Alternative, Microsoft Office Online, Presentations, Spreadsheet, Word Processor.

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  1. RRD
    July 3, 2020 at 5:26 pm

    How old is this article? As of today, July 2nd 2020, Microsoft Office is NOT free.

    • Gavin Phillips
      July 3, 2020 at 11:31 pm

      Office Online is free. It is no longer known as Office Online, Microsoft call it "Office on the Web" or just Microsoft Office, which is slightly confusing.

  2. Leo Shrayber
    July 11, 2019 at 5:26 pm

    ONLYOFFICE.com is THE BEST collaborative editor out there. You can work on any OOXML file types like Word, Excel and Power Point. It opens any document perfectly without distortions. And what is nice about it is that you have a choice, you can use only the editor or ONLYOFFICE entire suite. It has a CRM, Projects and Email. It is open source and is FREE FREE FREE. For smaller teams you can use their community server for Free with up to 20 concurrent connections. If you are a Mid to Large company you can buy more.
    Now, if you want ONLYOFFICE editor only and integrate it into your own software, you can do that too. They sell what they call a Developer Edition. You can try it before yoiu buy it for 30 days.

  3. ThickLie
    September 28, 2018 at 4:00 am

    Airborn.io doesn't work without access to fingerprint reader. So privacy, yeah.....

  4. Bruce
    February 25, 2018 at 3:28 pm

    Thanks for an informative article!

  5. Bryan
    November 11, 2017 at 8:43 pm

    Another great alternative to Google Docs is https://savemyresearch.com/ where you can more easily search across all your docs in one place, rather than worrying about logging in/out of multiple google accounts. It also saves all your edited files and archives rather than permanently deletes. I like how you can log in and immediately start typing.

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

    Rewrite Rewriter 7 Review 2016 If you’re hunting for the very best " spin "
    Rewriter 7 Discounted and Critique in the marketplace, "A ought to-examine!

  7. 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 !!

  8. 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 .

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

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

    • Jon
      January 17, 2017 at 5:54 am

      WPS Office, there is also a mail client if you need one.

  10. 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?

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

    • Ron
      November 3, 2018 at 12:35 am

      Use Vivaldi.net browser - perhaps the fastest and very customizable. Love it.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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 !

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

    Scribd. Good tool

  21. 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

  22. 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: [Broken Link Removed]

    Cheers,
    Jeff
    MSFT Office Live Outreach Team

  23. 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.

  24. 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.

  25. 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.

  26. 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.

  27. 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.