Online text processors

Updated: February 27, 2019

2019. Google Docs get Material Design



Google has started the rollout of its Material Design update for Google Docs, Sheets, Slides and Sites. What you can expect to see, when you get the update, is different interface fonts, slightly revised controls and some new iconography. There are also some fresh new colors here and there. Google started the rollout of this new design for G Suite subscribers on the Rapid Release schedule today and everybody who is on that should get it within the next 15 days.


2018. Zoho Writer gets 7 new features



Zoho Writer is getting some new features. You can now link headings to the text below by asking Writer to Keep with next. This will ensure that no breaks are inserted between the paragraphs you select. Table controls are now more granular and better organized. The new distribute options can make all your rows and cells evenly spaced in one click. The new Continue With Previous List option is perfect when you’re trying to merge two separate numbered lists—separated by a paragraph in between—into a single series. Besides, the app gets a brand-new look for your published pages, date-format customization, responsive embeds.


2018. Zoho Writer gets offline mode



Zoho Writer can now work internet-free, so you can take your laptops to places without connectivity and continue writing uninterrupted. Writer switches to an offline mode as soon as it detects connectivity loss. You can continue editing and creating documents, or even close the tabs when you’re done, Writer saves everything automatically. Once you’re reconnected, all that work you did offline syncs to your account. On the web version, all you have to do is to enable Writer Offline from the dashboard. Twenty of your most recent documents will be taken offline straight away, and new documents you create will follow suit. Writer’s iOS and Android apps skip this setup process completely, as they come offline-enabled out of the box.


2018. Google Docs gets AI grammar checker



Google Docs gets a new AI-based grammar checker, which is now available through Google’s Early Adopter Program. It's powered by what is essentially a machine translation algorithm that can recognize errors and suggest corrections as you type. Google says it can catch anything from wrongly used articles (“an” instead of “a”) to more complicated issues like incorrectly used subordinate clauses. Google’s service will find issues with punctuation or odd word choices, something that tools like Grammarly can check for. It’s interesting that Google is opting for this translation-based approach, though, which once again shows the company’s bets on artificial intelligence and how it plans to bring these techniques to virtually all of its products over time.


2016. ONLYOFFICE now allows to edit documents offline



ONLYOFFICE released Desktop Editors, an office suite that combines viewers and editors for text documents, spreadsheets and presentations working offline. Desktop editors support Copy/Paste, direct print options, local fonts, language detection. ONLYOFFICE Desktop Editors are absolutely free for personal use. For business use the desktop applications are available by subscription: 1 year subscription for $39 and an unlimited subscription for $59. Regular updates and email support are included.


2013. Web Office Apps add normal real-time co-authoring


Microsoft's online document editors Office Web Apps (available in SkyDrive and Office 365) already provided collaborative editing for some time. But it worked in the old-fashioned way: you had to press the Save button - and only then your colleagues saw the changes you made. Now this feature will become modern: you'll be able to see who is currently working on a document and see what collaborators are doing. And the Save button is gone, now the changes are saved automatically. So now it works just like in Google Docs. But this does not mean that Microsoft's online editors are lagging behind Google's. Regarding the document formatting, Office Web Apps does the better job, especially after today's update. In particular, the Word Web App added page headers and footers, ability to find and replace words and phrases, table styles and formatting and the Excel Web App added status bar and the ability to drag and drop cells and reorder sheets.


2011. Word Web App adds almost-real-time collaboration


When the MS Office Web Apps launched, only  the Excel Web App allowed to collaborate on online documents in real time. Now the trick is also available in the online Word. Though it's not so cool as in Google Docs. To let co-editors see your changes you have to click the Save button, then co-editors will see the notification in the status bar, then click Save and only then see your changes. There is no chat / comments like in Google Docs, but at least you can see who is currently editing every part of the document. Meanwhile co-authoring in the online Word works only in the free Windows Live Office (SkyDrive) and is not yet available in Office 365.


2009. Apple is working on the online office suite



A year ago, Apple launched iWork.com, the service that enables online sharing of iWork documents. However, all that it can - is publishing documents to your online account and inviting colleagues to view them online and post comments. Now it seems that Apple has decided to create a full-fledged alternative to Google Docs and MS Office Web Applications. The fact is that the iWork team has recently opened the vacancy for RIA (rich internet applications) developers, having Javascript skills. It's also interesting that according to DHH from 37Signals, Apple has spammed their development team with this proposal. Creating its own online office suite seems quite logical for Apple. First, the relations with Google are recently getting cold and Apple has no desire to push Google Apps to its customers. Secondly, according to rumors, the Apple Tablet, designed to work with web-applications, will appear soon. And it's clear that this device will need an office suite.