Ribbons and Tabs Give OnlyOffice Suite a Fresh Look

Ascensio System SIA just lately launched its free workplace suite improve —
OnlyOffice Desktop Editors — with a ribbon and tab interface plus quite a few up to date options. The refresh makes model 5.1 a possible different to Net variations of the Microsoft Workplace suite and Google Docs for Linux customers.

The three-module set of OnlyOffice Desktop Editors has a powerful assortment of instruments geared towards particular person shoppers and small places of work. It gives lots of the conveniences obtainable when utilizing MS Phrase or Google G-Suite apps.

Nevertheless, the true office advantages of collaborating on information by way of cloud storage come at an add-on value as soon as the free-trial interval ends. Nonetheless, the core performance — phrase processor, spreadsheet and slide shows — stays free and installs regionally as standalone apps in Linux distributions that use .DEB, .RPM and Snap software program packages.

OnlyOffice Desktop Editors ribbon-style interface

The OnlyOffice Desktop Editors have a brand new tabbed and ribbon-style interface with quite a few up to date options.

The fully reorganized interface of the free model of OnlyOffice now matches that of the OnlyOffice business on-line suite. Its different advantages embody a near-seamless connection to the Net-based OnlyOffice functions for collaboration instruments that embody two co-editing modes (quick and strict), commenting, built-in chat, monitoring adjustments and model historical past. (However extra in a while how seamless just isn’t all the time all that it appears.)

The free and the business variations of OnlyOffice on Linux supply a typical look and instruments organized into tabs by their functions: File, Dwelling, Insert, Format, References, Collaboration and Plugins. OnlyOffice additionally offers customers the power to increase the absolutely useful workplace suite with ready-to-use add-ons equivalent to macros, WordPress, Translator and YouTube.

Whether or not the mostly-free options will win out over the paid add-on collaboration instruments relies upon solely in your workflow. I exploit the Google Doc apps solely often, having discovered through the years that the open supply LibreOffice has met or exceeded my private workplace suite wants. I even run LibreOffice on my Home windows laptop as a substitute of MS Workplace.

So for the aim of this evaluation, I used my hands-on familiarity with LibreOffice, MS Phrase and Google Docs as a baseline for comparisons. In most classes, OnlyOffice confirmed it was as much as the duty.

First Impressions

OnlyOffice is a free open supply workplace suite that’s well-tuned, and it reads and writes Microsoft Workplace file codecs reliably. It additionally helps different mainstream file codecs, making it an excellent contender in your laptop’s exhausting drive.

LibreOffice builders have been gradual to supply a ribbon-style person interface. So, that may be a good new characteristic in OnlyOffice, regardless that it takes some getting used to. Having open paperwork in tabs is a superb design that may be very helpful.

OnlyOffice Desktop Editors use OOXML as a local format. The developer claims this presents higher help for MS Workplace codecs than every other workplace suite, permitting customers to work with all widespread codecs: DOC, DOCX, ODT, RTF, TXT, PDF, HTML, EPUB, XPS, DjVu, XLS, XLSX, ODS, CSV, PPT, PPTX, ODP.

This big selection of file codecs is an efficient combine for customers who must alternate a wide range of file sorts created by many of the widespread textual content and graphics creation functions. This means is important for utilizing open supply software program for sure work duties. Whereas I’ve a number of gripes about different elements of OnlyOffice, file interoperability just isn’t considered one of them.

Trendy Interface Choices

One of many greatest person options that units OnlyOffice other than different workplace suites is the tabbed interface. It brings the identical comfort of transferring amongst open paperwork that tabbed pages carry to browsing in a Net browser.

Writing and researching require that I bounce round a number of web sites continuously. I usually use Geany IDE or gEdit textual content editors to take notes or write in a number of information when doc formatting just isn’t required. These two textual content editors use tabs for open paperwork.

So I can use OnlyOffice as an all-in-one textual content editor and phrase processor. OpenOffice offers me built-in entry to spreadsheets and slide exhibits utilizing the identical interface and different options. LibreOffice and different workplace suites for Linux — even MS Workplace on line — don’t supply a tabbed interface. So pairing tabs for open paperwork with a ribbon model interface is a superb productiveness mixture.

Work within the Cloud

I usually work with a number of computer systems in a number of workplace areas. Cloud storage is greater than only a comfort for my work stream. It’s a necessity. My main cloud storage answer has been Dropbox, which has good integration with the a number of Linux distros that I exploit.

OnlyOffice blends entry to its personal on-line storage and its on-line workplace service from the OnlyOffice Desktop Editors. That cloud entry and the provision of collaboration instruments, even with an add-on worth — give me that very same diploma of flexibility.

The OnlyAccess cloud server is much like Google Docs with its automated storage on Google Drive. If you set up OnlyOffice Desktop Editors, you are also prompted to arrange a free account on the OnlyOffice cloud service related to its standalone desktop workplace suite.

The Draw back

OnlyOffice Desktop Editors offer you stable efficiency and a number of other causes to change out of your present Linux workplace software program — however it isn’t an ideal answer but. This software has a number of quirks.

The spell verify characteristic is energetic by default. You don’t have so as to add something. Nevertheless, you cannot add phrases to a private dictionary. Your solely possibility is to disregard phrases flagged as errors.

OnlyOffice is lacking two crucial parts for any workplace software program suite. It has no thesaurus or possibility so as to add one. Ditto for a grammar-checking characteristic.

One other massive weak spot in OnlyOffice Desktop Editors is the absence of great settings to personalize or adapt it to your person preferences. There aren’t any application-wide person choice settings. In an open file, nonetheless, beneath the File/Superior Settings menu, is a skimpy verify listing for very minimal person choices for that file. There’s nothing “superior” about these settings selections.

OnlyOffice File/Advanced Settings menu

In OnlyOffice no application-wide settings exist, however you may make slight changes to default settings in an open file utilizing the File/Superior Settings menu.

Extra Function Flameouts

Every of those characteristic missteps could be minor to some customers. Nevertheless, common skilled customers will undergo from OnlyOffice’s shortcomings:

  • You may auto get well a file, however you can not set an auto save interval;
  • There isn’t a save all possibility; if a number of doc tabs are open, every should be saved manually;
  • You cannot modify the software bar or create particular fast entry icons. It’s essential to click on by way of the ribbon classes;
  • There isn’t a means to get a phrase rely of highlighted textual content;
  • You may disguise/unhide the toolbar, however you’ll be able to’t configure it — solely a save icon, a print icon, and undo/redo arrows can be found.

Two extra bothersome quirks contain file conversion and spell checker glitches. I opened an MS Phrase doc that had massive bullets within the textual content. OnlyOffice changed the bullets with small query marks in a field.

The spell checker didn’t all the time exchange the chosen correction from the choices listing. I needed to redo the spell verify correction a number of instances for it to interchange the typos.

Utilization Fail Points

I did uncover one doubtlessly critical flaw within the in any other case spectacular means of the OnlyOffice Desk Editors to learn and write so many file codecs. The seamless performance the developer touts might have limitations. Should you save your paperwork solely to a tough drive or the OnlyOffice cloud, the method works fairly nicely.

Nevertheless, two quirks in the best way OnlyOffice manages paperwork might pressure you to develop workarounds for the best way *you* work. One, the OnlyOffice Desktop Editors insist on changing file codecs from older to most-current variations. Two, it appears to have its personal thoughts about the place it locations the file.

It took me some time to determine what was taking place. I’d open an current file created with one other workplace software. After enhancing the file, I’d click on the Save File icon. A Save File As dialogue field would seem on the display screen. At first, I did not pay shut consideration to its content material. I merely clicked the OK button and closed the appliance.

In subsequent work periods, I’d open the file to renew enhancing by clicking on the file identify in File Supervisor or from the latest information listing inside OnlyOffice. The file that loaded was not the final file saved. The content material I added or edited was lacking. This occurred recurrently if I used a special workstation or cell machine to entry the file.

Keep in mind what I stated earlier about my cloud storage setup? Every of my computer systems has a Dropbox folder with subfolders. These immediately sync with my grasp information saved within the Dropbox cloud. The important thing to this file administration course of is having the identical folder and subfolder tree on every machine and within the cloud storage system.

Drawback Uncovered

This was a significant usability problem for me. Once I clicked the Save File Button in OnlyOffice, the Save As dialogue field displayed two issues that brought about the issue.

One was the file location. It didn’t maintain the trail location of the opened file. It all the time defaulted to the primary folder location, not the designated subfolder.

Two, OnlyOffice converts the present file kind when a doc is first opened to a special file kind. It is a downside with information created in one other workplace software that have been saved in an older format model. Should you create a brand new file, on first saving you choose the file kind. Nevertheless, OnlyOffice makes use of the most recent file model for brand new file creations.

For instance, once I first started testing OnlyOffice, I created a brand new file to jot down my observations and first draft of this evaluation. I then used OnlyOffice to proceed work tasks on current information. That’s once I observed the content material was completely different.

Why Stuff Occurs

OnlyOffice has a menu choice to open native information. There isn’t a auto save characteristic, so the primary save pops up the Save As dialogue field. It defaults to username/paperwork/filename and provides the most recent file format. Older format choices usually are not obtainable. Therein lies the issue for dependable file interoperability.

For instance, I opened a piece doc saved as “ARTICLE1.DOC” created in MS Phrase saved within the /Dropbox/paperwork/Freelance/Consumer A subdirectory. OnlyOffice saved the file as “ARTICLE1.DOCX” within the /Dropbox/Paperwork listing.

Once I thought I used to be resuming work on that file in a subsequent enhancing session, the latest paperwork listing within the menu loaded an earlier file with out the most recent adjustments in it. The identical unsuitable file loaded when accessed from my different gadgets.

An identical state of affairs occurred once I loaded a spreadsheet file in OnlyOffice created with LibreOffice Calc. OnlyOffice saved the unique “SPREADSHEET2.xls”
as “SPREADSHEET2.xlxs” within the /Dropbox/paperwork/ listing.

One other usability problem includes default software standing. OnlyOffice robotically appoints itself the default software after set up. In an effort to cease this default standing, right-click on a file identify in File Supervisor and choose the file because the default software for that kind of file. Some Linux distros offer you that possibility within the Preferences panel additionally.

Give It a Spin

Not like most workplace suite functions, OnlyOffice has a single launcher. It has no separate launchers for phrase processor, spreadsheet and slide presentation module. You click on on the only menu merchandise and the appliance opens to a file supervisor kind web page.

OnlyOffice file manager page

OnlyOffice doesn’t have separate launchers for phrase processor, spreadsheet and slide presentation modules. You click on on the only menu merchandise and the appliance opens to a file supervisor web page. From there you create a brand new file or open an current doc by clicking on the file identify.

Within the left column are buttons to create a brand new file for every of the three modules. On the bigger proper facet of the display screen is a listing view based mostly on which possibility you choose within the left column.

Below these choices are buttons to show a listing of latest information on the bigger proper column or open native information saved on the pc. Three different buttons allow you to join a free trial interval of collaboration options. The choices are Share and Collaborate, view model histories, and collaborative evaluation.

The OnlyOffice Desktop Editors launch is out there for Linux, Home windows and Mac OS. The supply code is out there on GitHub launched beneath the AGPL v.three license.

Wish to Recommend a Assessment?

Is there a Linux software program software or distro you’d prefer to counsel for evaluation? One thing you’re keen on or want to get to know?

email your ideas to me, and I will take into account them for a future Linux Picks and Pans column.

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Jack M. Germain has been an ECT Information Community reporter since 2003. His important areas of focus are enterprise IT, Linux and open supply applied sciences. He has written quite a few critiques of Linux distros and different open supply software program.
Email Jack.


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