Ribbons and Tabs Give OnlyOffice Suite a Fresh Look | Reviews

Ribbons and Tabs Give OnlyOffice Suite a Fresh Look

Ascensio System SIA 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 Web variations of the Microsoft Office suite and Google Docs for Linux customers.

The three-module set of OnlyOffice Desktop Editors has a formidable assortment of instruments geared towards particular person shoppers and small workplaces. It offers most of the conveniences accessible when utilizing MS Word or Google G-Suite apps.

However, the true office advantages of collaborating on information by cloud storage come at an add-on price as soon as the free-trial interval ends. Still, the core performance — phrase processor, spreadsheet and slide displays — 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 embrace a near-seamless connection to the Web-based OnlyOffice functions for collaboration instruments that embrace two co-editing modes (quick and strict), commenting, built-in chat, monitoring modifications and model historical past. (But extra in a while how seamless 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, Home, Insert, Layout, References, Collaboration and Plugins. OnlyOffice additionally provides customers the power to increase the totally useful workplace suite with ready-to-use add-ons reminiscent of macros, WordPress, Translator and YouTube.

Whether the mostly-free options will win out over the paid add-on collaboration instruments relies upon solely in your workflow. I take advantage of the Google Doc apps solely often, having found through the years that the open supply LibreOffice has met or exceeded my private workplace suite wants. I even run LibreOffice on my Windows laptop as a substitute of MS Office.

So for the aim of this overview, I used my hands-on familiarity with LibreOffice, MS Word 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 Office file codecs reliably. It additionally helps different mainstream file codecs, making it an excellent contender on your laptop’s arduous drive.

LibreOffice builders have been gradual to supply a ribbon-style consumer interface. So, that may be a good new characteristic in OnlyOffice, although 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 affords higher help for MS Office codecs than some 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 have to alternate quite a lot of file varieties created by a lot of the widespread textual content and graphics creation functions. This means is crucial for utilizing open supply software program for sure work duties. While I have a couple of gripes about different points of OnlyOffice, file interoperability isn’t one among them.

Modern Interface Options

One of the most important consumer options that units OnlyOffice other than different workplace suites is the tabbed interface. It brings the identical comfort of moving amongst open paperwork that tabbed pages convey to browsing in a Web 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 isn’t required. Those 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 provides 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 Office on line — don’t supply a tabbed interface. So pairing tabs for open paperwork with a ribbon fashion interface is a superb productiveness mixture.

Work within the Cloud

I typically work with a number of computer systems in a number of workplace areas. Cloud storage is greater than only a comfort for my work circulate. It is a necessity. My main cloud storage resolution has been Dropbox, which has good integration with the a number of Linux distros that I take advantage of.

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 supply of collaboration instruments, even with an add-on value — give me that very same diploma of flexibility.

The OnlyAccess cloud server is just like Google Docs with its automated storage on Google Drive. When you put in 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 Downside

OnlyOffice Desktop Editors provide you with strong efficiency and a number of other causes to modify out of your present Linux workplace software program — however it isn’t an ideal resolution but. This utility has a number of quirks.

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

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

Another huge weak spot in OnlyOffice Desktop Editors is the absence of great settings to personalize or adapt it to your consumer preferences. There are not any application-wide consumer choice settings. In an open file, nevertheless, underneath the File/Advanced Settings menu, is a skimpy verify record for very minimal consumer choices for that file. There is nothing “advanced” 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/Advanced Settings menu.

More Feature Flameouts

Each of those characteristic missteps could be minor to some customers. However, common skilled customers will endure from OnlyOffice’s shortcomings:

  • You can auto recuperate a file, however you can not set an auto save interval;
  • There isn’t any save all possibility; if a number of doc tabs are open, every have to be saved manually;
  • You can’t modify the software bar or create particular fast entry icons. You should click on by the ribbon classes;
  • There isn’t any means to get a phrase depend of highlighted textual content;
  • You can cover/unhide the toolbar, however you possibly can’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 Word 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 change the chosen correction from the choices record. I needed to redo the spell verify correction a number of instances for it to switch the typos.

Usage Fail Issues

I did uncover one doubtlessly severe 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 could have limitations. If you save your paperwork solely to a tough drive or the OnlyOffice cloud, the method works fairly properly.

However, two quirks in the way in which OnlyOffice manages paperwork could drive you to develop workarounds for the way in which *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 occurring. I’d open an current file created with one other workplace utility. 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 applying.

In subsequent work periods, I’d open the file to renew enhancing by clicking on the file identify in File Manager or from the current information record inside OnlyOffice. The file that loaded was not the final file saved. The content material I added or edited was lacking. This occurred frequently if I used a special workstation or cellular system to entry the file.

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

Problem Exposed

This was a significant usability concern for me. When I clicked the Save File Button in OnlyOffice, the Save As dialogue field displayed two issues that prompted the issue.

One was the file location. It didn’t hold 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 prevailing file kind when a doc is first opened to a special file kind. This is an issue with information created in one other workplace utility that have been saved in an older format model. If you create a brand new file, on first saving you choose the file kind. However, OnlyOffice makes use of the newest file model for brand spanking 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 overview. I then used OnlyOffice to proceed work tasks on current information. That is once I observed the content material was completely different.

Why Stuff Happens

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

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

When I believed I used to be resuming work on that file in a subsequent enhancing session, the current paperwork record within the menu loaded an earlier file with out the newest modifications in it. The similar improper file loaded when accessed from my different units.

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.

Another usability concern entails default utility standing. OnlyOffice routinely appoints itself the default utility after set up. In order to cease this default standing, right-click on a file identify in File Manager and choose the file because the default utility for that kind of file. Some Linux distros provide you with that possibility within the Preferences panel additionally.

Give It a Spin

Unlike 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 one menu merchandise and the applying 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 one menu merchandise and the applying 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.

In 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 primarily based on which possibility you choose within the left column.

Under these choices are buttons to show an inventory of current 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 overview.

The OnlyOffice Desktop Editors release is offered for Linux, Windows and Mac OS. The supply code is offered on GitHub launched underneath the AGPL v.three license.

Want to Suggest a Review?

Is there a Linux software program utility or distro you’d prefer to counsel for overview? Something you like or want to get to know?

e-mail your concepts to me, and I am going to take into account them for a future Linux Picks and Pans column.

And use the Reader Comments characteristic beneath to supply your enter.

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


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