Though they may all seem largely the same at first glance, everyone is looking for something different from an office suite. While powerful editing capabilities are a must for some, easy collaboration is more important to others. That’s why it’s worth evaluating an office suite alternative to see if they work best for you.
While there are a few big names when it comes to office suites, there are plenty of alternatives. OnlyOffice, for example, is an office suite alternative that has been around for 10 years now and not only offers powerful editing and collaboration tools but works in any format you may need, in every operating system, right alongside the biggest names in the business.
This is a sponsored article and was made possible by OnlyOffice. The actual contents and opinions are the sole views of the author who maintains editorial independence, even when a post is sponsored.
What Is OnlyOffice?
While there are free online editing suites like Microsoft Office 365 and Google Docs, there are more than a few strings attached to those services. OnlyOffice, on the other hand, has a 100-percent free Community Edition that is even open source.
Another office suite alternative may offer online editing for free, but they require you to pay when it comes to desktop apps. OnlyOffice makes its web, desktop, and mobile versions available for free, meaning you don’t need to worry about running into a paywall just as you’re putting the finishing touches on an important project.
During its 10 years of service, OnlyOffice has amassed more than 5,000,000 users worldwide, which would be a sizable number for any software. Considering the fact that so much of this office suite alternative is open source, this is even more impressive. It’s used by financial institutions, educators, and even governments.
What Makes OnlyOffice Unique?
Some other office suites are online-only, while others offer multiple versions that work differently depending on the platform. Thanks to the HTML5 Canvas-powered technology that OnlyOffice uses, documents looked the same in every version of the editor, no matter which operating system we tested it on. Obviously, the apps look slightly different on a phone screen compared to the interface on the computer, but the overall formatting remained the same.
Office suites are key tools for collaboration, and this is where OnlyOffice excelled in our testing. Both modern-style real-time editing as well as the more traditional paragraph locking and review notes are supported, giving you plenty of options. OnlyOffice also supports more than 30 different file formats used by Microsoft Office and other editing tools. No matter which file format we threw at OnlyOffice, it opened them without issue. This included files from older versions of Microsoft Office as well as the latest version, so compatibility shouldn’t be an issue.
Collaboration doesn’t always mean that every party involved needs the same permissions. With OnlyOffice you can share documents only for viewing, only for filling out form elements, and many other options. We found we could even restrict other users from downloading or copying from a file.
No matter what type of operating system you use, OnlyOffice is available for it. The desktop version of the software is available for Windows, macOS, and Linux, and in the case of Linux, many different package types are available.
No matter which operating system you use, you’ll need 2GB RAM, 2GB hard disk space, and a 2GHx dual-core processor or better. This is relatively modest by today’s computer standards, so chances are good that it will work on your computer. For Docker installations and other more complex setups, you’ll need more powerful hardware. We didn’t test this, but if you’re using a heavy Docker setup, you’re probably using it on powerful hardware anyway.
Of course, OnlyOffice also works online in your browser, so as long as you have a relatively modern computer and browser, the software should work.
You can use OnlyOffice as you would Google’s G Suite, which is how we tested the software, in addition to the desktop and mobile versions, but you also have much more control. You can host your own servers if you wish, making it excellent for a company intranet or similar use cases. Even better, we found integrations with other platforms and tools like DocuSign, Twilio, and Dropbox very handy and easy to use.
It doesn’t end with these integrations. You can also use OnlyOffice’s official connectors to edit documents within self-hosted cloud solutions and other services. The current official connectors include Alfresco, Confluence, Liferay, Nextcloud, ownCloud, SharePoint, HumHub, Plone and Nuxeo. We tested Nextcloud and Sharepoint, and these worked smoothly.
Whether you’re a user of the free Community edition or a paying customer, you can count on the software staying up to date. OnlyOffice promises two major updates per year as well as regular bug fixes.
In the majority of cases, at least for individuals, OnlyOffice’s Community version is all you’re going to need. This gets you all the editing and collaboration features you’ll need, no matter which platform you’re using. This even applies to the mobile versions of the software for Android and iOS devices.
If you’re using OnlyOffice to power your business, you may want to opt for the Integration Edition. This gets you access to the online editors for documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. It also adds even more professional-level editing features, plus technical support to keep your business running no matter what. Even better, it scales with you and starts for as little as $99.
The Enterprise version of OnlyOffice gets you everything in the Integration edition as well as access to OnlyOffice’s collaboration tools. These let you manage documents, projects, clients, email, and more, similar to the Enterprise versions of competing services. Pricing starts at $1200 per server and scales up depending on how many simultaneous connections you require. If you need access to the API to develop your own tools to work with OnlyOffice, the Developer Edition starts at $1500 per server.
If you don’t want to host OnlyOffice yourself, there is a cloud service available as well. This starts at a price of $75 per month for an office of up to 20 users. For larger groups, the price increases by $5 per user per month. As you extend your commitment, the per-user monthly price drops.
Even better, you don’t have to jump in without trying OnlyOffice’s cloud offering first. OnlyOffice offers a 180-day free trial of its cloud service.
No matter what you’re looking for from an office suite alternative, chances are very good that OnlyOffice has it. We found that nearly all of the key features we were looking for were included in the free Community Edition. Only when you’re truly scaling up as a company will the Enterprise and other paid versions begin to seem necessary.
If you’re curious about OnlyOffice, the best option is to try it out. It’s entirely free to try, and since it runs on the Web, you don’t even need to download and install it to get a good look at how well it works.
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