ONLYOFFICE Docs Review: Best Microsoft Office Online Alternative

Need a powerful online office suite that serves as a reliable alternative to Microsoft Office Online? A solution that works well with different formats and edits Word, Excel and PowerPoint files without causing compatibility problems and compromising your data? ONLYOFFICE Docs might be the ideal answer to your needs. In this post, we will take a look at this software and highlight its key features.

ONLYOFFICE Docs: general information

ONLYOFFICE Docs is an online open-source office suite that includes three editors for creating and editing text documents, spreadsheets and presentations right in your browser without installing additional programs. The solution natively supports the OOXML formats (DOCX, XLSX and PPTX), so it’s perfectly compatible with Word, Excel and PowerPoint files. It also works with other popular formats, such as ODT, ODP, ODS, DOC, XLS, PPT, PDF, TXT, RTF and HTML. 

Key features

ONLYOFFICE Docs comes with all the functionality that you might expect from an online office suite. It offers a set of editing and formatting tools that allow you to create text documents, spreadsheets and presentations of any type. You can apply various fonts, add headers and footers, adjust paragraph spacing and insert different objects — images, charts, autoshapes, Text Art, tables, diagrams, equations, content controls, etc. ONLYOFFICE Docs also supports academic formatting and navigation, so you can work with tables of contents, cross-references and bookmarks. 

A set of third-party plugins significantly expands the basic functionality of ONLYOFFICE Docs. The solution makes it possible to create and edit bibliographies with the Zotero or Mendeley plugins, translate words or whole paragraphs into foreign languages with Google Translate or DeepL, correct typing mistakes with Typograph, chat with friends or colleagues in Telegram,  insert YouTube videos and even run macros to facilitate routine tasks. All these actions can be completed without leaving the editors interface, which is really convenient. 

Real-time document collaboration

If you often have to edit documents in real time with your colleagues, ONLYOFFICE Docs can make things a lot easier. It offers two co-editing modes for online collaboration. When you switch to the Fast mode, you’ll see the presence of other users and all the changes they’re making to the document. In the Strict mode, you lock any paragraph and edit it privately — all the changes will be visible only after you click the Save button.

What’s more, ONLYOFFICE Docs is equipped with a flexible access management system. Depending on your needs, you can set up the required level of access to your documents, and other users will be able to edit, review, leave comments only, view and fill out forms. There is also special access permission for spreadsheets — when the Custom Filter feature is applied, other users are allowed to use their own filters while editing a spreadsheet without disturbing the others. 

ONLYOFFICE Docs also lets you track changes made by other co-authors in real time as well as accept or reject them. Using the Version History feature, you can easily navigate through the previous versions of a document and restore any of them if necessary. Leaving comments, tagging other users and exchanging text messages in the built-in chat — all these tools make online collaboration with ONLYOFFICE Docs a piece of cake. 

User interface

All the three editors are accessible via a single user interface that is very simple to master. The editing and formatting tools are grouped into functional tabs. If you are already used to the Microsoft Office Online interface or tabbed toolbars in other office suites, using ONLYOFFICE Docs will not be a problem for you. 

The newly added Dark Theme, which uses a darker colour palette for all menus and windows, reduces eye strain and provides the comfort of use in dark environments or at night.

Security features

First things first, ONLYOFFCIE Docs is an open-source solution, and its source is available on GitHub. Everyone can check it for vulnerabilities and backdoors.  

Also, ONLYOFFICE Docs is a self-hosted solution, which allows you to have your data under control. It can be deployed locally or on a private AWS cloud. In addition to that, JSON Web Token is used in ONLYOFFICE Docs to protect documents from unauthorized access. The HTTPS protocol encrypts your traffic in transit. 

The Private Room feature allows you to store, edit and share documents in an encrypted form using the AES-256 encryption algorithm. This prevents third-party users from being able to read or understand the content of your document or the changes you or your co-authors are making during the collaboration session. You don’t need any passwords: they are generated automatically on-device. To sum it up, every bit of information in the Private Room is reliably encrypted.

Integration options

ONLYOFFICE Docs can be integrated into a number of document management systems and file-sharing platforms via connectors, including ONLYOFFCE Workspace, Nextcloud, ownCloud, Seafile, HumHub, Alfresco, Confluence, Plone, Nuxeo, Seafile, SharePoint, etc. You can even add ONLYOFFICE Docs to your own solution using the detailed API documentation. 

Mobile and desktop apps

Prefer editing documents offline? No problem! Just install the free ONLYOFFICE desktop app that offers the same user interface and similar functionality. It is available for Windows, macOS and various Linux distributions.

ONLYOFFICE also offers mobile apps for Android and iOS to make it easier to edit documents on the go. They are available on the official app stores free of charge and contain no ads or in-app purchases. 

Pricing

For personal use, it might be a good idea to buy a Home Server at $149. It’s a home version of ONLYOFFICE Docs for up to 10 users that offers all the functionality. Once you have paid, it’s yours forever but professional technical support and regular updates are available for a year. 

For enterprise users, the price for a commercial version of ONLYOFFICE Docs starts from $1,200 per server with 50 simultaneous connections. 

There is also a free community version of ONLYOFFICE Docs. It comes with some limitations and doesn’t have some features (e.g. document comparison, content controls and sheet views).

Wrapping up this review of ONLYOFFICE Docs

ONLYOFFICE Docs is a reliable alternative to Microsoft Office Online. It has a full set of editing and formatting features to make it easier to work with Word, Excel and PowerPoint files online. The latest version of the software will be a good option among those who are concerned about data security and need powerful editing capabilities for both home and corporate use. You can test the functionality of ONLYOFFICE Docs for free in the cloud and decide for yourself if it suits your needs. 

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James Williams
James is our Lead Content Publisher here at Feeds Portal. He has worked with many top websites over the years, including BuzzFeed.

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