This content was produced in partnership with ONLYOFFICE.
Whether you work and collaborate with your colleagues from home, run a small business, or manage a team of employees (or maybe you do some combination of those), having good collaborative software is vital — and in many cases, free apps like Google Docs don’t cut it. ONLYOFFICE is a more comprehensive cloud-based office productivity suite used by millions around the globe. And for a limited time, Digital Trends readers can sign up for the Business plan at a 20% discount. Here’s what you need to know about ONLYOFFICE, including its new OFORMs feature, and what it can do for you.
Cloud-based software is hardly new. Google almost single-handedly revolutionized how people work and collaborate online when it released Google Docs and Google Drive, but as the world has grown increasingly digitized and internet-connected — especially in the past two years — these rather simple free apps haven’t quite kept up with the growing needs of professionals and small businesses.
ONLYOFFICE provides a more complete and full-featured cloud-based app suite and is a great alternative to Google Docs and even to paid software with online features, such as Microsoft Office. In a nutshell, it’s an open-source office package for text documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and fillable forms. With ONLYOFFICE, you can easily create a collaborative cloud environment for a team of any size or create a virtual workspace on-premises by integrating the editors with a document management system or file-sharing platform. The list of available integration options includes such well-known solutions as SharePoint, Nextcloud, ownCloud, Redmine, Alfresco, Confluence, Nuxeo, Moodle, and so on.
ONLYOFFICE offers all the must-have tools that everyone likes to find in office software. You can easily edit documents of any type due to the highest compatibility with Microsoft Office formats and support of other popular formats such as OpenDocument.
What makes ONLYOFFICE outstanding is its collaborative capabilities. Apart from the features that one can find in Google Docs or Microsoft Online — for example, version history and controls, tracking changes, commenting, and user tagging — ONLYOFFICE also offers two co-editing modes. The Fast mode is established by default and allows you to see all the edits in real time. For more private editing, you can switch to the Strict mode, and no one will see what you are typing until you click the save button. While collaborating online, you can communicate with others via Telegram or make video and audio calls using the Jitsi plugins.
One of the best new features of the software is ONLYOFFICE Forms. Introduced with ONLYOFFICE version 7.0, OFORMs allow you to create forms with various types of fields (including text, checkboxes, and drop-down lists, among others) that can be filled out by other people. You can create and send contracts, applications, and similar documents to clients or employees, to name just a few common use cases.
ONLYOFFICE forms are designed to help you drastically cut down on time wasted typing up documents for other users to fill out, allowing you to streamline your workflow if it involves a lot of form-filling and management of electronic documents. OFORMs are also compatible with both Microsoft Office content controls and Adobe Forms, and your created forms can be exported as PDF files that recipients can edit and fill out.
Another of our favorite things about ONLYOFFICE is that it interfaces smoothly with other enterprise software. If you already use services like Microsoft Office, OneDrive, LibreOffice, Google Docs, or Dropbox, then you can import and share documents between these and ONLYOFFICE, and you can even turn Microsoft .docx files into OFORMs. If you own or manage a server system, ONLYOFFICE can be installed on it as well.
The ONLYOFFICE suite comes with a free app for the most popular operating systems, including Windows, Linux, and MacOS. The desktop version is identical to the online version and offers almost the same set of tools. You can locally open and edit Word files, Excel spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations, and even fillable forms. As in the case of online editors, the desktop app allows you to create forms from scratch or use DOCX templates. Inserting various field types, changing their properties, saving to PDF or OFORM formats for online work — all of this is possible in the desktop app.
The free ONLYOFFICE mobile apps for Android and iOS also support fillable forms. You can open and fill out forms on the go, but you can’t create new ones or edit them on your mobile device.
There’s a basic free package available if you want to give ONLYOFFICE a spin, and this includes a free trial for the upgraded Business plan. However, if you already know you need a more comprehensive online software solution, then through April 30, Digital Trends readers can sign up for a one-year Business subscription and get a 20% discount with the checkout code DIGITALTRENDS20. OFORMs are available to all ONLYOFFICE users, so you can take advantage of this new feature even with the free plan.
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