Those who want to make a switch from a desktop-based word processor to a web-based word processor will usually use Google Docs. Is there another option?
Zoho Writer is another online word processor you can use if you want to make a switch from a desktop-based word processor to a web-based word processor. It is even has been existing longer than Google Docs. Zoho Writer, which is part of Zoho Docs, was released in 2005, while Google Docs was released a year later in 2006. Today, they have become two most popular online word processors and involved in a serious competition.
Be it Zoho Writer or Google Docs are actually have the similar features and capabilities. They are capable enough of handling complex documents and support a wide range of document formats. It will be so much unfair to judge which is the better between them without taking a deeper investigation. So, let’s do.
As usual, let’s start with the user interface.
If you have ever noticed at the user interface of most word processors, they generally have the same layout style. You will see the toolbar sets at the top side of the working window, along with the menus above them. Google Docs also adopts this kind of user interface. There is no significant difference between Google Docs interface and most desktop-based word processor, making your migration be more seamless.
Meanwhile, Zoho Writer offers a bit different user interface. At first, you might think that Zoho Docs is a note-taking app instead of word processor. That it because you will see no toolbar at all until you block certain word or sentence to make some formatting. A tiny pop-up containing toolbar sets will appear when you block a certain word or sentence on the Zoho Writer worksheet. On the one hand, this idea gives more space on your worksheet and less distractions. On the other hand, users will have to familiarize their self with this unusual interface, in which may can take times.
If you want to display the toolbar all over during working, you can click the MORE button that is located at the bottom-right of the pop-up. But still, instead of displaying the toolbar at the top side of the working window, Zoho Writer opts to put it on the sidebar.
Document format compatibility
Both Zoho Writer and Google Docs have a very good document format compatibility. They both is capable of opening (and also editing) documents in such formats as Microsoft Word (DOCX), OpenDocument (ODT) and Rich Text Format (RTF). Thus, you will keep be able to work on the documents you created with, for instance, Microsoft Word. There is no need to worry about the document compatibility if you want to totally switch to Zoho Writer or Google Docs. At all.
Online collaboration capability
Today, most online tools allow you to work collaboratively with your team members. So do Zoho Writer and Google Docs. Zoho Writer and Google Docs allow you to add collaborators by inviting them via email. When inviting, you can also set the permissions whether you will let your collaborators to edit your document or just viewing. They both also allow you leave a comment over certain word or sentence. This is a very nice way of collaboration.
Especially for Zoho Writer, the online word processor has an in-app chat which you can find on the bottom-left of the working window.
One thing. Don’t forget to give your document a name every time you create a new one to make sure it will be discoverable. You will never know how many documents you are going to have in the future.
The biggest difference between online word processor and desktop-based word processor is that you don’t need to perform anything to save your document when working with an online word processor. Your document will be automatically saved to the cloud. In Google Docs, your document will be saved to Google Drive, while Zoho Writer offers a 5GB of free storage capacity to save your documents.
Zoho Writer allows you to create folders to manage your documents.
To manage the documents you created with Google Docs, you can login to your Google Drive account and create some folders over there. Alternatively, you can also directly create a new folder from Google Docs.
Desktop sync and other cloud storages support
Although Zoho Writer and Google Docs have provided a cloud storage service to allow you saving your documents, you will probably still want to download your documents. For an offline backup, may be.
You don’t really need to manually download your documents to have an offline backup of them. The two offer desktop client app you can install on your computer. This desktop client will sync the documents you have on Zoho Writer and Google Drive to your computer. The Zoho desktop client is available for three major platforms, Windows, macOS and Linux, while Google Drive only provides its desktop client for Windows and macOS.
Google Docs doesn’t allow you to save your documents to other cloud storage services, while Zoho Writer allows you to save your documents on such cloud storages as Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive and Box. You can even sync Zoho Writer with Dropbox.
Winner: Zoho Writer
One thing that puts Google Docs ahead of Zoho Writer is that you can enhance its functionalities by installing add-ons. For instance, you can install a certain add-on to convert your Google Docs documents to markdown. There are hundreds or even thousands of free add-ons you can install on Google Docs. Zoho Writer, on the other hand, doesn’t offer this kind of feature.
Other advantage of Google Docs is the font availability. You know that Google has a service called Google Fonts. You can search your favorite fonts and add them to Google Docs. Zoho Writer also allows you to add more fonts other than the default fonts. But, the number is not as many as Google Fonts.
Winner: Google Docs
Finally, we have come to this part. Seriously, deciding which is the better between Zoho Writer and Google Docs is not an easy task. It’s nearly the same as saying which is stronger between Iron Man and Captain America.
Both Zoho Writer and Google Docs have a good document format compatibility. Their features are also not much different. If you prefer a word processor with a traditional interface layout, Google Docs probably is a better option. Conversely, Zoho Writer is a better option if you have a premium account on a certain cloud storage (Dropbox may be) and want to backup your documents on it. Zoho Writer is also a better choice for Linux users since it provide a desktop client for Linux. But overall, Zoho Writer and Google Docs are comparable.
Overall winner: Draw