The latest point release of Onlyoffice, a free suite compatible with Microsoft Office, is here with several small improvements and better support for Asian and African writing systems.
Despite Microsoft’s seemingly unassailable hegemony, Office still has rivals other than Google Docs. There is more than one free and open source productivity suite. Onlyoffice has a few points in its favour, and the new version 7.2 increases its appeal.
Onlyoffice 7 was released earlier this year and it is the second point release. This release has improved font support, especially for handling ligatures – the combined characters created by joining two (or more) letters together. It’s not a big deal in English; this is useful for certain words of Latin origin, such as anesthetic. However, for some alphabets, where most or all of the letters come together, this is essential, so this means that Onlyoffice 7.2 now has much better support for Bengali (বাংলা বর্ণমালা) and N’Ko (ޒޞޏ), among others .
The specification of data entry fields in forms has been improved. Spreadsheets can be inserted into other documents as OLE objects, which means they stay active and can be edited and updated. The suite UI can now be displayed in Portuguese, Traditional Chinese, Basque, Malay and Armenian. There is also an updated plugin manager.
Not only does it have dark mode, there’s now a dark contrast view. There are also other smaller UI improvements around selecting, cutting, pasting, pasting special, and linking charts to their source data range in spreadsheets. The navigation panel has been renamed Titles, and there are new options for sharing documents, listing co-authors, and more. In addition to the normal edit mode, there are also comment and view modes, and view mode can now show changes made by other live contributors in real time.
Native versions are available for free for Linux, Windows and macOS, as well as mobile versions for Android and iOS, or check out the AGPL 3.0 licensed source here.
canvas element, Onlyoffice can also run in a web browser. You can Register for an online demo, and the company’s own hosted version is free for up to five users. You can also host your own version, either directly on a Linux server, in Docker or in a cloud virtual machine, and this edition can interact with files held in NextCloud, OwnCloud, Confluence, SharePoint and various other file storage solutions by line. In this mode, the suite competes with the cloud-based Collabora Online suite.
As such, its competitive position against other free office suites is that Onlyoffice has a more modern ribbon-based interface and claims the best Microsoft Office file compatibility. The modern user interface and the strong compatibility with Microsoft Office are also valid for Kingsoft. SWP office – but while it’s free for personal use, and even preloaded in some Linux distributions, like Ubuntu Kylin Pro, it’s not open source.
Onlyoffice developers pay for all of this through their advertising Company documents and Workspace offerings. Workspace adds significantly more features to the suite, including email, calendar, customer relationship management, and project management.
Here on The register FOSS desktop, we actually prefer the old-school, menu-driven UI of LibreOffice and its relatives, but if you prefer something more like Office 365, and perhaps has better file compatibility , Onlyoffice looms large. ®
PS: Yes, we know it is spelled ONLYOFFICE. But we didn’t feel like SCREAMING throughout TODAY’S ARTICLE.