ComputerWorld did a comparison of online office suites. With Microsoft's major changes to the new Office 2007, there are probably a new group of current Office users who might consider alternatives - especially if they are free.

What is appealing about online office suites?

  • documents stored online are available anywhere you can access the Internet
  • works on multiple operating systems
  • no software to buy, download or install
  • upgrades/fixes done automatically and professionally by the company
  • ability to share documents without emailing or shared network access

They tested four popular online office suites and looked specifically at the word processor and spreadsheet components:

  1. Ajax13
  2. Google Docs & Spreadsheets
  3. ThinkFree Online
  4. Zoho Office Suite
And the winner was ThinkFree, which includes Write (word processor), Calc (spreadsheet), and Show (presentation software). ThinkFree is compatible with Microsoft Office and with Windows, Macintosh, Unix and Linux systems.

Their review includes details - for example, Write offers two modes of operation - a Quick Edit minimal interface mode for simple editing that is more WordPad than Word and Power Edit which is more robust with menus, toolbar, ruler bar, drawing toolbar, AutoShapes, text boxes, clip art, and pictures. You can also insert images from clip art, files, from Flickr. There's also the ability to save files as PDFs. ThinkFree can generate HTML web pages.


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