Linux has a decent pool of open source office suites. The default LibreOffice is sufficient for most users.
Some people find the interface of LibreOffice a bit dull and when it comes to compatibility with MS Office, things go even further south.
Now, using Microsoft Office on Linux is a pain in the neck and a hole in the pocket. It’s better to for a modern alternative and ONLYOFFICE fits the bill.
Before we take a detailed look at the review of the Linux version of the ONLYOFFICE editors, let’s take a brief look at all the variants in the ONLYOFFICE roster. ONLYOFFICE issues its software in 3 forms:
- ONLYOFFICE Docs, a self-hosted office package
- ONLYOFFICE Workspace, ONLYOFFICE Docs combined with its own collaborative platform for efficient teamwork
- ONLYOFFICE Desktop Editors, a desktop client for Windows, Linux and macOS
ONLYOFFICE Docs provides a great office solution for corporations, government offices, schools and colleges. This version of ONLYOFFICE is to be deployed on your own servers and can be integrated with various cloud storage platforms and document management systems through official connectors. Some of the most prominent integration examples include Netxcloud, ownCloud, Seafile, WordPress, Moodle, Chamilo, Strapi, etc.
ONLYOFFICE Docs comes with no adware, spyware, or any piece of software that allows developers or any 3rd party any kind of access to your installation. Security and privacy are given a high priority here.
Now, this harmony and an undisturbed environment are a huge perk you get with ONLYOFFICE considering its price. They have a free community edition too. But the benefits available with the paid editions are a great proposition I must say. Check out ONLYOFFICE Docs for server deployment here.
ONLYOFFICE Docs provides a flexible variant of its web-based editors for developers who seek to integrate ONLYOFFICE with their services. Of course, under your own brand name. ONLYOFFICE again provides a couple of choices here. Check out more details about it here.
ONLYOFFICE Desktop Editors
ONLYOFFICE belongs to a new breed of software which aims at providing optimal functionality while maintaining the most simple and usable interface. For example, think of the Google apps. I should make it clear that ONLYOFFICE is much more than just a cross-platform document editor. It is something that is capable of running your business, organization, library, school and projects completely from one place.
ONLYOFFICE is a complete office package. That is, it can handle a number of popular document formats, spreadsheets, presentations and fillable forms. ONLYOFFICE also brings a lot of goodies for power users which we will see a bit later.
Did I mention that ONLYOFFICE Desktop Editors is completely open-source?
The landing screen of the software strikes the spot where it gives you a minimal yet a functional interface. It’s clean, elegant and it all together looks a little “Windows”y.
The work area is tabbed. All the docs you are working are tabbed on the top so you can quickly switch tabs, the browser way. Similar menus, ribbon type top bar and some innovative ‘small things’ are all set to give your productivity a boost with ONLYOFFICE.
First impression of ONLYOFFICE
ONLYOFFICE had impressed me enough for me to start writing my next article on it. There is no learning curve involved as ONLYOFFICE adheres to standards employed by major Office Software. If you’ve used any office software before, then you’ll have no issue migrating to ONLYOFFICE. By using the word ‘migrate’, maybe I’m even exaggerating the process. If you do not have any experience with an office suite, then ONLYOFFICE is downright usable too. It’s just that accessible.
As a matter of fact, ONLYOFFICE is much more usable than others due to its simplicity and design. With quick templates for applications given at your fingertips, starting a new doc or mixing things around in the document is made so effortless. An enhanced shortcuts roster, contemporary quick templates and a familiar work area does provide an amazing work experience. It’s fast, modern, and simply a better experience.
The document editor part of an office suite is something that has to offer a high accessibility, considering the fact that it will be used by people of a diverse intellectual and ethnographic background. Almost everybody uses a document editor now and then. In ONLYOFFICE, formatting and design has been taken care of in such a way that even persons of the least technical knowledge will be comfortable working here.
It also offers collaboration and other features offered by its non-free counterparts. I especially recommend it to students. It is free. But it offers quality that is worth paying for.
I did feel that the top of the work area was a little too cluttery in the spreadsheet editor. The cell template box must have been ditched in order to provide bigger icons. This is done maybe to maintain a uniformity across the whole software.
The spreadsheet editor has the icons absolutely consistent with those used by other top suits. This is a plus point for trained professionals looking forward to switching to ONLYOFFICE as they won’t be facing any drop in their productivity. The whole thing is pretty intuitive.
Even if you casually use spreadsheets for some accounts keeping, ONLYOFFICE provides a good environment for some number crunching. And comparing to other free solutions, which look like an ancient version of MS Excel, ONLYOFFICE is the obvious choice.
I really liked the presentation editor, which I tend to use more than often. I usually spend a lot of time in setting up the theme for my presentation. ONLYOFFICE provides a diverse set of themes, which you can quickly transform to suit your style by just altering the parameters on the right side of the work area. Mix and match.
There is a slight regression in the compatibility factor between MS Office and LibreOffice. But it is enough to really annoy you. Especially when you are in the middle of a presentation. I was not going to recommend OnlyOffice to anybody (for presentation) without making sure it produced no such undesired changes.
I think you must try your next presentation in ONLYOFFICE. Definitely.
What makes ONLYOFFICE shine in comparison with other office suites is that it allows you to create form templates and turn them into fillable forms. If you click Form Template on the landing screen, you will see the document editor. However, there will be a new tab with different options. They are like Microsoft Office content controls and let you create fillable fields in your document.
In one word, ONLYOFFICE makes it possible to insert images, text fields, drop-down lists, combo boxes, checkboxes and radio buttons. Each option has its own properties that you can change on the right side of the work area.
You can save your forms in ONLYOFFICE’s own format or convert them to fillable PDF files. In any case, the resulting files can’t be edited, and the only thing you can do it to fill in the required fields. This feature is really useful in many scenarios.
Surprisingly, ONLYOFFICE is also capable of opening PDF and DjVu files. With this in mind, there is no need to look for a separate PDF viewer because ONLYOFFICE has a built-in tool that allows you to easily view PDFs and DjVu files. I don’t know how many office suites are compatible with these formats but I really like this feature in ONLYOFFICE. You can navigate through the pages of your file using a navigation panel on the left side of the work area and even copy text.
What else is great about ONLYOFFICE is its ability to convert PDF files to DOCX. If you need to turn your PDF into an editable Word document, just open the File tab on the top toolbar and click Save as. Then choose DOCX and enjoy the results. As easy as a piece of cake.
More than just a document editor
ONLYOFFICE offers a cloud office solution with collaborative features, project management tools, an in-house work chat and mail. The customer relationship management system that ONLYOFFICE offers as one of its prime attributes has pretty good reviews by users. All in all, I must say ONLYOFFICE is a big league player. These are beyond the scope of this article, but I felt they are too cool to be excluded from the article and they are even providing a month of free trial. I suggest you make it a point to check out this awesome offer.
You can create a free ONLYOFFICE cloud portal for up to 5 users right in the interface of the desktop app and enjoy the features mentioned above. You can edit files both locally with the desktop editors and in the browser.
What’s more, apart from the ONLYOFFICE cloud solution, you can connect ONLYOFFICE Desktop Editors with Nextcloud, ownCloud, Seafile, Liferay and kDrive.
Any Office solution is of commercial value to the user (even if it’s free of cost) for obvious reasons. This means they should assure stability, efficiency, universal usability and above all dependability. ONLYOFFICE stands up to these principles. And considering the absence of a price tag (for the desktop editors), I’d say ONLYOFFICE Desktop Editors is something you must absolutely try.
Compatibility with Open Document and Microsoft Formats
One main thing I wanted to check out was its stability when dealing with a doc produced by MS Office. I have very often faced these cross-compatibility issues on other Office suites. When even the premier office solution for desktop Linux gives some issues, I did expect to see some zig-zag lines. But, ONLYOFFICE did not give me much to to complain here. All was butter smooth with Word documents.
The presentation slides however, had some compatibility issues. Not a lot but noticeable enough.
ONLYOFFICE is (mostly) compatible with Microsoft Office formats as well as OpenOffice formats. This adaptability is invaluable when you know that your computer will be able to handle any document created on any platform without any performance issues.
OnlyOffice provides packages for all major Linux distributions. Both DEB (for Debian, Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Elementary OS and other derivatives) and RPM (For Fedora, openSUSE and derivatives) packages can be downloaded for free from the link below;
And for Arch Linux, Manjaro and other derivatives, the latest version of OnlyOffice desktop editor is present on the amazing Arch User repository. Fetch it by using the following commands.
OnlyOffice is logged under the name ‘Desktop editors’ in your menu. Click on it to launch OnlyOffice.
OnlyOffice is a mature product. As I said before it belongs to a new breed of software that are made for today, ’nuff said. Do give OnlyOffice a try and share your opinion with us. Don’t forget to share the article. Cheers.