How to add a cloud-based document app on Nextcloud

If you want to add document editing capabilities to your Nextcloud server, learn how to do so with the help of the Documents app.

Image: Jack Wallen

One reason why most small businesses should consider using the Nextcloud cloud server is that you can easily expand its capabilities from a standard cloud storage/sync to a full-featured groupware solution.

For instance, with the Documents app, you enable a built-in document editor for your Nextcloud server. Although the editor isn't quite as feature rich as a standard document editor such as LibreOffice or Microsoft Word, it does a great job creating documents and editing documents. Currently, the app only supports .odt files, but it does include support for LibreOffice comments (but not track changes). You can format documents and even share them. Let's install this app and get it working with Nextcloud.

SEE: Predictions 2017: Three reasons businesses can't ignore the rapidly growing cloud market (ZDNet)

Installing the Documents app

I'll add the Documents app on an updated Nextcloud 10.0.1 instance, running on Ubuntu 16.04.2 server. Note: Version 11 of Nextcloud will be arriving soon; this process will remain standard across versions.

Here are the steps for adding the Documents app.

  1. Log into Nextcloud as an admin user.
  2. Click the upper left drop-down.
  3. Click the + button.
  4. Click the gear icon in the bottom left corner.
  5. Click to enable experimental apps (Figure A).
  6. Once enabled, click the Productivity entry in the left pane.
  7. Locate Documents and click Enable.
  8. Wait for the app to be downloaded and installed from the app store.

Figure A

Figure A

Installing the Documents app from the Nextcloud app store.

Using the Documents app

Click the drop-down in the upper left corner of the window and select Documents (Figure B). This will open the Documents app in Nextcloud where you can upload documents or create new documents.

Figure B

Figure B

The Documents app is now installed and ready to go.

As you're working on a document within the Nextcloud Documents app, you'll notice the Share button is available; unfortunately, the share functionality does not currently function within the Documents app. You can, however, share documents you've created within the Files app. To do this, follow these steps.

  1. Close the document you are working on.
  2. Click the upper-left drop-down.
  3. Click Files.
  4. Click the document icon associated with the file you want to share.
  5. In the right pane (Figure C), type the name of the user, group, or users on other Nextcloud (or ownCloud) servers using the format
  6. Select the editorial level options for that user (can share, can edit).
  7. Close the Share window by clicking the X in the upper right corner.

Figure C

Figure C

Sharing a file with a local user.

Hopefully, in the near future, the Documents app will gain a working share functionality.

A worthy addition

If you're working with Nextcloud and want to add the ability to edit documents housed on that cloud, or even create new ones, you should seriously considering adding the Document app--it's free, and it functions mostly as expected. If you're okay working with the .odt file format, you'll find this app a worthy addition to Nextcloud.

Also see

By Jack Wallen

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic, The New Stack, and Linux New Media. He's covered a variety of topics for over twenty years and is an avid promoter of open source. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen....