I’ll confess, I depend upon Google Docs. I use it every day, all day. Without Docs, I’d certainly have to find an alternative, one that would not only allow me easy access to my cloud-based documents, but one that would also allow me to sync to a desktop.

Fortunately, there are a number of possible alternatives available that fit this particular bill. One such possibility is Zoho Docs. Zoho Docs offers some really powerful features, such as:


One difference between Google Docs and Zoho Docs, is that Zoho offers a tiered pricing solution. They have three options:

  • Free: Gets you 5GB/user of storage space.
  • Standard: ($4.00/user/month) Gets you 100GB/user of storage space.
  • Premium: ($6.40/user/month) Gets you 1TB/user of storage space.

Each tier also gets you a different feature set. For a complete look, view the Zoho Docs price/feature matrix.

Desktop Client

One feature that attracts me to Zoho Docs the most is the native desktop client, available for Linux, Windows, and macOS. The desktop client is incredibly easy to use and could be considered (for many users) a much more powerful and flexible solution than what is offered for Google Docs. This should be especially appealing to Linux desktop users.

Let’s install the Zoho Docs desktop client and see how easy it is to work with.

If you’re installing on either Windows or macOS, the installation is very straightforward.

Installing the desktop client on Linux is actually pretty easy. I’ve tested on both Ubuntu Bionic Beaver and Elementary OS with great success. To install, follow these steps:

  1. Create Zoho Docs account.
  2. Download the tar file from the downloads page.
  3. Open up your file manager and navigate to the directory housing the newly downloaded file.
  4. Right-click the file and select Extract here.
  5. Change into the newly-created directory.
  6. Change into the zohodocs directory.
  7. Double-click on the Zoho Docs Installer file.
  8. When the sign-in window appears (Figure A) enter your Zoho Docs account credentials.
  9. Click Sign In
  10. If you’ve setup 2FA, retrieve the code sent to your mobile device and enter it (when prompted).

Figure A

In the next window (Figure B), you’ll be given the location of your Zoho Docs sync folder and be given the ability to opt out of sharing information with Zoho.

Figure B

Once you complete the installation, you’ll see the Zoho Docs icon in your desktop system tray. You’ll find plenty of available options here. If you click on the icon, you’ll see the Zoho Docs client menu. Click on Preferences to make any necessary configuration changes. In the Preferences window (Figure C), you can configure the system language, the location of the sync folder (and even selectively sync folders within the main folder), proxy settings, upload/download speed restrictions, startup settings, tray notification settings, and more.

Figure C

If you open your desktop file manager, you can then navigate to the location of your Zoho Desktop files (unusually /home/USER/Zoho Docs Where USER is the name of your user). Start copying files/folders into that directory and they will automatically start syncing with your Zoho Docs cloud account. You can then access those files/folders from any machine that is associated with your Zoho Docs account (you’ll have to install the desktop client on said machines) or from any web browser.

SEE: Google Cloud Platform: An insider’s guide (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

A solid alternative

If you’re a user of Google Docs, and you’ve been looking for a solid alternative, look no further than Zoho Docs. Not only does their desktop client work like a champ, their built-in document creator/editor does an outstanding job of helping you create and work with documents, spreadsheets, and presentations (which can then be downloaded in either MS Office or Open Document Foundation formats.

Give Zoho Docs a go and see if you don’t wind up preferring it to the Google option.