Cloud

OnlyOffice Documents is a serious contender to take on Google Docs

If you're looking for a Google Docs alternative on your Android devices, OnlyOffice Documents might be the next big thing.

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I depend upon Google Docs. I use it everyday and am not sure what I'd do without it.

However, it seems daily a new service is rolled out that promises to be the next David to topple Google's Goliath. Most often those challengers wind up failing in spectacular fashion. Every so often one pops up that has some promise, but ultimately cannot produce. And then there's the likes of OnlyOffice Documents.

This particular Android app connects to either OnlyOffice Personal or an OnlyOffice Portal cloud or on-premises server. The app allows to create and modify text, spreadsheet, and presentation documents as well as manage folders on your OnlyOffice account. You can even connect OnlyOffice Documents to third-party storage (such as Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, Yandex.Disk, and more). The OnlyOffice app shows a great deal of promise, with just a few shortcomings.

Let's install OnlyOffice Documents on Android.

SEE: Job description: Android developer (Tech Pro Research)

How to install OnlyOffice Documents on Android

The installation is as simple as any other Android application. Just follow these steps:

  1. Open the Google Play Store on your Android device.
  2. Search for OnlyOffice Documents.
  3. Locate and tap the entry by Ascensio System SIA.
  4. Tap Install.
  5. Allow the installation to complete.

Once the installation completes, you should find the app launcher on your home screen and/or your App Drawer. Tap to launch.

How to connect to your OnlyOffice account

I'll be demonstrating with an OnlyOffice Portal account. You can add multiple accounts to the app; so if you have a Personal OnlyOffice account, you can add it as well. Let's create and connect a new Portal account. From the account screen of the App (Figure A), select the Portal tab and then tap CREATE PORTAL.

How to create a new portal account in OnlyOffice Documents

After you fill out the requisite information for the Portal account, you will be sent a text message with a code. Copy/paste that code (or allow Android to do it for you) and the Portal will be created. During the creation of your Portal account, you'll be asked to create a portal address. Use your company name like adorkabledesigns.onlyoffice.com (Figure A). You will then use that address to log into the web version of the service.

Figure A

Figure A

Creating a new Portal account.

With a portal account, you do get more features (such as projects, CRM, community, chat, and more). So if you're planning on using OnlyOffice for teams, I highly recommend you go this route over the Personal account. The web version of the Portal does offer more in the way of features than does the Android app. However, with the Android app you can work with documents and projects. You can also easily share and collaborate on documents.

Once you have everything connected, it's time to use OnlyOffice Documents.

How to use OnlyOffice Documents

One of the first things you'll want to do is connect a third-party storage service. Although this can be done from the Android app, I recommend doing it from the web version. Why? It's just easier. But if you want to connect a third-party service from the Android app, here's how:

  1. From the Android app main page (Figure B), tap the + button.
  2. Tap Connect third-party storage.
  3. From the list, tap the third-party storage you want to connect.
  4. Enter the login details for that third-party storage service.

Figure B

Figure B

The OnlyOffice Documents main window.

At this point, you can start creating and editing documents. It should be noted, however, that the app is limited in the document formats it can open. OnlyOffice Documents does fine with MS Office format and Open Document format documents. It should be noted, however, that when opening an Open Document Format doc (such as .odt), it will be converted to an MS Office document (such as .docx). Finally, with regards to file format, the app cannot open Google Docs native format. Instead, OnlyOffice documents will download the file in question and then prompt you to open the file in Google Docs.

Beyond that, the app is incredibly simple to use. In fact, OnlyOffice Documents is as simple to use as is the Google Docs app, with the added bonus of being able to easily integrate third-party storage.

You now have more choices

If you're an Android user, looking to expand beyond Google Drive and Docs, you now have another possible solution. OnlyOffice Documents is definitely a viable option for anyone looking for a solid, cloud-based storage/document creator/editor. Give this app a try and see if it doesn't fill a need where Google might be failing.

Also see

About Jack Wallen

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.

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