Web Office Tools

Zoho logo

Create yourself a free account at Zoho, and you’ll have access to whole flotilla of web-based office applications along with several other useful tools. (Blog post from year-end 2006 review.)

Here’s a screenshot showing most of the tools they offer. I haven’t used all of these yet, but I have used many of them and the amount of progress being made on the development of these tools is amazing. Also, this picture is certain to be out-o-date since they continue to create more and more new tools all the time. Visit homepage to see the latest.

Zoho tools

You can edit your documents both on-line and off-line. There’s a new Zoho Start page where you can access all your documents for the various applications. You (or your students) can access your documents inside Facebook.

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I use Zoho Writer quite often. PC World Magazine ranked it number one of the online word processing tools. It is great for collaboration with others without passing around Word documents ad nauseum, and it renders very well as a webpage, which is not something that anyone can honestly say about MS Word. I especially like using Writer for presentation materials for workshops and seminars. Not only can anyone access your materials after the workshop, but you can make heavy use of links to other sources and it is very easy to increase font size on the presentation screen by toggling the +/- keys. The Zoho Writer Blog has lots of good info.

Here are three of the presentations that I’ve made using Zoho Writer during the past few months:

  1. Web 2.0 Whirlwind at League CIT in Charlotte
  2. Web 2.0 for Administrators at MnSCU Deans/CAO meetings
  3. Faculty Peer Review of Course Design at WCET in Portland

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Zoho Sheet is similar to MS Excel, but not as full featured or powerful. However, it works great for the more common spreadsheet tasks and formulas. I especially like the fact that you can easily embed an active spreadsheet, chart, or both into a webpage. Here is the chart showing how nearly 3,000 students in Minnesota Online answered the question about what their plans were for taking online courses. I made the following chart using Zoho Sheet (check out the Sheet Blog). Here is one man’s opinion preferring Zoho Sheet over Google Spreadsheets. FWIW, I agree with him.

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zoho chart

 

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Zoho Wiki is fairly new. I use wikis quite a bit but have never settled on a preferred one, using pbwiki, Jot, WikiSpaces, and others. I’m guessing that I will start using the Zoho Wiki more extensively since it:

  • uses the WYSIWYG editor from Zoho Writer that includes spell check
  • it uses the Zoho Single Sign-on, so you can use your existing Zoho ID
  • you can embed many different kinds of objects into your Wiki pages like a Zoho Sheet, a Zoho Show, a Zoho Creator application/form or a YouTube video.

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I have also used Zoho Show several times (here’s the Show Blog). It is one of several useful ways to put presentation slides on the web. However, I am doing that less and less these days, preferring to find other ways of making presentations if at all possible.

I can’t embed the code in WordPress, so here is the URL for one of my Shows: http://show.zoho.com/public/barrydahl/OHara

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Zoho Creator allows you to make a web-based survey and export the data for use in Excel or other applications. Here is an example related to gathering information about tuition rates charged for international students to take e-learning courses from U.S. providers.You can click the other link in the left-panel of the form to view the results.

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I’ve also used Zoho Polls and Zoho Planner, and plan to check out Zoho Chat, Zoho Projects, and Zoho Challenge.

BTW, my enthusiasm for Zoho has nothing to do with being picked as the first Zoho Featured User back in September ’06. Pure coincidence I tell ya, pure coincidence.

One Comment on “Web Office Tools”

  1. Jasu Says:

    Zoho is a very interesting collection of applications, many of which will most likely be embraced by i.e. entrepreneurs.

    Zoho was also a part of my list when writing about the internet chaos management tools, that I most sincerely recommend to everybody. Post available here: http://glostra.fi/blog/Chaos-management-web-tools-219.html

    Cool, cheers!


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