With so many free on-line applications being developed, it’s quite useful to review some of the highlights of a number of Office Suites currently available on the Web. Who, among the big or small companies, is currently providing the best examples? Here I describe some of the contenders for outstanding free, on-line collaborative Office tools. In addition, both free on-line and downloadable word-processors, spreadsheet and presentation programs are described. Further, a number of free and very useful audio, media, on-line storage, polling and ping service programs have been collected and are listed for your use. Direct links to all of the programs reviewed are provided.
OFFICE SUITES, WORD PROCESSORS, SPREADSHEETS AND PRESENTATION TOOLS
This office suite is one of my favorites!! ThinkFree is said by many to be the leader in next-generation of productivity solutions for platform independent, anytime, anywhere-computing. ThinkFree usability extends beyond PCs and is perfect for Internet-connected devices, including thin client and mobile computing platforms.
The award-winning ThinkFree Office is a Microsoft Office compatible application suite comprised of word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation graphics software-all usable online at absolutely no cost to you.
ThinkFree Office is automatically installed and upgraded over the Web and features integrated, Internet-based file sharing and storage as well as end-to-end security. Built for cross-platform functionality, ThinkFree Office is compatible with Windows, Macintosh, Unix and Linux systems.
It comes with a gigabyte of free online space and offers word processing, spreadsheets and presentations. ThinkFree takes a bit longer to load, but it has a large number of editing tools. Both the icons and toolbar emulate MS Office. An additional feature, which I especially like, allows you to publish your document (with pictures and links) as a post to your own blog.
The “Web Word Processor.” Edit your documents from anywhere! There’s nothing to download, your browser is all that you need. Store your documents securely online. Offsite storage plus data backup every 10 seconds. Writely is easy to use and provides clean, uncluttered screens with a familiar and comfortable desktop feel.
Open Office is one of the most highly touted free office applications. OpenOffice.org is a multiplatform and multilingual office suite and an open-source project. It is compatible with all other major office suites, the product is free to download, use and distribute to others.
NeoOffice is the Open Office version for MAC OSX. As with Open Office, it is a multiplatform and multilingual office suite and an open-source project. It is compatible with all other major office suites, the product is free to download, use and distribute to others.
A free word processor similar to Microsoft Word. AbiWord is unique among word processors in its drive to become a fully cross-platform word processor. The source code is carefully written so that AbiWord will run on virtually any operating system with a minimum of time spent on porting. This combined with support for internationalization (the ability to run AbiWord in many languages) gives AbiWord a massive potential user-base.
This is another of my favorite free on-line word processors!! You can access, edit and share documents from anywhere. Documents can be created, edited and re-formatted using their WYSIWYG editor; this word processor also provides for collaborative editing of documents, multiple users can work on a document simultaneously
Load your existing documents
With Zoho Writer, you can import Microsoft Word (DOC), Open Office text (ODT & SXW), HTML, RTF, JPG, GIF & PNG files, and generate PDF/DOC/ODT. You can also export documents created in Zoho Writer as PDF, DOC, ODT, SXW, RTF, HTML & text files
Again, one of my favorite features is that with Zoho Writer, you can directly post documents (with images, pictures and links) directly to your blogs (including WordPress, Blogger, TypePad and Live Journal).
Zoho Show allows you to access, import, and edit presentations from anywhere. You can Load your existing presentations, the application can import Microsoft PowerPoint(.ppt, .pps) or OpenOffice Presentation(.sxi).
You can build and edit presentations on-the-fly using WYSIWYG editor. You can use Zoho Show for remote presentations. Zoho Show helps giving remote presentations with complete control for the presenter. The presenter can see the participants in the presentation. It has Flickr integration allowing you to pull publicly shared images from your Flickr account into your presentation.
Zoho Show is ideal for sales persons, business owners, teachers, students, freelancers … and for just anybody else who wants to create presentations online.
Zoho Sheet is an on-line spreadsheet, which allows for: number formatting, sorting and the insertion of comments. With Zoho Sheet, you can import and export Excel files and share sheets with multiple people to view or edit the same spreadsheet.
It supports more than 300 functions. You can create bar/line/pie 2D/3D charts and publish the charts in your websites/blogs.
ajaxWrite is a web-based word processor that can read and write Microsoft Word and other standard document formats. Anytime you need to open, read or write a word processor file, simply point your Firefox browser to http://www.ajaxwrite.com and in seconds a full-featured program will be available for you to open, edit, print and save.
ajaxWrite has been designed to look like Microsoft Word, making it easy for anyone to start using it without needing to learn a new program. ajaxWrite also handles all the popular document formats, so it is easy to share your files and collaborate with your co-workers and friends. Once finished with your document, you can easily save your work right to your hard drive. This keeps you organized and works in the same way that you are already accustomed to.
ajaxWrite works from a Firefox web browser on any operating system and on any device, no matter where you are or what computer you are using. In addition, because the application itself lives on the web, updates are handled automatically so that you don’t have to deal with costly upgrades or being stuck with old versions.
ajaxXLS Viewer is a web-based spreadsheet viewer that allows you to easily open any .xls file within your Firefox browser. Compatibility with Microsoft Excel and OpenOffice allows ajaxXLS to preserve all your common cell formatting categories such as text styles, decimals, currencies, dates, and times as well as formulas, backgrounds and borders from the original documents.
The ajaxXLS web-based editor is still in the early stages of development. With it, you can write, edit and save standard spreadsheet files to your local machine.
With Thumbstacks.com, you can make presentations, like slideshows, or outlines, right in your web browser. When you are done, you can share your presentations with anyone, anywhere, just by sending them a link.
Empressr is the first Ajax/Flash-based web application that lets you create, share and store presentations online. It goes beyond current presentation applications by enabling you to incorporate rich media features, like streaming video and animation, to create and share the most dynamic presentations possible. With Empressr, all you need is a web browser to easily: create rich media presentations, share them with a client or team members, and store/access them at any time from any computer.
Windows Live Writer is a desktop application that makes it easier to compose compelling blog posts using Windows Live Spaces or your current blog service. Blogging has turned the web into a two-way communications medium. The stated goal in creating Writer is to help make blogging more powerful, intuitive, and fun for everyone.Writer has many features which can make for a better blogging experience.
Scribus is an open-source program that brings award-winning professional page layout to Linux/Unix, MacOS X and Windows desktops with a combination of “press-ready” output and new approaches to page layout. Underneath the modern and user friendly interface, Scribus supports professional publishing features, such as CMYK color, separations, ICC color management and versatile PDF creation.
Flock is based on open source Mozilla code. It’s an amazing new web browser that makes it easier to share media and connect to other people online. Share photos, automatically stay up-to-date with new content from your favorite sites, and search the Web with the most advanced Search Toolbar available today.
Minefield 3.0a1 is actually an early-release test version of the future Firefox 3.0. Although some peope are wary of using early-release test versions of software, I’ve never had a single problem with Minefield. In fact, I like it much better than Firefox 2!! Minefield can be downloaded for MAC, Windows and Linux.
Bloggers are remixing videos by several emerging bands, and then posting the mash-ups online at Eyespot to share with the world. What makes this site different from others is that here the art form is legal.
ajaxTunes is a web-based music player that lets you play high-quality streaming music straight from the Internet on any computer. It gives you all the basic controls (pause, fast-forward, rewind, selecting play list or artists) in a mini layout that won’t clog up your desktop.Try ajaxTunes immediately, it has been preloaded with a demo account containing songs from more than 25 artists. You can also create your own locker, add your own music collection and choose from over 40,000 songs to add to your personal play lists.
A step ahead of Flickr!! With Zooomr, photos are no longer just photos, they are emotions, ideas, and stories meant to be shared and explored. Zooomr helps you share them with the world. Here’s how: you can show your favorite photos to the entire world in anyone’s language, actually put your photos on the map, add sound to your photos.
This is my very favorite slideshow creator. Download the program free to create beautiful slideshows on their website, which can then be posted to your own website or blog. Provides a wide variety of slideshow types and sizes, with easy photo headings and audio to accompany your slideshow (if you prefer). Try this one–you’ll love it!