Lots of new toys, caps lock still stuck on: ONLYOFFICE hits version 7

LibreOffice alternative unfurls latest productivity software update


Another contender in the productivity stakes, ONLYOFFICE Docs, has hit version 7, introducing fillable forms as well as multiple tweaks for its web and desktop applications.

ONLYOFFICE is yet another option for users seeking an alternative to the tech giants, and currently comes in a self-hosted or desktop guise. A cloud version will, according to the team, "be available a bit later."

The first major release of 2022, version 7 is a handy update. While the word processor, spreadsheet, and presentation modules have useful modifications, most eye-catching is the ability to create fillable forms online.

The forms can be created from scratch or built from DOCX documents and are compatible with Microsoft Office content controls and Adobe forms, the team said.

The supported integrations include Confluence and Jira, making adding an "OFORM" (goodness, ONLYOFFICE does like the caps lock key) to an electronic workflow relatively straightforward, although in use we found the form designer a little clunky compared to more expensive rivals.

Other updates include autoformatting of hyperlinks in documents and the support of local files and URLs for mail merge. Spreadsheets can be protected with passwords and transitions have been simplified in the presentation module.

ONLYOFFICE is all about collaboration (unless, like us, you download it locally and run it on the desktop) and talks it up as a selling point against rival LibreOffice.

To that end, comments can be sorted to simplify finding what Bob in accounts is complaining about. There's also a version history feature in the spreadsheet editor and the update allows a user to switch display mode when reviewing changes – either by sticking the changes in a balloon when clicked or in a tooltip when hovered over. The selections of other users can also be seen when collaborating on spreadsheets.

And yes, as seems to be compulsory nowadays, there is a dark mode for the text editor.

We took the latest update for a spin and found it a useful editor (particularly once we'd dissuaded it from opening every document in a tab rather than a window thanks to the new "own window" launch mode option), although it clearly shines more when used in collaborative mode than for solitary local files.

Connecting to a cloud service is also straightforward, with the kDrive and Liferay added to the existing Nextcloud, ownCloud, and Seafile options.

The community version of ONLYOFFICE is free, although the Enterprise edition requires payment. Downloads exist for Windows as well as images for Docker, .deb and .rpm packages. Or, if you should feel so inclined, the source code can be found on GitHub. ®

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