Cloud-Based Office Apps for Writers and Other Maniacs

If you have a memory that functions better than that of a fruit fly, you’ll recall that on Tuesday I published a piece on why moving your operation to The Cloud just makes fucking sense in 2016.  I’m not going to leave you hanging there, though.  I went out to the web to figure out what options you had for Cloud-based office applications so this blog would be like… useful and shit.  Anyway.  That’s what I’ve been doing since Tuesday.

There are a ton of specialized Cloud-based spaces today, you can get anything you want from blank canvas hosting to point of sale software and project management tools out there in the wild.  There are also a ton of outdated links to tools that no longer exist (I realize the future irony of that statement, so shut your face).  In light of all of that, I thought I’d just make it a lot easier and bring all the information I found together into one space, tell you about my experiences and what I’ve heard and let you make your own decisions.  How’s that sound?

Enter the World of Cloud-Based Apps for Writers

In my hunt for the better Cloud-based office suites, I found four that I consider to be major contenders in the market as of right now.  Right now.  Remember, these things change constantly, new stuff comes in, old stuff shrivels up and dies like so many raisins in the sun.  Staying power is actually a major consideration for me, since I feel that The Cloud should host my data forever so I don’t have to bother to move it again.  That means really my choices are really limited to two, but I’m still going to present all four for you.  Ok?  Ok.  So here they are.

Zoho Office Apps.  If you read anything about Cloud-based word processing, it’s going to include the Zoho suite because, frankly, the writer’s desperate to get away from MS and Google.  The truth is that the Office section of Zoho is bundled UNDER the Mail program, which, to me, says that it’s basically an afterthought.  Zoho is really a productivity and project management tool, it’s not a fucking word processor.  I mean, it can get the job done, but unless you primarily want it for the other stuff it can do, I’d steer clear.  Forget this thing ever existed.

Polaris Office.  Admittedly, I’ve not downloaded Polaris Office, but from the tellings, the sayin’s on the web, this is actually a really awesome suite that’s super affordable.  If you can’t quite spring for Office, but you’re no fan of the Googler, Polaris can do everything MS wants to do and is free to get started.  Functionality and storage improves as your contribution improves, of course, but that’s the way life is, idn’t?  The one thing to note is that Polaris, like MS, will require some local storage.  So if you’re working with a device with limited disk space it might not work out for you.

Microsoft Office 365.  By now you’ve probably heard of a small company in Seattle called Microsoft.  They made an office suite, aptly called Office.  When it went to The Cloud, they called it Office 365.  We used to bitch about how much it cost, but now we can subscribe to it on a monthly basis for like $7.  It’s really quite cheap and you can save stuff in their Cloud space and all of that.  It works with all your mobile devices, it’s a Microsoft product so you don’t have to worry if your documents will be compatible with users of Microsoft Office (which is a rare complication of using any of the non-MS products).  Lots of bonuses.  Downside is that it’s still Microsoft, so there’s that.  They do at least now offer a free version (thank you, Nancy Allen, for that correction.)  Here’s the link.

Google Drive.  I saved the best for last.  Or, I saved the one I use for last, at least.  I love Google Drive… for a number of reasons.  First, I can export to just about any format, with reasonably few problems.  Second, it’s free unless I want to pay for extra storage (which I do, to the tune of a whopping $1.99 a month).  Thirdly, even though it’s still a pretty basic word processor, it can do a bunch of stuff — so it’s kind of a split between the graphically heavy, overly functional MS Word and the more basic WPs available elsewhere.  I can do a resume on this thing as well as write a document.  I don’t need another thing.  I can do all the things here.  So, it’s my go to.  It’s also compatible with my Chromebook, which I use for writing quite often.  *shrug*  I like it.  I’d actually pay for it.

As of right now, these are your options.  I’ve heard that LibreOffice is working on going to The Cloud, so if you’re a fan, you may want to watch for updates about that.  I don’t know more, I could sort of take it or leave it.  Whatever, yo.

Get thyself some Cloud computing.  It’ll change the way your life works forever.  FOREVER.