Introducing First Draft App for Zoho Show – Presentations On the Go.

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Let’s say you are away from your office attending a client meeting in NY. You have a critical presentation to create and deliver at your office in CA , the next day. With a tight deadline and a busy tour schedule, the airport lounge suddenly becomes your ideation hub (minus, of course, the resources and luxury at hand in an office). As  first-cut ideas start evolving, you realize you need something more than your mind to structure and save presentation slide concepts for further reference.

Luckily, you are carrying a laptop. You think you are saved until you realize that it is indeed frustrating to open, boot and use your clumsy laptop to write something every time an idea pops up! Certainly not the kind of situation you wish to be in (especially with an important presentation lined up).

What could help you, though, is a tool as efficient as a pocket book, something you could carry around and use effortlessly to type your ideas, wherever you are. How about a presentation tool that fits in your pocket?

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Import Google Docs into Zoho’s Productivity Suite

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Last year we’d integrated Google Docs with our popular business apps Zoho CRM, Projects etc., Our users loved this new initiative and came up with some excellent suggestions on further enhancements. The most popular requests was to provide an option to import their documents from Google docs into our productivity apps.

We’re happy to announce that you can now import your documents, excel sheets, presentations from Google Docs into Zoho Writer, Sheet, Show.

Zoho Sheet has been supporting spreadsheets with 1 million cells for quite sometime now. So if your spreadsheet at Google docs is that big you can import it into Zoho Sheet and get on with editing it.

Here is the comparison view of a sample 2 MB spreadsheet in Google Docs and Zoho Sheet:



If you’re a Google user and would like to try out Zoho, you can sign in with your Google Credentials and import your existing Google documents.

As always we value your feedback and if you’ve any questions please post it here. We’re all ears!

Zoho Apps on Chrome Web Store

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For users looking to use Zoho Apps on Chrome OS, we started adding our apps to Chrome Web Store. For now, three Zoho Apps are listed in Chrome Web Store – Zoho Writer, Sheet & Show

Once  you install the apps, you will see them listed under the Apps section with our new product icons.

We plan to include all Zoho Apps in Chrome Web Store. What are the apps you want to see immediately?

The Next Phase in the Evolution of Office Suites

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This week, Microsoft is launching the latest version of its Office suite. These 3 year release cycles seem alien to us given that our apps are typically updated at least once a month. In case you are considering upgrading to Office 2010, you might want to give online alternatives a try. Our friends at Google listed several reasons not to upgrade to Office 2010 .

As Microsoft evolves its Office suite and moves online (finally), we see a new phase in the evolution of Office suites – Componentization. For the past five years, we have seen Office suites evolve from desktop application suites to online application suites, and Zoho has been at the forefront of this transformation. Now, we are leading the way again in taking the office suites to the next phase of its evolution.

Desktop to Portable Music Players

An analogy best makes this point. Not so long ago, we saw the evolution of music players from desktop models to portable models. We see these music players now becoming components of our mobile phones and several other devices. I’d compare MS Office to that old desktop music player. Web Apps like Zoho and Google add portability plus a lot more which can be compared to portable music players. The next step: Office apps becoming components within other apps.

Office suites traditionally have been standalone applications that are independent from other business applications. While there is clearly value in this, we think their usage and their impact on users’ productivity will be significantly higher when they are contextually integrated within other business applications and workflow.

Avoiding Context Switch

For example, if you are working on a project and want to create/edit documents related to the project, you currently have to quit the ‘Project Context’ and move to the ‘Office Context’ to create/edit documents. This context switching is expensive. When an Office suite is contextually integrated into a project management application, you’ll be able to work on your documents within your project management system without leaving the ‘Project Context’. This significantly improves productivity, especially when you consider numerous times we context switch every day. For something like this to happen, Office Apps can no longer be standalone as they are today. They have to be componentized and have to be part of user’s workflow.

We previously talked about contextual integration and avoiding context switch. This componentization of Office apps enables such contextual integration. In fact, a report from Forrester (subscription required) lists ‘tools not integrated into processes’ as the biggest challenge for MS Office – pointing to the lack of contextual integration in MS Office.

Interesting thing is, most of the challenges mentioned above are addressed by online apps. Even the componentization I have been talking about is an inherent benefit of online apps.

Contextual Integration of Office Apps

We not only preach this concept, but we are integrating our Office apps into our own business apps (check out Projects integration, CRM integration, Recruit integration, etc). We opened the same APIs we use internally to our partners, allowing them to integrate our powerful Office applications within their apps, and many partners did take advantage of these APIs.

Let me illustrate this concept of componentization and contextual integration of Office apps with the work of one of our partners – CentralDesktop. Our friends at CentralDesktop did a tight integration of our spreadsheet application into their collaboration app, contextually providing a spreadsheet app, offering a seamless experience to the user.

In the CentralDesktop screenshot above, the spreadsheet section is served by Zoho, but the data is coming from CentralDesktop’s servers. Multiple users can collaborate on a spreadsheet within CentralDesktop’s collaboration application, and when they save the spreadsheet, it is saved back to CentralDesktop’s servers (and not Zoho’s servers). In fact, users need not even have a Zoho account to do all of this. This is a great example of how a partner can contextually integrate our productivity apps, making them part of the workflow. We have several other partners integrate our apps in interesting ways.

At Zoho, we believe this approach will deliver productivity gains and the path Office apps will follow. Our team has been at work for months now componentizing our Office apps and making them easy to integrate. As Microsoft begins its journey into the online office space, we pave the way to the next phase of Office apps evolution.

Raju

Zoho Show: Slide Transitions, Animation, Support for Google Chrome and other improvements in Zoho Show

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Transitions and animations have been one of the most requested features for our online presentations product, Zoho Show. We’re happy to release them today. We’ve added 30 slide transitions and 5 in-slide animations that you can add to your Zoho Show presentation. And just in case you are wondering, when you import a Powerpoint presentation that has transitions, we do import those with it. Same thing when you export a presentation. You will find the transitions & animations menu on the right-hand side in the Zoho Show UI (next to where the Shapes and Themes are, see below).

More than just writing about them, I thought it’d be more appropriate to embed a small Zoho Show presentation where you can see them in action. Transitions and animations (all 30 of them) work whether you’re in Slideshow mode or whether you embedded the presentation in a web page.

Since we are talking about embedding a presentation, you might want to check out our embedding options. We’ve re-designed the entire process to not only add more options, but also make it super easy for you to embed the presentation in your site and have it look just like you wanted. Now, when you go to Publish->Embed, you’ll notice there is an “Advanced Options” link. Here you can easily control -no HTML tweaking needed- the size of your embedded presentation, whether you want controls on it, and several other options.

That’s not all. We also just released support for Google Chrome in Zoho Show. Previously, you were only able to view presentation when using Chrome. Now, you can also edit them. We are a big fan of Chrome’s stability, speed and what it means for online applications like ours. So this was of course a natural step for us.

Rodrigo

Zoho Recruit Integrates With Zoho Writer, Sheet, Show and Viewer

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No more file downloads to view and edit the documents in Zoho Recruit. Viewing and editing the documents has now been made easy in Zoho Recruit. Its integration with Zoho Writer, Zoho Sheet, Zoho Show and Zoho Viewer gives you an option to View and Edit the attachments and save them directly to Zoho Recruit. Thus it helps you save time in viewing and editing the documents.

Zoho Recruit identifies the file format and opens in appropriate Zoho Application. You still have the option to download the file if you need a copy of it.


Stay tuned for more features from Zoho Recruit!

Zoho API integration in FilesAnywhere

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FilesAnywhere is a secure online file storage service. For documents, spreadsheets and presentation files, FilesAnywhere makes it easy for its users to edit and save files, directly online. Right clicking on a file brings the below menu.


Choosing Service Plugins -> ZOHO Editor opens the file (document, spreadsheet or presentation) in a new tab.

You can edit the file and save it back to your FilesAnywhere account. Give FilesAnywhere a try.

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