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changes don’t come often. Today, we are launching a new major version of our word processor – Zoho Writer 2.0 – with a fresh and elegant user interface & significant improvements. This important upgrade comes with hundreds of improvements, mostly on the user interface.

While there are many changes in the interface, the core frame remains the same with document listing on the left, editor on the right, the ability to open multiple documents as tabs etc. But then, every part of the interface is now enhanced.

Note: When you open the new version, we highly recommend you to do a SHIFT+Refresh to make sure the app works well.

The new ‘MenuTab Interface

In our previous version, Zoho Writer’s core functionality was available as links and buttons in three rows. As our features grew over the past three years, the number of buttons increased which made it difficult in finding the right button.

We completely redid the toolbar and introduced a new interface which we call as ‘MenuTab‘ interface. At the high level, this MenuTab interface categorizes the features as
tabs based on functionality. You’ll notice tabs for ‘Format’, ‘Insert’, ‘Review’ etc. But the key here is the ability to use these tabs as Menus. If you are used to using Menu’s in traditional software, you’ll feel right at home. If you are used to using Tabbed interface you find
in many web applications, again, you’ll feel very comfortable.

This MenuTab interface also allows us enough space to explicitly mention what each button does – both under the tab as well as under Menus. This was not the case in our previous design where you had to rely on tool tips.

You’ll also notice that the commonly used features like Save, Undo/Redo, Cut/Copy/Paste etc are grouped together beside the MenuTabs so that you have access to these always.

Moving forward, we plan to standardize on this MenuTab interface for other productivity apps from Zoho. Additional details on MenuTab are available here.

Sidebar Enhancements

The sidebar for Zoho Writer was also improved significantly. You’ll notice that this new sidebar will now be consistent with the sidebar of Zoho Sheet. The new sidebar has features to multi-select documents and perform actions. The icons beside the document name shows if the document is shared or public. We also included Search in the side bar and enhanced the overall functionality.

There were several other enhancements to the application in Header/Footers, Page Views, Collaborative Editing (available at bottom right corner), inclusion of Word and Character count in status bar, improved page layout etc. I could go on, but I’ll let you discover the goodies in the new version.

If you use our offline version, the interface will now be consistent with this new version.

Here is a screenshot tour of Writer 2.0

Changes to Zoho Writer also mean that these changes will be reflected
to all applications using Zoho Writer. These include internal Zoho Applications like Zoho Notebook, Zoho Business or external partner applications. If you integrated Zoho Writer using the API, you’ll have access to this new version with no changes at your end.

All the documents you create in Zoho Writer will also available in Zoho Docs as well, if you prefer managing all your documents in folders.

There were three goals that were considered when we designed this user interface.

  1. We want to make the user more productive
  2. We want to make the user interface consistent with other Zoho applications and
  3. We want to refine the application with attention to the detail.

We believe we achieved all of these in this version. But then, as we all know, there is always room for improvement. We’d love to hear your feedback on this important update.

Update:
We wrapped up the call discussing about the release.

The slides for today’s call are available here.
Audio recording can be downloaded from this page.

  1. coupons

    Nothing will overcome this…very nice!

  2. coupons

    Nothing will overcome this…very nice!

  3. techGuide1

    there is no doubt that today Zoho is the best webbased office application loaded with all modern features.

  4. techGuide1

    there is no doubt that today Zoho is the best webbased office application loaded with all modern features.

  5. Technology Blog

    This program will definitely beat Google Docs.

  6. Technology Blog

    This program will definitely beat Google Docs.

  7. Ola Sandström

    I think you have a winner here.
    Only proposal is to have one menu where I can gather all kinds of buttons – like today – called in a Quick menu. The others are more drill down menues.

  8. Ola Sandström

    I think you have a winner here.
    Only proposal is to have one menu where I can gather all kinds of buttons – like today – called in a Quick menu. The others are more drill down menues.

  9. Ahmed

    @philipsim : The remote editor that we provide as part of Writer APIs has undergone a makeover and is sporting a look and feel, similar to the one that we have for our online writer 2.0 editor.@Itto : We will provide a couple of options in the MenuTab itself for changing language direction (RTL/LTR). It will be made available in our next update.Thanks,
    Ahmed
    http://writer.zoho.com

  10. Ahmed

    @philipsim : The remote editor that we provide as part of Writer APIs has undergone a makeover and is sporting a look and feel, similar to the one that we have for our online writer 2.0 editor.@Itto : We will provide a couple of options in the MenuTab itself for changing language direction (RTL/LTR). It will be made available in our next update.Thanks,
    Ahmed
    http://writer.zoho.com

  11. Itto

    The RTL support is not as it should be.You should address that. Make it just like Word – 2 Direction buttons.

  12. Itto

    The RTL support is not as it should be.You should address that. Make it just like Word – 2 Direction buttons.

  13. philipsim

    Will these changes carry over to the remote API version, and if so what is the timing on that?

  14. philipsim

    Will these changes carry over to the remote API version, and if so what is the timing on that?

  15. rahulk

    Love the change, looks very fresh and clean. I’ve spread the word to my friends – some are slowly converting 🙂 Still waiting for search in Notebooks though

  16. rahulk

    Love the change, looks very fresh and clean. I’ve spread the word to my friends – some are slowly converting 🙂 Still waiting for search in Notebooks though

  17. Ahmed

    josephlpw,We have removed the insert layer feature with this update. The reason being, it tends to mess up certain complex documents by not maintaining its position where it has been inserted.As a work-around you can use “Insert Table” option without borders.Thanks,
    Ahmed

  18. Ahmed

    josephlpw,We have removed the insert layer feature with this update. The reason being, it tends to mess up certain complex documents by not maintaining its position where it has been inserted.As a work-around you can use “Insert Table” option without borders.Thanks,
    Ahmed

  19. Sankar

    Cool ! Awesome Zoho !!

  20. Sankar

    Cool ! Awesome Zoho !!

  21. josephlpw

    What happen to the text layer options? I can’t find it on the new look…Its the icon found left to the spell check button at the old interface.Pls assist.
    Thanks!

  22. josephlpw

    What happen to the text layer options? I can’t find it on the new look…Its the icon found left to the spell check button at the old interface.Pls assist.
    Thanks!

  23. Adil

    Good work guys, keep it up.

  24. Adil

    Good work guys, keep it up.

  25. johannesdg

    this looks very promising. will check this out!

  26. johannesdg

    this looks very promising. will check this out!

  27. Career Seeking Today

    We love it! Will mention it on Career Seeking Today shortly…

  28. Career Seeking Today

    We love it! Will mention it on Career Seeking Today shortly…

  29. businessethos

    Very nice indeed!!

  30. businessethos

    Very nice indeed!!

  31. Jordan

    Wow, impressive! I was using Google Documents for the longest time but I’ll be switching to Zoho.

  32. Jordan

    Wow, impressive! I was using Google Documents for the longest time but I’ll be switching to Zoho.

  33. egunluk

    I am write about this on my blog. Thanks.

  34. egunluk

    I am write about this on my blog. Thanks.

  35. Roger Borges

    Ok I found the information; Zoho Writer imports html, doc, docx, sxw (Open Office), odt, rtf, jpg, gif, png and text files, with a 10 MB maximum file size.

  36. Roger Borges

    Ok I found the information; Zoho Writer imports html, doc, docx, sxw (Open Office), odt, rtf, jpg, gif, png and text files, with a 10 MB maximum file size.

  37. Roger Borges

    In which languages will Zoho Writer be available?

  38. Roger Borges

    In which languages will Zoho Writer be available?

  39. morispolanco

    Wow! This really looks beautiful. Nothing to envy to an offline processor. Thanks.Moris

  40. morispolanco

    Wow! This really looks beautiful. Nothing to envy to an offline processor. Thanks.Moris

  41. Roger Borges

    Can it import .docx ?

  42. Roger Borges

    Can it import .docx ?

  43. jciesielski

    Looks wonderful! Can’t wait to use it!

  44. jciesielski

    Looks wonderful! Can’t wait to use it!