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.
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.
- We want to make the user more productive
- We want to make the user interface consistent with other Zoho applications and
- 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.
We wrapped up the call discussing about the release.