Tip: Zoho Suite is Free for Individuals

Posted on February 15, 2019 by Paul Thurrott in Cloud, Office, Office 365 with 19 Comments

This week, Zoho released major new versions of its Zoho Suite office productivity apps—Zoho Writer, Sheet, Show, and Notebook—and they’re available to individuals for free. This might be the free, high-quality alternative to Microsoft Office or Google Docs that you’ve been looking for.

“We’re delighted to be making huge strides towards our vision of the future of work as a connected system, made possible by the incredible breadth of the Zoho suite and our decade-long focus on developing a powerful office suite on the cloud,” Zoho’s Rakeeb Rafee announced.

Yes, the Zoho suite apps are web apps for Mac or Windows, but don’t be put off by that. They are full-featured and can work offline. So you can optionally use Chrome (or perhaps a Chrome-based web browser) to “install” them on your PC and use them when you don’t have an Internet connection.

Zoho Writer received a major update last year, but this year’s updates to Zoho Sheet, Show, and Notebook bring them up-to-date with that previous work, and each has been upgraded in substantial ways. For example, Zoho Writer includes a complete digital e-signature system, and Zoho Sheet now features a brand-new Custom Function engine. And each app has been improved with Zoho’s AI-based Zia intelligent assistant; Zia is used to provide real-time grammar, writing, style, and readability suggestions, among other things.

The Zoho apps feature a delightfully minimal user interface and they make much better use of the horizontal on-screen real estate that is present on most PC displays than, say, Office or Docs. (Instead of using toolbars or ribbons that eat up precious vertical space, the Zoho apps all use side-mounted command palettes that can be easily shown and hidden.)

There’s a lot more going on there, but you can check out Zoho’s separate posts for Writer, Sheet, Show, and Notebook on the Zoho Blog. The apps are available on the Zoho website, and there are mobile app versions of Zoho Notebook too.

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