Best cloud office suite of 2019

The world has become mobile. No longer are we expected to work only from clumsy desktops – now we can work from wherever we are, using cell phones, tablets, and other mobile devices.

Software has developed with the hardware. Mobile apps have given rise to a profusion of services run from the cloud. These are simple and easy to download, install, and update. 

The user has become empowered with the ability to work wherever they are, wherever they like, and this is made all the more clear by the range of office software available that now runs from the cloud.

Whether it's for home or business use, you can now create, edit, even collaborate, on documents, spreadsheets, and presentations, on the go if needed. Even better, not only are the documents you work on saved in the cloud, as a safe backup option, but older versions of the same documents are also commonly saved, making it easier to recover previous notes as required.

Here we list some of the biggest and best, and most powerful, cloud office suites that are currently available. There are familiar names listed, such as Microsoft and Apple, as you would expect, but also other feature-rich products that are also worth considering as you move to working in the cloud.

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Microsoft Office 365

Image Credit: Microsoft

Microsoft Office 365 is a line of subscription services offered by Microsoft. It was launched in 2011.

It is comprised of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and OneDrive amongst others.

Subscribers receive 1TB of storage through OneDrive. Users can share files with others. You can control who edits each file and how long they have access to it.  

OneDrive includes multi-party video sharing, content sharing, shared calendars and team chat.

Subscribers also have access to Word, Excel and Powerpoint. Users do not need to download these applications. They are readily accessible online through a subscription.

Microsoft Office for Home is priced at $9.99 per month and includes up to five computers.

‘Office 365 Business’ is $10 per month per user. The ‘Premium’ tier is $15 per month and includes Exchange, SharePoint, Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams.

G Suite

Image Credit: Google

G Suite is a brand of cloud computing, productivity and collaboration tools developed by Google. It was first launched in 2006.

The software is made up of Docs, Sheets and Slides as part of Google’s cloud office suite. It also includes Gmail, calendar and hangouts.

Users can upload their own documents, spreadsheets and presentations for customizing their own office templates.  

Users can create documents in your browser with Google Docs. It allows multiple users to work at the same time. Users can view other users edits as they type. You can also communicate through built-in chat and insert comments. Users can export in most formats such as .docx, .pdf, .odt, .rtf, .html and .txt. All changes are saved. Previous versions of your documents are kept indefinitely at no extra cost.

Google Sheets enables users to view their spreadsheets through charts and pivot tables. Users can work on Sheets even when they are offline. Sheets is compatible with other formats such as Microsoft Excel.

Users can work and collaborate on presentations with multiple users using Slides. Admins get to control who can edit, view or add comments. There are multiple presentations to choose form or users can create their own presentations from scratch.

The ‘Basic’ package is $5 per user per month and includes 30GB of storage.  

The ‘Business’ package is $10 per month per user and comes with unlimited storage and archiving.

The ‘Enterprise’ plan is $25 per month per user and offers advanced controls and capabilities.  

Online users have complained that the functionality of Sheets and Docs is not as broad as online versions of Word and Excel.

Image Credit: Zoho

Zoho Workplace is an online suite of office tools, with a large variety of different applications for different and specific tasks. Like Microsoft Office, many of these can also run individually as standalone apps on a mobile device.

Workplace provides the core office suite you'd expect, with Writer, Sheet, and Show, respectively covering documents, spreadsheets and presentations.

There is also a set of specific collaboration tools, not least for documents, as well as training and conferencing options for text, voice, or video.

On top of that there are also tools for email, communications, and project management through Zoho Mail, Cliq, and Connect.

If that wasn't enough, there are also individual apps available for each of these tools through the Apple AppStore and Google Play store.

The best news of all is that Zoho Workplace is free to use for up to 5 users, with 5GB of storage space available for each user. 

Paid-for plans are available for larger teams. The Standard plan costs $3 per user per month, when prepaid for a year, which offers 30GB of space. 

The Professional plans adds more space and more advanced tools from $6 per month when paid for annually. 

Image Credit: OnlyOffice

OnlyOffice is an open source office suite developed by Ascensio Systems SIA who are based in Riga, Latvia. It is available in over 22 languages and boasts Oracle as one of their leading clients.

The free tier, known as the 'Community Edition' is most suited for small business and allows up to 20 connections at once. This suite does not just offer the usual features such as word processing or spreadsheets but is very useful for order fulfilment and for documenting sales.

The handy calendar feature allows users to keep up to date with personal and work-related tasks as well as keeping an eye on deadlines. Third party integration is also supported. You can create your own Mailboxes with the 'Mail' tool.

As with other office suites you can create and edit documents, spreadsheets and presentations. Users can collaborate on projects and make comments in files where necessary.

Users have reported that support can be hard to find and that the online chat forum community that is used to provide help can be tricky to navigate.

Image Credit: Apple

iWork is Apple's own office suite. It consists of Pages, Keynote and Numbers. The suite is eclusive to macOS but there are versions on the cloud that can be enjoyed by users of other platforms.

There are three separate apps, each for word processing, preparing presentations and for creating spreadsheets. Numbers, Apple's spreadsheet software, shows a blank canvas on launch, rather than a daunting grid view. It’s very easy to add images, tables and charts as you go. 

The word processor, Pages, is very simple and is perfect for straight forward documents. It is not inundated with layers of options that exist within MS Word. Pages also allows users to collaborate on their work and has now added a feature that supports EPUB which can be created and shared to iBooks. 

The presentation app, Keynote, has been referred to as the better alternative to PowerPoint by online users as it is straight forward and easy to use. It creates beautiful presentations without the hassle that can be associated with PowerPoint.

MS Office may not be able to open iWork created documents but all iWork applications can export formats that are compatible with other suites.

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