Originally published at: https://www.onlyoffice.com/blog/2023/03/what-is-office-suite/
Everybody is familiar with the name “office suite”, however, with a lot of apps falling into this umbrella term, it is hard to say what exactly constitutes one. Let’s discover what makes an app an office suite and how to choose the best one for your tasks.
Office suite: a definition
Office suite software is a bundle of productivity programs that are commonly used for work tasks in an office setting, study, creative process, and other purposes. Office suite lets you create, manage, and share documents, communicate with your team, and organize your productivity.
At work, people use office suites to create and share all kinds of business documents, build creative content, manage and calculate data, handle legal processes, and organize all aspects of communication and collaboration within and outside of the organization.
In education and research, office suites help people write papers, create and run presentations, complete and review assignments, work with research data, and practice a variety of subjects.
Even at home, such a software also finds a niche. For instance, you can organize household finance, create shopping lists, take care of important personal documents, design slide shows with family pictures, or even write your own e-books.
What are the most popular office suites?
ONLYOFFICE Docs is an open-source collaborative office suite that combines editors for documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and forms. It has maximum compatibility with MS Office files, and offers all the professional editing and collaboration features you may need for work, study, research, or personal needs.
ONLYOFFICE Docs can be used in the cloud or deployed on-premises, and integrated into any sharing platform. If you want to add in mail, project management, document organization, CRM, and other tools, you can opt for full-stack collaborative office called ONLYOFFICE Workspace. Additional desktop and mobile apps are at your disposal to work from anywhere you want, online and offline.
Both free solutions for small teams and business-grade editions with scalability, professional support, and customization features are available.
Google Workspce, formerly G-Suite, is an online office by Google that includes collaborative office applications working together within an ecosystem of productivity tools.Image source: Software Advice
It incorporates apps like Gmail for email communication, Google Drive for file storage and sharing, and Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides for creating and editing documents, spreadsheets, and presentations with multiple collaboration tools to choose from.
Google Workspace is cloud-based and offers both free solutions for individual and team collaboration and paid plans.
The ecosystem of Microsoft office apps is a popular software that provides programs for document editing and collaboration, file storage, mail, project management, and other tasks. Two editions of an office suite are designed for different styles of work.Image source: Lifewire
Desktop application called Office offers broader functionality and includes all professional tools you may need for editing your files. however, it is not convenient for daily real-time collaboration. Office is offered as a one-time purchase under a paid plan.
Office Online, which is also a part of cloud-based Microsoft 365, has limited functionality but is designed for collaboration in the cloud. You can use it for free with your Microsoft account. If you need other collaboration and productivity apps for your business, you can choose paid Microsoft 365 business solution.
LibreOffice is a free and open-source office suite that includes a set of apps: Writer, for text documents, Impress, for presentation editing, Calc, for spreadsheets, and Draw for diagrams and flowcharts.Image source: LibreOffice
Being free and open-source is an advantage of LibreOffice that makes it a go-to choice for many individuals and organizations. Its core formats are OpenDocument, which guarantees the best possible support for ODT, ODP, and ODS, and Microsoft formats are also supported.
LibreOffice doesn’t have collaborative features and works strictly offline and from the desktop interface. If you need collaborative work, you can go for an online suite based on LibreOffice called Collabora.
Zoho Docs is a collaborative online office suite for working with text documents (Writer), spreadsheets (Sheet), presentations (Show), and notes (Notebook). It integrates with other Zoho apps such as Zoho CRM and Zoho Projects within a unified platform for collaboration and productivity.Image Source: Zoho
Zoho Docs provides both free and paid options, making it accessible to individuals and businesses of all sizes. The free plan provides basic features for personal use, while the paid plans offer more advanced features and additional storage for businesses with larger needs.
Which software does an office suite include?
Office suites typically combine multiple apps or components that work together and help a person or a team create and handle information with ease and effectiveness. Fairly often, their functionality is not event limited by document editing.
It is the most used office application that lets you create text files in various formats, apply formatting and layouts, and add graphic objects to the texts.
Document editor in ONLYOFICE Docs:
Spreadsheet editor is a program that lets you organize and view electronic data in scalable grid-like format, perform calculations, sort and filter information, build charts, and automate tasks using formulas and functions.
Spreadsheet editor in ONLYOFFICE Docs:
Presentation editor is a software for creating slides to present visual and text information to an audience and run slide shows using presenter tools and different effects.
Presentation editor in ONLYOFFICE Docs:
Digital form software
Some suites include a tool for creating forms and templates using configurable fields and providing tools for comfortable and secure filling of these documents.
Form creator in ONLYOFFICE Docs:
PDF viewer is a software for viewing and interacting with PDF (Portable Document Format) files designed for comfortable viewing of digital media and equipped with tools for annotating, reviewing, filling, and digital signing.
Document management system (DMS) is a place for storing, managing, and sharing the files online.
Software for working with mail provides an interface for creating and aggregating electronic mailboxes, receiving, sending, and managing emails and contacts.
Online calendar is planning tool with personal and group calendars to schedule and view events, meetings, and deadlines.
Other instruments in the office suite may include tools for task management, CRM, social features, instant messaging, videoconferencing, and many more.
How to choose an office suite?
Depending on tasks, collaboration needs, typical work setting, and budget, everyone can find an optimal office suite. Here are the essential factors to bear in mind when doing your research:
You must clearly understand what apps and features you need for your work. First, decide if you need productivity and communication apps in a combo with your document editing features.
What files types do you work with the most and what content do you typically use within those files? Format compatibility is what affects the final decision for most of the users.
Before choosing a software with collaborative features, you must understand what team size it needs to accommodate and what collaboration and communication features your team needs.
Online and desktop access
Some office suites are offered online with access through the browser, and some exist as desktop applications. Apps like ONLYOFFICE Docs are available in both formats.
If you travel/commute a lot and sometimes need to urgently catch up with your tasks, a solution must also include mobile apps connectable to your cloud.
Are there other apps you are using that you would like to integrate with your office suite? Some offer opportunities to connect third-party storage, export data to CRM, send documents with a custom mail client, and other options.
License and budget
There are free apps for individual or team work, and business plans for companies and users with higher security requirements, tech support, and bigger storage size. Paid apps may be offered with a subscription or a one-time purchase.
Do not forget that most open-source apps are offered for free and provide features well suited for business needs.
Office suites are our everyday tools, whether at work or at home. With so many ways to use one, there are many types of existing office applications that help you do all kinds of daily tasks not limited by document editing and collaboration.
We hope this basic guide helped you understand what an office suite is and now you will make no mistake choosing the one that fits you best.