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The Google SuperDrive (And Some Alternatives to Google Docs)

Filed under Web Tools

All Hail Lord Google

Google Drive is a standard document creating platform for many individuals, startups, small and medium companies – it’s free, pretty easy to use and reliable. I use it every day – even with all the limitations of the various document processing and editing tools that come with it.

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It’s time to move document creation and editing to the cloud once and for all. With online and offline options for most cloud solution companies, the only area you will need to worry about is the organization of your files.

Google officially created the following for Google Drive:

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  • Docs
  • Forms
  • Slides
  • Drawings
  • Spreadsheets

They are rudimentary tools -, no fancy stuff included. If you are looking for advanced tools for word processing and editing, then Google Drive is not for you. But it is a great solution for many kinds of people in their day-to-day document creations and communications. This article will lay out tools that assist in document creation and editing. It offers (where possible) alternatives to Google Docs and ranks them in a good – better – best list 🙂

The Research Stage…

Good:

Send to Google Drive – the drawbacks of this tool are that pictures can occasionally be pixelated and it breaks pages up not at logical points but precisely where the page length ends. Good if you need to quickly save a page into your Drive and have it available in Drive’s offline version.

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Better:

Use the Pocket Chrome extension or the Instapaper app, and store the page for later in its original form.

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Best:

Save to Google Drive – Before jumping in, make sure to go into settings and choose what folder you want things to go to, and if you want it to be a document, image or HTML. It is set on .png files by default. Saving as a google doc does not always work (weird formatting issues!) but if you are in need of saving something where you can directly get to the images, text and so on, this works well.

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The Writing Stage…

Good:

Live Documents is really sexy-looking, but it does not have an autosave feature. To begin, you are forced to choose a document title, describe it and tag it – not for those who want to quickly get going, but good for making you stay organized. When you begin, there is a choice of spreadsheet, document or presentation – more than Zoho Docs. Those you want to collaborate with need to set up an account as well. When you have shared the document with another, they have to keep refreshing the screen to see the latest edits. I like my real-time editing and auto-saving. This is a choice of design vs. function. Go Live Documents if you work alone and want a beautiful interface.

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Better:

Zoho Docs allows you a lot more features for your word processing than Google Docs does. It is similar to MS Word but on the cloud. There is a Google Drive plugin so at least you can access the list of saved docs there, and log in via your Google account. There is autosave (woo!) which is why it beats Live Documents. But in order to group edit, the people you want to share the document with have to have a Zoho account.

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Best:

Google Docs, Forms and Slides. It’s just so easy to start and group-share, control who can view and edit the document link, and you can be rest assured that all your work is saved for you. Despite not being as pretty as Live Documents or Zoho, nor having as many extra bits of word processing fancy stuff, the practicality of Google Docs wins for me. The live editing is simply fantastic.

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The Image-Adding Stage…

Good:

Pixlr has a Drive app, but it’s one of those fake apps (i.e. takes you to their own website). Nevertheless, it is fast and easy to get going, requiring no login – just get started. Pixlr is for those used to advanced image editing, the detail nitpickers. I don’t really have time for that, which is why it is demoted to third place.

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Better:

Picasa is a Google product, and with that comes the benefit of being able to sync your Google accounts. However unlike with the control over document sharing, I feel a little out of control with Picasa. If I hit the wrong button, will they all go live on my G+ account? Privacy aside, Picasa offers a lot of nifty pre-set effects with the added bonus of seeing a preview of all of the on the left.

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Best:

PicMonkey feels great to use. It’s a free online photo editor, and choosing a single picture to manipulate at a time feels somewhat more secure to me. This is why I voted it up over Picasa. To access all the features of PicMonkey you are required to pay – but who minds paying for a good service? There is a good number of free effects nonetheless.

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Handy Things for After You Have Made a Fabulous Document…

Sign:

The nifty DocuSign works well with Google Docs to get your papers signed and saved and safe. HelloSign is also an option.

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Fax:

Many businesses still need the trusty fax machine – and if you don’t use fax, HelloFax can solve this for you. It is also an add-on with Google Docs so no worries.

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…and a last minute tip: use YesWare to check that people on the other end are opening your emails 🙂

What are your favourite alternatives to Google Drive?

Guest Author: Denis Duvauchelle

Denis Duvauchelle is the CEO & co-founder of Twoodo, the ultimate online collaboration tool. A serial entrepreneur and GTD advocate, Denis and the Twoodo team have been building a solution for team collaboration that eliminates internal email and organizes your information all from one single box.

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