Zoho Writer for the Apple Mac is small in size but big on features

Writer for the Apple Mac is a word processor that works with online documents. It's a tiny app with lots of features.

When you think of office software, Microsoft Word springs to mind, quickly followed by Google Docs. What about Zoho though? Writer is one of many free apps from Zoho and it is just 2MB!

The usual way to access Zoho apps is through a web browser at the Zoho website. There is a large collection of online apps for businesses and many of them can be used for free by anyone, home user or business.

Get a Zoho account

Before Writer can be used you must go to the website. Ignore the large Zoho One advert and click SIGN UP NOW in the top right corner of the home page to create a free account. This provides access to the basic features of many of the online apps and is fine for home users and home based businesses.

After creating an account, go to the Mac App Store and search for 'Zoho'. There are several apps and here I am looking at Writer - Online Word Processor, but the others are also good.

Writer is just a 2MB download and that makes it one of the smallest word processors around. The reason for its small size is that it is probably just a shell and it is really a browser minus the usual browser controls. Basically Writer is just a different way of accessing the Zoho Docs and Zoho Writer online apps that run in a browser.

Work online

To use Writer on the Mac you must have an internet connection because the app works with online documents. The sidebar has New and Open buttons to allow you to create new files or open existing ones.

All files are stored online and free cloud storage is bundled with a free Zoho account. This means you can access your documents on any computer and any operating system just by logging in to the website in a browser.

Work on your Mac

There is no Save button or menu in the Writer app on the Mac and your work is saved online as you type. Pause for a second to think about what you are writing and everything you have typed is saved. This means you can quit without worrying about saving and you won't lose anything if the internet connection is lost either.

Zoho Writer word processor for the Apple Mac

Formatting text is straightforward and after selecting some text, a small panel appears near the cursor containing the usual features, such as bold, italic, font selection and size, colour, bullet and numbered lists, text alignment, and so on. Predefined styles, such as headings can be applied too.

Format the text in Zoho Writer word processor on the Apple Mac

Click the menu button in the top left corner of the Writer window and a panel opens at the side containing many more features. For example, you can apply one of many ready-made designs, which changes the style, colours and formatting.

The side panel has tabs that enable you to insert pictures and tables, references and comments, sections and pages, and more. There are page setup options that include paper size and margins, view options such as document and web views, and more.

Insert pictures and tables in Zoho Writer word processor on the Apple Mac

The range of word processing features provide by Writer will satisfy most people and when you get used to it, it is a great word processor. Working online may seem strange if you are used to working on the Mac, but I haven't run office software on a computer for at least two years and always work online, usually in a browser.

Print and export documents

Writer does not have as many features as Microsoft Word running on the Mac, but you probably would not use all of Word's features anyway. This tiny Writer app is as good a word processor as Google Docs and Pages on the iCloud website.

Finished documents can be printed in the usual way by selecting File, Print. If you need a copy of the document on your Mac, it can be exported to disk. The file formats available are Microsoft Word (.docx), Open Document Text (.odt), Rich Text (.rtf), plain text (.txt), web page (.html) and PDF (.pdf).

Export or print documents in Zoho Writer on the Apple Mac

Writer and other Zoho apps are designed for teams of people, so there are options to track changes, add comments, distribute and share documents. Electronic signatures can be added and documents can be published  within an organisation or published on the web. If you are working solo, you can keep everything to yourself and two-factor authentication maintains security.

Go to Zoho Docs Pricing to see the differences between Free, Standard and Premium accounts. Free accounts can be used by teams of 1 to 25 people and provides 5GB of online storage for your documents. I find it sufficient for my needs and this article, for example, was written using Writer running on the Mac and a free Zoho account.

App: Writer - Online Word Processor
Price: Free
By: Zoho Corporation
Size: 2MB
macOS: 10.8 or later
Verdict: A good word processor that stores documents online

 

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