On an average day, I can be found at any of a number of different computers. I use computers at work, at home, at computer labs, and in a variety of different locations. With the advent of online word processors, Google Docs and others, that’s becoming easier and easier to do.
I used Google Docs for a long time to manage my online writing, but it’s no longer the way to go. The new winner, in my book, is Adobe Buzzword. Buzzword is a pretty, simple, useful application that makes writing feel exactly as it would on my desktop.
The biggest draw to Buzzword is simply how attractive and elegant the interface is. It’s a gorgeous, well-put together site that’s just fun to use. After 30 seconds with the application, you’ll see what I’m talking about.
But on to the features. Buzzword lets you do all the basic things you’d need in editing your documents – bold, italics, underline, different fonts and colors, tables and bullets, spacing options and the like. Formatting the document exactly the way you want is easy, including adding images, links and checkboxes within your documents.
As you edit a document, Buzzword keeps a running tally of your words, of changes you make (for easy reverting and tracking later), as well as showing you page breaks – a feature I missed in Google Docs. You can zoom in and out of your document – which, by the way, is constantly being saved so you’ll never lose a thing.
Once you’ve created your awesome document, you’ll notice that collaboration is also one of Buzzword’s strengths. If you own a document, you can share it with whomever you wish. Those people all see the same document, and changes are updated in real time. Comments can be written and responded to, and even include tables or images. Like a comment? Just drag its contents into the document.
You can share the document with anyone you want – some as a co-author, with the ability to change the document; some as reviewers, who can leave comments; others are readers, who can view, but not edit, the document. People can be invited by email, and is incredibly easy.
Buzzword’s handling of your documents is all done via the Document Organizer – clever title. The organizer lets you see all your documents, and browse them by name, date of creation or change, or even by author. At the bottom of your screen, you’ll always be able to see who has a document open, and if they’re editing it.
You can import documents into Buzzword from Microsoft Word, text files, and Rich Text Format. Just click “Document” and then “Import” to pull all your documents online. Exporting your documents back to those formats is equally easy, and includes exporting to PDF. Buzzword, if nothing else, is a great way to back up your documents in a way that’s available to you from anywhere.
Buzzword shines where Google Docs fails – the “fun to use” factor. It’s prettier, more elegant, more streamlined, and just darn cool. I still use Google Docs on occasion, but Buzzword is becoming the destination for writing just about everything.
One other note: here’s a great article making The Case for Online Word Processing from Stepcase Lifehack.
What do you use for word processing, either online or off?