Enhancements to Zoho Notebook

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We made several enhancements to Zoho Notebook in a recent update. Here are the highlights of the update…

New Hand Toolhandtool.png
You’ll notice a new Hand Tool (ht.png) in the drawing toolbar on the right. This tool helps you easily scroll through the content inside a page without selecting any content or using scrollbars. If you used hand tools in desktop image editing apps, you’ll feel right at home.

You might have seen the addition of more shapes in our previous update as well to this drawing toolbar.

Books Navigation
In our previous version, when you had many books created, a scrollbar appeared for books list. In the current version, we added a ‘More’ option at the bottom which brings up a simple way to view your existing books without a scrollbar. Here is the new look. Looking at the book icons, you can now easily differentiate between personal books and shared books.



Increased Page Tab Size
Many of you suggested that we increase the size of the page tab. We did that with this update. You’ll notice that the horizontal size of the page tab is almost doubled. We plan to enhance this section further by proving more alternatives for page viewing. More on that later.

Recently Used Colors:
We enhanced our color palette to remember the recent colors used in your notebook. This enhanced palette can now remember up to 24 recently used colors in your notebook.


Cover Page
When a notebook is published, a cover page will now be added by default along with the name of the book, owner name and other information.

Apart from these changes, you’ll notice an enhanced look to our tool bar along with some bug fixes. If you’d like to see some enhancements in Notebook, do let us know.

Update : Zoho Plugin for Microsoft Office

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We are pleased to announce several new enhancements to our Zoho Plugin for Microsoft Office. Users can download the new version of the plugin here. The salient features of this update are :

Option to keep a local copy

This is a nice little feature wherein users can keep a local copy of the existing document/workbook that is available in Zoho Writer & Sheet. To achieve this, users just need to enable the check box “Keep a local copy” when they are logging in to access their documents from within Microsoft Word/Excel.

There is also an option to create a new Zoho account from the Zoho Plugin credentials page. Click on the “New Zoho User? Sign Up” link to set up an account with us. This is for the users who have downloaded the plugin but are yet to sign up for Zoho Services.


Added a new tab – Local Documents

Now that the users can have a copy of the online document/workbook in their local drive, there is a new tab “Local Documents” added to the “Add-Ins” option in Word/Excel. Users can access the local copy by clicking on this particular tab. Locally downloaded documents/spreadsheets are password protected now. Users are asked to provide Zoho account password when opening a local copy of the document/spreadsheet. The enhanced security is to prevent unauthorised access.

Users also have the option to delete the local copy. Click on local documents tab from Add-Ins, select the document & choose delete button to perform the above operation.


Offline editing of documents/workbooks

User can now edit their documents/workbooks offline using the local copy and can sync up the updated offline version with the online version of the document/workbook in Zoho Writer/Sheet by connecting to the internet, signing in to their Zoho account from the Add-ins tabs in Word/Excel and then choosing the option “Save in Zoho Writer/Sheet”.

Multi-user Support

Our earlier version of Office Plugin did not allow the guest user of Windows to access the documents/workbooks. Now guest users (as opposed to only allowing users with Administrator privileges previously) who have an account with Zoho can access & edit their documents/workbooks in MS Word/Excel.

Do have a go at the enhanced Zoho Office Plugin and let us know your feedback.

NaNoWriMo : Pen your novel using Zoho Writer/Wiki

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It’s that month of the year when you try your hand on writing a novel – the National Novel Writing Month. Why not try it this year with Zoho Writer or Zoho Wiki? A few screenshots with explanation of how you can go about in organizing your novel in Zoho Writer/Wiki.


My sample novel is divided into 3 Books. Book 1 consists of 3 Chapters, Book 2 – 2 chapters and Book 3 – 3 Chapters. Each Chapter is a Zoho Writer page


I tag each Chapter with a common tag, ‘nanowrimo’ and with the Book which it belongs to

Try using the newly released Mozilla Prism. You get to use the entire real-estate of your monitor screen area. No distractions offered by a typical browser as well.

Alternatively, you can use Zoho Wiki instead of Zoho Writer for writing and organizing your novel

Once you complete the novel, you can publish it to the world using the easy publish options available in Zoho Writer and Zoho Wiki (making the Wiki as public). Your comments are welcome on other possible ways that Zoho can help authors in writing a novel this November. Enjoy NaNoWriMo with Zoho :-)

Zoho CRM – Multi-language Support..

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We are getting ready with support for a few International languages for Zoho CRM.

So far we have translated the entire Zoho CRM user interface into:

  • French
  • German
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Spanish
  • Vietnamese

Our Chinese staff is working overnight on localization of the user interface, which will be ready for beta testing in few days. We are also working on UK-English that will cater to the needs of businesses in UK and other Commonwealth countries.

In the second phase, we are planning to translate the entire web site and Wiki-based help manual so that our CRM community will have a better localized user experience.

How to select a new language?

1. Log in to Zoho CRM.

2. Click on Setup > Personal Settings > Account Information page.

3. In Account Information page, select your language, country locale, and then save your settings.

Zoho CRM - Language Selection

Hereafter you can see the user interface in your language.
Zoho CRM - Japanese - Home page

Do let us know your suggestions and comments please.

Outlook Plugin Updated

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We have updated the Outlook Plugin.
The login screen has been made more user-friendly.

Earlier there was confusion as to which username and password one ought to use in the Outlook Plugin to sync with Zoho CRM.

Zoho CRM - Outlook Plugin Old

We have also given the facility to register with ZohoCRM from the Outlook Plugin login screen.

Zoho CRM - Outlook Plugin New Login Screen

A new Help Link too is introduced which takes the user to the wiki spot handling the Outlook Plugin issues.

Some of the issues that have been fixed are as follows :-

  • “Session Expired” problem fixed.

Earlier while synchronizing contact, task, calendar and etc., while the session used to get expired, it returned error message for each item(Invalid return value). Now it returns the message – “Session Expired and login again” . It also logsout automatically when this message gets popped-up.

  • Duplicate contact check has been made faster.

Recent blog posts from Zoho Users

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Heather Paulson at ReveNews, explains her experience of finding out Zoho and introduces many of Zoho’s products to her readers. From her post titled “Zoho Online Office Productivity Software- Free” :

Recently I was out of town and happened to be on a computer that did not have Microsoft Excel or Microsoft Word. Not having access to these standard Microsoft office products is frustrating for any business traveler as I had a wee bit of work to do. Then I found Zoho.com with their incredible online line up of office productivity software, most of which is free to use and easily accessible online.

Zoho offers some amazing online collaboration tools as well as office products many of which are of no cost to the consumer. I have gained access to all of these with a free Zoho user account and must say what I see so far is impressive.

Wendy Wolfe, a Social Sciences teacher at the Totino-Grace High School, St Paul, Minnesota has done a great presentation video for the K12 Online Conference 2007. Wendy explains Zoho and it’s cousin ToonDoo in the video. Glad to find that her students liked Zoho and ToonDoo. Especially the latter which made a student remark, ‘If All My Classes Did This…‘! More about Wendy’s presentation here.

A blog post about online productivity by Splashtop, the Instant-On Desktop folks, has this to say about Zoho :

Don’t be overwhelmed when you get to the Zoho homepage. They have a myriad of online apps, all of which work fairly well. If Zoho CRM doesn’t mean much to you, I might suggest starting out with Zoho Writer. The image pictured below is of a Zoho Writer Template for a resume. As you can see, this online tool does 90% of what Word or OpenOffice does. Importing documents is also very easy. This is important if your document started in another format. I imported a document that was larger than 1MB and Zoho handled it well.

In my opinion, Zoho sheets excels in every way (come on, that’s a great pun). Whereas, the look and feel of Zoho writer feels a bit disjointed, Zoho sheets is as close to perfect as any online spreadsheet program. I get the distinct feeling that this was developed by a completely different team, led by a UI-focused Product Manager (who wasn’t afraid to borrow interface cues from Microsoft). I imported several different spreadsheets into Zoho Sheets, some with multiple tabs and the application handled it perfectly. With over 300 functions, I’m guessing Zoho can handle most of what you might want to do with a spreadsheet.

Matt Thommes has a nice post on Zoho Meeting titled, “Desktop sharing with Zoho Meeting“, where he explains with nice screen shots how to work with Zoho Meeting – a concise & crisp primer for anyone new to Zoho Meeting.

Thanks to all Zoho users for sharing their thoughts & experiences!

Lifehacker Poll: Zoho vs Google

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gzpoll.pngLast week, Lifehacker had a post comparing Zoho and Google with a poll asking users which suite they prefer between Zoho and Google. The results looks interesting….

Overall, more than 43% of the users prefer Google just because they already have an account with them. More than 18% of users never heard about Zoho.

From a total of 1417 votes, 361 people tried both these services and chose one to other based on their experience. Of these, close to 70% preferred Zoho to Google. We find this stat particularly interesting and encouraging as we see more users seeing better value after trying our apps.

Other stats (like having an account already) change overtime and its a matter of time and value offered by a new vendor like us. I am sure Google had the same stat once upon a time against Yahoo and Microsoft. We know how that changed over time as they stacked more value to the user. Similarly, over time as users see value in these services, they’ll have a reason to create an account. If the current version of Zoho is not compelling enough for you, one of our future versions will be.

On a separate note, InformationWeek has an article comparing Zoho and Google to MS Office.