More document formatting options in Zoho Writer

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How badly have you wanted to set margins to your Zoho Writer docs? It is now there. There is a new ‘Document Property’ icon next to the ‘Print Document’ icon. Clicking on it will get you the document properties pop-div. You can specify the margins, set the font face, size & bg color. Note that if you choose to select some text within the document and apply fonts, it will over-ride the overall document settings (as it should).

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When inside a table, the ‘Format’ menu now lists formatting options for cell/table.

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There are options for bulleted lists too. Right click on a list and you will see the ‘List Properties’ menu item.

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While using the ‘Export’ option in IE, it was sometimes blocking this function sighting security reasons. This issue has been fixed.

Share your presentations privately

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Till now, Zoho Show allowed to have your presentations fully private (which you can show as ‘Remote’) or make it public for the whole world to see. Now, you can share your presentations to a select group of friends or colleagues. With the new sharing feature you can set permissions, either ‘View Only’ or ‘View and Edit’. Obviously, ‘View and Edit’ would mean collaboration, where the persons who you shared a presentation with can edit it. Wouldn’t that be handy? (Note: not in real-time though. Only one user can edit it at any instant of time for now and the others users can only view it). A short demo of this feature :

Launch as slide show

And the quality of images you upload into Zoho Show have been improved a lot. Open up your existing presentations and you will know. You can also create new presentations and you will see quite a difference in image quality. A slide show of some photos taken at SAP TechEd, Bangalore. (if some the images are blurred or are of bad quality, blame it on my amateurish hands)

Launch as slide show

Check out Zoho Show. We will be glad hearing your feedback.

Unicode is now supported in Zoho Sheet!

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Some of you might have noticed in our update last weekend that Zoho Sheet also now supports the Unicode Transformation Format (UTF8, to be specific) – the industry standard character encoding scheme.

Spreadsheet users of different Asian languages like Chinese (see example in picture below) or European languages or users from almost any part of the world can now create spreadsheets using their native (or) preferred language characters in Zoho Sheet!

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Another small but convenient feature that we’ve added is support for scrolling of sheets in a workbook. When the number of worksheets increases, the scroll buttons will automatically appear on the status bar at the bottom, near the sheets tab. (see highlighted portion in picture)

Also, selecting a range of numbers in your sheet will now display their ‘sum’ value in the status bar at the bottom near the sheets tab. (highlighted in blue)

Now that we’ve moved our service to a new grid-based architecture, your Zoho Sheets should be loading faster. And lots more coming soon in Zoho Sheet – thanks for all the requests, and do let us know what other features you’d like to see!

At the SDN Day, Bangalore

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Thanks to Craig Cmehil‘s invite for the SDN day, Hyther & me are here at the SAP campus in Whitefield, Bangalore.

It was a revelation of sorts of how big a community SDN is! Thanks to Bangalore’s traffic woes, we started a bit late and Craig had a micro intro. Mark Yolton, VP of SDN/BPX, gave the initial presentation titled “What have we been up to (together) this year”.

The SDN team is 35 strong and some of them were present – Mark, Craig, Marilyn, Marco (the only Dutchman was the joke), Uri, Anil, Anand and others. The invitees included SAP employees, partners (all the developers whose life revolve around SAP) and a couple of customers. Craig & team had done a pretty good job and the mix was perfect.

The numbers quoted be Mark were staggering. 600K SDN members, 80K from India alone (only US & Germany have more). And SDN had to split to make room for the Business Analysts & Consultatnts to form a new community, BPX – Business Process Experts. They too have grown to 60K with 12K members being added every month. (Mark is targeting 75K users by this year end and 1 million by 2010)

SDN has this system where members can earn points. The system works this way – you have a question and post it to SDN, someone comes up with an answer and you (or anyone) can award him/her some points. Naturally, Craig had made sure that he’d invited some pretty big earners of good karma to the SDN day. Among today’s participants, Kartik Iyengar of Wipro headed the list.

SDN encourages its community by providing freebies, when you cross a certain level you get a T-shirt, the next level, a jacket etc. Most of all, it is the recognition that a SAP developer gets that keeps this community so alive. The SDN community is so vibrant and active that the average time that you have to wait for an answer is just 16 minutes!

Other stats include 61 of the Top 100 Indian companies run SAP, SDN has a unique monthly visitors count of around 400K and weekly views of 1.6M. There is small growing community of bloggers too (600 to 800, Mark was not sure of the number) who write at SDN Blogs.

Those are some points I’m left pondering about, dreaming about a similar Zoho community to form when more Zoho apps go out of Beta, open up our APIs, get a more viral traction. SDN is social networking at its best. They proved it once again through the “Speed Networking” session where we got to interact with the other participants. Even we guys from Zoho who were literally the only ‘outsiders’ felt at home meeting all these cool people. Kudoes to the SDN team and all its members for making this happen!

Hyther being the tech guy, naturally, is more interested in how Zoho and Web 2.0 can bring in value to a giant ERP soultion provider like SAP and enterprise apps in general. And he had a session titled “Enterprise meets Web 2.0″ which was very well received. He will also be part of a panel (think the title is ‘Technology & Innovation’) at the end of the day. Prashanth Rai who will also be part of this panel is blogging too.

May be I will later try updating this post with some photos. Tomorrow, we are again special guests of Craig at the SAP TechEd. Hope to have a great day tomorrow too. And forgot to mention, the arrangements were excellent – a very good internet connection, well organised sessions and nice & spicy Indian food.

Update : As promised, some photos from today’s event (Thanks to Uri, who lent his photos!)

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Zoho at the Web 2.0 Conference

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Raju Vegesna, Evangelist, Zoho will be speaking at this year’s Web 2.0 Conference in the session titled ‘SMBx: The Revolution of the SMB Application Marketplace“. Moderated by Tony Perkins, Creator & Editor in chief, AlwaysOn, other speakers of the session include Michael Arrington, Editor, TechCrunch, Dave Ferguson, Engineering Director, Google and Richard McAniff, Corporate Vice President for Microsoft Office.

Thanks to Danny Kolke of Etelos which provides hosting of custom web applications, for the invite.

Major Server Upgrade Completed in ZohoSheet

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Phew … we just completed a major server upgrade in ZohoSheet. All user accounts and documents have been migrated to our new grid infrastructure. The service should be much faster now (try it out and tell us!). The team has been working flat out the past few weeks to get this completed; as usual it took longer than originally estimated, but that is the nature of software.

Now that this infrastructure upgrade is over, the next couple of updates will focus on cool new features. We will also continue to enhance performance, and the ability to handle larger, more complex spreadsheets. Stay tuned!