Zoho Office Update

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A cool & very useful update for the Zoho Online Office Suite happened just a few minutes ago. Ismael Ghalimi and a few other Office 2.0 patrons have been discussing about opening Office files directly on the web. With the latest update to Zoho, you can just do that.

If you noticed, Zoho Writer login page went for a re-design (tell us how you like it compared to the old page) & there are two new buttons right in the middle РQuickRead Plugin for Firefox and Internet Explorer. Install QuickRead and you can directly open documents, spreadsheets and presentations present on the web with Zoho! With Zoho QuickRead, downloading files to your computer & opening it with a desktop app becomes pass̩ :-)

Note : Zoho QuickRead works only for Office files on unauthenticated web pages



The above screenshot shows how a sample .doc can be opened with Zoho Writer. Notice the ‘Open with Zoho Writer’ option added to the right-click menu. ‘Open with Zoho Sheet’ & ‘Open with Zoho Show’ menu items will appear for spreadsheets & presentation files respectively.

Thanks are due to to Craig Cmehil, Dennis Howlett & Ismael Ghalimi who beta-tested QuickRead.
What’s more, if you are like Ismael and not so keen on having browser plugins, try using the following URL APIs for opening files

Documents (.doc, .sxw, .odt, .rtf) – http://www.zohowriter.com/publicimport.im?url=<url of document>
Spreadsheets (.xls, .csv, .sxc) – http://www.zohosheet.com/view.do?url=<url of spreadsheet>
(or) http://www.zohosheet.com/publicimport.im?url=<url of spreadsheet>
Presentations (.ppt, .pps, .sxi) – http://www.zohoshow.com/publicimport.im?url=<url of presentation file>

(The QuickRead plugin is now downloadable from http://zohowriter.com for now. Links to the plug-in will be made available in Zoho Sheet & Zoho Show pages too soon. Update : It is now accessible from those pages too)

Now to some Zoho Writer specific goodies. Important Note : Do a Shift+Refresh (for clearing browser cache) before trying the below features.

Zoho Writer now offers category support for WordPress (and other metaWeblog API supported blogs). I’m posting this to Zoho blogs from Zoho Writer!



Click on the ‘Insert Table’ icon now & you will be in for some surprise :-)


For all those who have been struggling with Zoho Writer’s print functionality, we now have a direct ‘Print’ icon. (It is the second icon just next to the ‘Save’ icon & can be recognized easily)

Enhancements have been made to the right-click context menu. The menus will be context specific, ie., you will be offered the appropriate choices alone depending upon which part of the document you are.

Some bugs have been fixed too, the most notable one being the functioning of ‘Tab’ inside tables while in IE. You can now press the ‘Tab’ button and can move from cell to cell while using IE.

Do try the latest features added to the Zoho Online Office Suite & tell us what you think.

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How to embed your spreadsheet into any webpage/blog

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William Davidson, a new Zoho Sheet user, created an online spreadsheet today about his favorite topic – Films! (may we add that we love movies too!)

William made a simple sheet of the ten highest-grossing international movies (non-USA box office) of all time using IMDb’s list as his source. He shared this sheet with us, and wanted to know how he could embed this sheet into his blog.

We showed him how easily it could be done.

First, create the spreadsheet (you can create a new one or import an existing spreadsheet).

Next, use the ‘Make Public and Embed’ option to provide you the HTML snippet of your spreadsheet.

Finally, just use the HTML code in any of your web-pages or your blog – you can embed it in any of your Zoho Writer or Zoho Show documents also! Here’s a sample!

William, there you go! :-)

Amit Agarwal, the brain behind the Digital Inspiration weblog, has written this clear and concise tutorial/article about how Zoho Sheet can be used to embed interactive online spreadsheets into any HTML page, whether it’s your blog or your website!

Thank you, Amit. We’re glad to note that you found us easy to use! :-)

Zoho Creator : Modify data across forms

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In our latest update, we have just made zohocreator more powerful. We have empowered deluge scripting with the ability to modify existing data using our new ‘Update field task’. We already supported fetching of existing form data and now you can fetch and update the values.

Lets us see a library manager in action for illustration

Take a very simple use case : User is borrowing a book from the library

In library manager terminology, it is called ‘Issuing a Book’.

1). The following books are owned by the library.
The column ‘Status’ with values ‘Available’ and ‘Issued’, indicates whether the book is available in the library or is issued to any user.


2).Already the following books were issued to the users on the mentioned issue date.

(Note:This view is created from the form ‘Issue Book’ shown below this view.)
Issued details

3).Now, we are getting a scenario where the user ‘James’ is borrowing the book ‘The City of Joy’.

Use the ‘issue book’ form given below to get book name and user name.

(Note: The above view ‘Books Issued Details’ represent the data in this form. Also in this form, the field ‘Issue date’ is hidden and not shown to the user for filling.)
Issue form

In addition to getting book and user information, we need to do the following

  • Store the current date in the ‘issue date’ field(hidden from user) of the above form, indicating that the book is issued today.
  • Change the status of this book from ‘Available’ to ‘Issued’.(This data is available in different form i.e Book form)

As you can see, these two operations need not be done explicitly by the user as they can be automatically calculated.
This is where our ‘Update field task’ comes into play.

Especially in the second operation, we have to get the corresponding book (i,e. The City of Joy) from the book form data and modify it.

We can use the ‘on success‘ event block of the ‘Issue Book’ form to write the three lines of code , that is going to do the magic.

on success

//store the current time in ‘issue date’ field.
issuedate = zoho.currenttime;

//fetch the book row from the ‘Book’ form
myBook = Book [Name == input.book];

//modify the ‘Status’ of this book to ‘Issued’.
myBook.Status = “Issued”;


Below , you can see the changes done after submitting the form.

  • ‘Status’ of the book ‘The City of Joy’ is modified.


  • Current date is automatcally stored in the ‘Issue date’ field (See the new entry added at the top).

Issued details

Thus you can see that your applications created in zohocreator can just get the minimally required information from the user and modify any other related parameters anywhere in the application using the ‘Update field task’. It helps in incorporating a lot of intelligence into your application, moving away the unnecessary burdens from the end user.Your application can no more be a mere store and retrieval place. It can be more lively now.

You can have a glimpse of my library manager completely created from scratch using our zohocreator.

The Zoho Experience

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Please welcome Dean Ernst, the newest member of the Zoho development team. Dean’s started a blog at http://zohoexperience.com where he will be sharing his experiences in developing a web app for Zoho – his coming down from Australia, his staying at a hotel in Chennai, the culture shock he experienced, his interactions with the various Zoho teams etc. If you have anything specific in mind that you would like to hear about Zoho, please comment here. Dean will try addressing your queries in his own style.

More about Dean & his first post at Zoho Experience.

Featured Zoho User – Barry Dahl

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There are so many of you users out there who use Zoho in your day-to-day life and on your blogs/websites. We will be featuring some of you out here. Featured today is Barry Dahl (his other blog). Barry is the VP of Technology & Virtual Campus at Lake Superior College (LSC), Duluth, Minnesota, USA & he is an extensive user of various Zoho services.

In a blog post where he gives the new PSOL (Priorities Survey for Online Learners) results, Barry embeds charts created with Zoho Sheet. He also has a presentation made using Zoho Show titled “Opening Duty Day at LSC” which deals with appropriate use of computers & LSC Networks. Some of his blog posts use Zoho Show as well. His document titled ‘Duty Day Workshop – Free Web Tools‘ is on Zoho Writer. And he has a blog post with an embedded Zoho Poll. Barry, is that it or are you using any other Zoho service? :-)

If you are an extensive user of multiple Zoho services, please do write to us (update : you can mail to aravind[at]zoho[dot]com). We will feature you here.