Play Chess Online With Zoho Writer

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Our users always surprise us when it comes to using Zoho’s services in esoteric ways. We came across this interesting post by Bidhan Adhikary (Bidhan is from Nepal) recently – ‘How to play Chess online with your friend using Zoho Docs‘. Bidhan had actually used the Zoho Writer’s editor within Zoho Docs.

The post describes how to construct a black and white table in Zoho Writer, how to place the chess piece icons in the starting squares, how to make the moves (simply drag and drop the images) and how to play chess with your remote, online friend (share the Zoho Writer document with him/her, start making the moves). Since Zoho Writer offers near real-time document editing, each move gets shown to the remote user almost immediately.

You can choose to follow the steps that Bidhan outlines in his blog post. Or click the ‘Download’ link at the top-right of Bidhan’s public Zoho Writer document, save it as a .doc/.docx file in your desktop and upload it back to your Zoho Writer account. Your online chess board is ready now. Invite your friend (share the document to your friend’s email address) and start playing chess over the web.

Some pointers:

  1. Once you have made your move, you’ll have to take your cursor out of the chess board (since Zoho Writer locks the table down for collaborative editing).
  2. For capturing an opponent’s piece, you can click on a piece and delete it, before moving your piece to that square
  3. You can use the ‘Undo’ icon for wrong capturing, moves etc
  4. You can use the ‘Collaborators’ (text bubble) icon at the bottom-right to chat with your friend while making your moves.
  5. For starting a new game, you can use Zoho Writer’s ‘Version’ feature and revert back to the initial version

Go to Zoho Writer and try making your own online chess board now :)

Have you used any of Zoho’s apps in such interesting ways? Share it with us in the comments.

More Formatting Options in Zoho Writer

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The latest update to Zoho Writer brings in some new formatting options

Change Case
You can now change the case of a block of text. Three options are available – lower case, UPPER CASE and Capitalize (also known as Title Case or Start Case).

Font Size
You now have a lot more font sizes to choose from. And we now have relative font sizes. This makes the document more accessible and easier to read as one can easily increase/decrease the text size by changing the document’s body text size (under Page Setup -> Page Format).

Borders and Shading
Background colors and borders can now be applied to text (text in a table cell, div or paragraph) easily. You can choose the border’s type, width, style and color.

Spacing and Indentation
There are quite a few spacing and indentation options available now.

You can choose the spacing before a paragraph, after a paragraph,
spacing between words and spacing between lines. Also, one can have a 1.0 (Single) spaced text line in a document where
the main body of the text is 2.0 (Double) spaced. There are
indentation options too. They include left indent, right indent,
indenting the first line of a paragraph and hanging indent.

Here’s a sample Zoho Writer document illustrating the various formatting options discussed above.

Try the new features in Zoho Writer and let us know your comments.

New: Page View Option in Zoho Writer Editor

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Zoho Writer now has a new Page View option. Previously, Zoho Writer’s editor displayed your document as a single HTML page – the Normal View option as shown below.

You can now make the Zoho Writer editor display your document page-wise. By choosing the new Page View (under the Views
menu-tab), you get to see how the text appears in the actual page
layout. Dotted lines show the page boundaries. What’s
best about the new option is that you can continue to write (edit) in
the Page View mode.

You can make the Page View as the default View option by clicking on the Settings link at the top and choosing the appropriate Choose View option.

In our next update, we will be making this Page View more like the Print Preview option available now. This will make the editor lay out exactly like on paper. Stay tuned!

Insert Watermarks in your Zoho Writer Documents

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The importance and usefulness of embedded watermarks in business documents can’t be stressed enough. From drafts to confidential documents to having organization logos, watermarks perform an important role in document management. Now, you can insert watermarks in your Zoho Writer documents. The Watermark option is present under Zoho Writer’s Insert menu-tab.

You can include both text and picture watermarks.

Screenshot of a document with watermarked text in the background.

Other than when being shared online, the document’s pages will contain the watermark when printed. Try the new watermark feature in Zoho Writer.

InfoLogic's MathMagic adds support for Zoho Writer equations

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InfoLogic’s MathMagic is a desktop based equation editor software. Its latest version 6.8 for Mac users has introduced a special menu item for Zoho Writer. MathMagic can now be used as a front-end equation editor by Zoho Writer users (Zoho Writer has allowed writing of LaTeX equations since May 2008). Whether or not you are fluent in LaTeX, you can now write mathematical equations and symbols using MathMagic
easily and fast, then simply copy-paste it into Zoho Writer’s Equation
Editor window.
LaTeX expressions from Zoho Writer’s Equation Editor can also be copy-pasted into MathMagic window to edit the equation on a WYSIWYG interface.

InfoLogic says MathMagic’s Windows version will also support “Copy as Zoho equation” in the near future. We believe this new menu will help both MathMagic & Zoho Writer users.

Zoho UI

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Dan, who tried Zoho a couple of days back wrote:

However in using them [Zoho] I was very disappointed to find that each program had a *totally* different look-and-feel to them – they were, in effect, four entirely separate applications. They in no way felt part of a suite, and do not have any of the advantages outlined above.

Craig, who has been following Zoho’s progress, too wanted to know:

how serious is Zoho taking the UI experience of the users out there?

We do take in feedback from users on their experience with Zoho and are only too glad to hear what users have to say on the UI and how comfortable they feel while using Zoho.

That said, it is true that there is some lack of uniformity amongst the Zoho applications. Of all our applications, users might have noticed that Zoho Writer and Zoho Planner have similar UI. Zoho Projects, our latest offering too adopted the same. This is just so that they all look like a part of the same suite. The users can be rest assured that other services will soon follow the familiar Zoho Writer UI, as a part of hooking all the pieces of the Zoho suite.

Zoho Teacher

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No, we haven’t released another product, nor do we promise a weekly product release. ;) While tracking back the blogs that mentioned Zoho, we came to know that there were a good number of teachers who use Zoho for various class-room related activities. Alan, a Zoho user compiled a post on how he uses Zoho tools for teaching or other tasks. As an addendum to that post, here are a few more ways in which teachers can use Zoho effectively as educational tools:

(1) Zoho Creator with its form-building capacities can be used to survey, or gather comments from people. A form can be embedded in your blog or you can provide a URL to the form. Here’s a sample.

(2) Zoho Planner can be used to plan lessons over a period of time, provide homework- reminders, assign a to-do list for students. You can then share it by e-mail or publish it as a public page.

(3) Zoho Chat can be used to encourage conversations and discussions.

(4) And with our recent Zoho Writer update, more than two students can simultaneously work on a homework or a project report. Or a teacher can work alongside the students and guide them. All this online! 

Coming soon: Team-Planner which will be an extension of Zoho Planner for teams working on projects. Stay tuned!