11 Things You Can Do with ONLYOFFICE, But Can’t With Google Docs or MS Word Online

25 January 2017 By Nadya 40 9,375

We’re frequently asked the same question: what benefits does ONLYOFFICE have in comparison with other document editors? So, it’s high time we gave all of you detailed answer.


We compared ONLYOFFICE online editors to our main rivals – Google Docs and MS Word Online. And here’s the result of our little research: the list of things you actually can do using ONLYOFFICE, but can’t using Google Docs or MS Word Online:

Open documents without distortion

MS Word Online opens documents perfectly using own Viewer. It is standard MS Word, installed on their server, that shows us this picture. Press “Edit” and you will be asked whether you want to open the doc in MS Word on your PC or in MS Word Online. Choose the 2nd variant, wait for some time and say bye-bye to the original formatting. The image changed its position in the text, all of your formulas turned into sad inscriptions “Equation”. Open your document in desktop Word to see them again.

Google Docs will open a document correctly if it doesn’t contain any elements that Google editors can’t work with – for example, a system of equations or an autoshape. Or if it is not too big. Or if you haven’t changed styles in the online editor settings.

ONLYOFFICE will retain the original formatting of the document regardless of the file size and complexity of its elements. Don’t forget what your document looked like!

Switch between co-editing modes

Google Docs is famous for its real-time co-editing when everything you type appears on the screen of your co-author immediately. This is so-called “fast co-editing”. MS Word Online has it too. But ONLYOFFICE allows you to choose between two different co-authoring modes – fast and strict.

You can use the fast mode while brainstorming ideas or making final changes to the document together with someone. In the strict mode all your corrections are shown to your co-editor only after saving the document. This is very convenient when you need to focus on the text: your co-author’s changes don’t distract you, you can check what you’ve written and get rid of funny misprints before anyone sees them. Just keep calm and use the strict mode. : )

Decorate the font

There are some basic features that most online editors suggest. Using them you can make the font bold or italic, underline or strike the text out. But ONLYOFFICE has even more: it allows you to make your text more expressive by using double strikethrough, superscript/subscript, “All caps” and “Small caps” options. Adjusting spacing between the characters and their position in the line are available as well.

Take control of paragraphs
Apart from simplest paragraph settings, ONLYOFFICE has several features that make work with paragraphs more convenient. For example, you can change paragraph indents as well as enable widow/orphan control. Widow is the last line of a paragraph left by itself at the top of a page, while an orphan is the first line of a paragraph left at the bottom of a page. ONLYOFFICE helps to avoid such distracting things.

Work with autoshapes made in MS OFFICE/another word processor and create new ones

An autoshape is a complex graphical object that can contain a wide variety of geometric shapes, text, pictures, tables and other formatting elements.

MS Word Online just turns autoshapes into non-editable images. Google Docs tries to open them in a built-in image editor and it has two main drawbacks. First – you can do very little editing in this editor. Second – you can’t see what happens in your document when you change the autoshape. Until you close the built-in editor, you won’t be able to know if the formatting is OK.

Meanwhile, ONLYOFFICE allows you to create and edit autoshapes, choose their size, text wrapping type, line style directly in the text processor. This is what they call WYSIWYG.

Create and edit charts

The majority of online editors turn them into images just like autoshapes. In ONLYOFFICE built-in editor, you can edit charts made in MS Word and create new ones.

Edit/create complex headers & footers
While MS Word Online isn’t aware of their existence, in Google Docs it is only possible to insert simple text or page number. ONLYOFFICE includes a number of tools to work with such objects. You can set the position of text relative to the top or bottom of the page, apply different header or footer to the very first page, create different headers/footers for odd and even pages.

Work with equations

“Equation” – this word is what you are going to see when you open a document with a formula in MS Word Online. Google Docs is doing slightly better: it supports equations, but still can’t deal with, for instance, matrices.

ONLYOFFICE allows you to build equations using the built-in templates, edit them, insert special characters (including mathematical operators, Greek letters, accents).

Show/hide nonprinting characters

Neither MS Word Online nor Google Docs can display them. However, non-printing or hidden characters are essential if you want to take control of formatting. Any non-navigational key you press inserts an invisible character into your document which has an impact on formatting. So any weirdness going on in your formatting can be explained if you can see such symbols. ONLYOFFICE document editor can display or hide them just like Microsoft Word.

Quickly change the design

Colour schemes is a very handy function which allows you to quickly change the appearance of the whole document. When you select a colour scheme, the palette of many document elements (font, background, tables, autoshapes, charts) changes correspondingly. ONLYOFFICE offers 21 colour schemes. But you won’t be able to change the design of your document so quickly in MS Word Online or Google Docs editor – you’ll have to change each item’s settings separately.

Edit styles and create new ones

Each style is a collection of formatting information (font size, colour, line spacing, alignment etc.) which allows you to swiftly format different parts of the document instead of applying several formatting options individually each time.

MS Word Online has a list of several styles which cannot be changed. In Google Docs there are only six styles and you can edit them, but the bad news is that if you did, the styles of any received documents would also be changed. This means losing their original formatting.

In ONLYOFFICE there 16 formatting styles, which can be changed. At the same time, styles belong to each document, so that formatting of any docx file you receive will be safe and sound.

Yeah, you could conceivably use all of these features. But if one day you need them, you know where to search.

Comments (40)
  1. Victor - Reply
    February 2, 2017 at 11:53 pm

    So far, I foun one thing you cannot do in OnloOffice: paste “values only” from spreadsheet to spreadsheet. It has to paste formulae. Other special paste modes are also missing.

    • Nadya - Reply
      February 3, 2017 at 2:51 pm

      Hello, Victor! These functions are under development at the moment, and we hope to add them soon

  2. Mike - Reply
    March 8, 2017 at 6:51 am

    Hello – Your documents product is really exceptional and I use it all of the time on my Chromebook! But there is one thing missing from this being a full replacement of Word for me. When working on a document that has been marked up with track changes, if I want to delete (redline) something that the previous person has added, would it be possible for the words to show deleted by having a line drawn through them in my track changes color vs actually deleting the words?
    This way, there still is a clear record of the deletion rather than the words just being gone from view.
    This is the way Word handles track changes deletions – would love if OnlyOffice could do that as well.

    Thank you.

    • Nadya - Reply
      March 9, 2017 at 11:56 am

      Hi, Mike! Thank you)
      Yeah, we know about this problem with track changes and we’ll fix it.

  3. Karthik - Reply
    March 16, 2017 at 1:25 pm

    Is there any way to handle leader dots in tables. Currently leader dots are removed and there is not way to add them back to the document.

    • Nadya - Reply
      March 16, 2017 at 2:33 pm

      Hello! We are planning to add this feature a bit later.

  4. Gopal Bhamidi - Reply
    March 21, 2017 at 8:42 pm

    Is there a way to cross reference documents in EXCEL spreadsheet while using formula?


    • Nadya - Reply
      March 22, 2017 at 1:44 pm

      Hello! Unfortunately, we do not have this function at the moment

  5. Erik Rowberg - Reply
    March 28, 2017 at 11:21 am

    i also would like to see paste special, and ability to sort by different columns and not just the first column and also multiple columns at same time.

    But this is a great product.

    • Nadya - Reply
      March 31, 2017 at 1:27 pm

      Hello, Erik! The next version of the editors will be released next week. You should definitely have a look at it

  6. Adrian - Reply
    March 30, 2017 at 12:06 am

    So your saying that OnlyOffice is compatible with both MS Office and G Suite, so any document, spreadsheet or presentation I design and format will look the when it’s opened in MS Office or G Suite.

    • Nadya - Reply
      March 31, 2017 at 1:21 pm

      Hello, Adrian! I’m not sure I understood your comment correctly. We are saying that we have highest compatibility with Microsoft Office formats (docx, xlsx, pptx). We are also constantly improving compatibility with other formats so that any document will be opened in our editors without distortion. It’s a tremendous work, I should say.

  7. Cristian - Reply
    April 4, 2017 at 12:35 am

    I don’t see a way to add a Footnote, google docs has that feature.

    • Nadya - Reply
      April 4, 2017 at 2:00 pm

      Hi, Cristian! Adding footnotes is available starting from version 4.3. It’s already on Github. As for online version – it will be updated to 4.3 this weekend. In desktop version – a bit later.

  8. Anna - Reply
    May 15, 2017 at 7:00 pm

    Quite interesting!
    Is it possible to generate the table of contents of a document?

    • Nadya - Reply
      May 16, 2017 at 10:28 am

      At the moment – unfortunately, no. But we are going to add it soon

      • Erwan Georget - Reply
        September 15, 2017 at 11:11 am

        Quite unfortunate, this is a true problem for switching from MS Office. Still, OnlyOffice looks like an interesting open-source project… With an unfortunate name, as it is not “only” an office suite.

  9. Chris - Reply
    June 3, 2017 at 4:48 am

    I added Onlyoffice to an owncloud server in our office and our sales team used it for the first time today. They had a sales spreadsheet with cells in one sheet linked to cells in a different sheet and when they sorted the first sheet the new data in that specific cell was sent to the other sheets instead of that link following the data to its new cell location. Is there a way for them to sort data in one sheet without it changing linked data in other sheets?

    • Nadya - Reply
      June 5, 2017 at 10:01 am

      Hello, Chris! Please, contact our support team support.onlyoffice.com. They will be glad to help you. If it’s possible, include files/screenshots

  10. Adam Law - Reply
    December 21, 2017 at 5:23 pm

    Two things that Google Sheets rocks at is



    = GoogleFinance(“CURRENCY:GBPEUR”)

    Both I cannot live without.

    There are other things, but OnlyOffice is generally good otherwise for me. I have the Enterprise Edition. I still have to use GoogleSheets for the above functions.

    Also the is no real equivalent of Google Apps Scripting with OnlyOffice. This would be a huge thing to do. I think can get around it for somethings with the OnlyOffice API … but it is real coding then

  11. Carlos - Reply
    July 17, 2018 at 2:44 am

    Onlyoffice is a very interesting project. In our work we have started to perform tests, the level of compatibility with Microsoft is very high, greater than others suit. If you can increase more functions, such as improving support in Spanish, you can advance more. I hope you can continue improving Onlyoffice.

  12. Richard - Reply
    January 29, 2019 at 8:08 pm

    It’s not easy to insert an en-rule!

  13. Edgardo Aman - Reply
    October 7, 2019 at 9:55 am

    All my documents are missing certain letters such as “s” or “n” also numbers are not appearing.

    Could you recommend how to rectify ?

  14. Spud Nick - Reply
    December 20, 2019 at 8:10 am

    The only problem I have with any alternative “Office” is not being able to use MS plugins like “ProWritingAid”.

  15. Dave - Reply
    March 4, 2020 at 6:25 pm

    I have documents that were written in MS Word and when they were opened in OnlyOffice, the checkboxes that were on the document were stripped out. Is there a way to have the checkboxes in the OnlyOffice document without having to re-create them?

    • Nadya - Reply
      March 5, 2020 at 12:18 pm

      We are adding checkboxes in version 5.5 that is coming soon

  16. "A.J" - Reply
    May 4, 2020 at 7:20 am

    Hi, is it possible to “voicetype” with OnlyOffice?

    • Nadya - Reply
      May 8, 2020 at 1:14 pm

      Nope : (

  17. André - Reply
    May 31, 2020 at 1:55 am

    It would be good to have a link to your bug/issue report page.
    I’ve found a number of problems, and I like to give detailed reports to help fix the problems.
    In general, I find your project an excellent initiative.
    At first glance it looks promising, on the desktop version.
    Libreoffice which already beats Excel in a number of important factors, needs some competition.
    (Not saying that Excel doesn’t have some advantages over Libreoffice, but almost none that I find interesting. As well, Excel doesn’t run on Linux.)

    I do have a question. For open source projects, is the collaborative version free ? (Unless that has changed, Google docs is.)

  18. Pia - Reply
    June 15, 2020 at 10:56 am


    how can I add comments to PDF Documents in onlyoffice?
    (The shortcode that does work for text documents doesn’t seem to work for PDFs.)

    If it’s not possible so far, this would be a great new feature!!

    Thank you so much – excellent tool otherwise!!!

    • Nadya - Reply
      June 15, 2020 at 11:21 am

      We do not have this feature. We will pass your request to the developers.

  19. Ravi - Reply
    November 5, 2020 at 2:16 am

    I need, really really really need, inline audio. Have needed it for years. I got a ton of documents –original work – on Google Drive that I can’t share properly cuz I’ve had to leave out the essential audio element that’s an inherent part of the production. I can’t find this feature in OnlyOffice either. Is there any share-ready online document editor that provides the HTML 5 inline audio feature?

    • Nadya - Reply
      November 5, 2020 at 12:30 pm

      Hello Ravi!

      Do you mean you want to play audio in your files?

      That’s possible in the desktop version of our editors https://www.onlyoffice.com/desktop.aspx, but has not been implemented for the online version.

      Unfortunately, at the moment we are not planning on adding it to the online version (due to browser limitations)

  20. brijesh Tiwari - Reply
    April 2, 2021 at 8:53 am


    I am using Onlyoffice doc open source version but i want to ask one think if you know please confirm us..

    Is that possible to share file using Onlyoffice document service, if yes then how to add sharing feature to Onlyoffice document service.

    I want to clear it I don’t want share doc file through Onlyoffice group community edition..

  21. Bert - Reply
    May 26, 2021 at 6:32 pm


    When I load in docx file with text and image in table (signature image).
    And I type a few lines of text, the image slowly fades away and invisible to bottom.
    After refresh (F5) the image is fully visible again with the structure I want..

    Is this a bug from the autoshapes in OnlyOffice tool?

    Thanks in advance

    • Nadya - Reply
      May 27, 2021 at 2:33 pm

      Hi Bert! Looks like a bug, but we need more details:

      1. Are you using online or desktop version
      2. Version of ONLYOFFICE
      3. Browser version // Operating system
      4. Where are you typing exactly (or video of the problem)

      If your file doesn’t contain sensitive information, plz email it to us files[at]onlyoffice.com

      Plz include all the information I requested above and a link to this post.


  22. Flávio Guadiano de Souza - Reply
    February 4, 2022 at 3:20 pm

    I need to lock some cells in spreadsheets. How do I do that?

    • Ksenija - Reply
      February 17, 2022 at 12:24 pm

      Hello! Please take a look at this post to learn how to apply protection features in your spreadsheets.

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