Collaborative online office solutions

Many Cooks

Word Processing

The user opens the Etherpad editor in the web browser and creates a new pad here. After a short loading time, the page display appears with a sample text. Using the URL shown there, the user then invites other users to work on the same text. Etherpad assigns a different color to each invited user. Modifications to the text appear in this color. This allows each participant to immediately assign changes to the text to the appropriate author.

Every change appears on all involved workstations in real time. Additionally, the software displays line numbers so that readers can quickly locate specific points in the text. This numbering can also be switched off by the user if desired.

Communication

Etherpad has a small chat module for communication, which is hidden in the settings menu. The user can access the menu by clicking on the gear symbol in the upper right corner of the browser window. From the menu, you can activate the Show Chat and Users option with a slider, which displays a new vertical bar on the right side of the browser window. The bar contains the communication history and an input line at the very bottom (Figure 3). On low resolution screens, Etherpad displays the communication in a small separate window to not limit the workspace.

Figure 3: Etherpad provides an intuitive interface that lets users get started immediately.

Foreign Language

Etherpad has only rudimentary import and export filters, which the user cannot extend with plugins. Currently, it supports only import and export of simple text or HTML documents. Where third-party formats are involved, the developers recommend using LibreOffice or another office suite to first convert the source format into a form readable for Etherpad. However, because Etherpad supports relatively few attributes for text formatting, it is not useful for sophisticated documents, such as ones that contain tables, formulas, or images.

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