If you are like me, you have a love/hate relationship with Google Docs. You love that you can access your documents from anywhere and love that it auto-saves and is easy to use. You might hate, however, how it sometimes disconnects in the middle of the sentence you are typing or how you have to run it inside a browser tab or window, sometimes getting it mixed up with your websites and accidentally closing the window.
If you are like that, then there is a solution that you might find more palatable. It is called Ooo2gd, and it allows you to sync your LibreOffice or OpenOffice.org documents with Google Docs, Zoho Office, or any WebDav server. It is a free OpenOffice extension that you can download and get working in seconds. Thanks to our friends at UK dedicated hosting server provider 34SP.com for bringing it to our attention.
OK, what I said about installing it in seconds is only true if you already have Java installed. For Windows, you can download Java from the website and use the installer. There seem to be some problems with Mac OS X, so you should check the project’s website for updates.
For Linux, which is the primary focus of this blog, you need to install Sun’s/Oracle’s version of Java. In Ubuntu, just enable the partner repository and then install it from the Ubuntu Software Center, Synaptic, or from the command line with the following command:
sudo apt-get install sun-java6-jre sun-java6-plugin
Next, you will need to install the libreoffice-java-common package:
sudo apt-get install libreoffice-java-common
With LibreOffice closed, download ooo2gd to your Downloads folder and then run this command from a terminal:
unopkg add ~/Downloads/ooo2gd_3.0.0.oxt
After you have it installed, simply open LibreOffice as you normally would. There should now be a floating toolbar with five icons: “Export to Google Docs”, “Import from Google Docs”, “Export to Zoho”, “Import from Zoho”, and “Export with WebDav”. When you click on one of the options, Google Docs for example, it will ask you for your login credentials.
For “User Name”, enter your full Gmail or Google Apps email address, and use the normal password. Autoupdate will re-save the file in Google Docs when you make future changes, keeping it in sync. “Convert to Google Docs format” is the ideal choice if you later intend to edit the file remotely from within Google Docs. You can always do that within Google Docs as well.
You might find the popup toolbar to be annoying. If so, you can drag it to the top, left, right, or bottom of LibreOffice to dock it within the window. For my window, I like to clean up the toolbar, removing some of the functions I do not use often, making space for the Ooo2gd bar. Alternatively, all of the options are available in the “File” menu for easy access. There, you will also find a configuration option, with settings to change the appearance, select the default download folder, and more.
Note: When I selected “GTK+” for appearance, the configuration dialog would become intermittently unresponsive, which may be a bug. Therefore, use it with caution. It will be very difficult to switch back to another theme if it freezes.
Best of Both Worlds
The “cloud” is a great platform for those of us on the go or even those who just use more than one device in the same location. Google Docs, Zoho Office, and other software as a service (SaaS) give you that flexibility. With that mobility, however, comes the uncertainty of having to trust a third party with your data and also having to rely on an Internet connection at all times. Ooo2gd gives you the ability to have the best of both worlds, local and cloud storage for your documents, all with the click of a button.