Alternatives to Google Docs
December 1, 2010 4:23 AM   Subscribe

I'm getting very frustrated with how Google Docs handles large documents. The larger the document, the slower it seems to get. What have your experiences been with alternatives to Google Docs? Which would you recommend?

I've got stacks of creative and personal writing saved in GD but they are becoming difficult to edit. I've had to break them up into different documents because they get too long for GD to handle but that makes it difficult for me to locate stuff later on.

I know there are a few reasonable alternatives to GD out there but I don't know what the best would be.

I don't need any bells and whistles. I don't really use spreadsheetsJust something that will save text, particularly large documents, and operate at good speed.

FWIW I use Chrome.
posted by Ziggy500 to Computers & Internet (12 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
How large are the documents? What kind of bandwidth do you have on your internet connection?

The first thing that comes to mind is that manipulating very large documents that don't actually live on your computer is going to be slower depending on their size, because your computer has to download and upload them each time. It may not be Google Chrome -- it may be your bandwidth.
posted by musofire at 4:49 AM on December 1, 2010

Thanks, that's interesting. I don't know anything about bandwidth but I'll check when I get home. The longest document is about 44 pages - 20,000 words.
posted by Ziggy500 at 5:06 AM on December 1, 2010

Dropbox might be more useful - it would also allow you to edit documents offline and then synchronise when you later connect to the internet.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 6:07 AM on December 1, 2010

I replaced the role of GoogleDocs with Dropbox some time ago and never looked back. It's the best, so long as all your workstations have a word processor installed.
posted by mateuslee at 6:26 AM on December 1, 2010

I agree with musofire re: bandwidth - I did my NaNoWriMo novel in Google Docs, and that was 50,000 words, over twice the size of your doc. I experienced some slowness while the doc was initially loading, but otherwise didn't have any major problems.

I also love Dropbox though - if you haven't checked it out, I highly recommend it.
posted by ukdanae at 6:40 AM on December 1, 2010

Try pasting your documents into the following editors and see if performance is similar:Those aren't word processors, they're HTML editors, but if your documents are equally slow in them then they'll be slow in any web / javascript - based word processor (on the same computer, with the same bandwidth.)
posted by XMLicious at 6:50 AM on December 1, 2010

I like I haven't noticed any slowness, but the bulk of my documents there are much smaller.
posted by crush-onastick at 6:55 AM on December 1, 2010

One other thought - what sort of plugins do you have in Chrome? Some kinds of plugins might significantly slow down Google Docs, so you might try it in a browser with no plugins installed.
posted by XMLicious at 6:56 AM on December 1, 2010

Use a combination of OpenOffice and DropBox.
posted by dfriedman at 7:51 AM on December 1, 2010

I'm a fan of, which is essentially a simplified web version of Microsoft Office.
posted by blue mustard at 9:10 AM on December 1, 2010

I am a huge fan of Dropbox, but I also use Evernote for this, particularly for work documents as they tend to have screenshots and other random stuff in them.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:50 AM on December 1, 2010

Have you tried turning off spell check on the View menu and smart quotes / link detection under Tools > Preferences?
posted by Monsieur Caution at 5:31 PM on December 2, 2010

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