another cloud-based office suite


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Google Docs and Zoho Suite have a new competitor: Adobe’s, a promising new entrant in the cloud-based office suite field. A few weeks ago, the crew gave me an in-depth tour of their offering. is mainly a word processor, Buzzword, and a collaboration tool, ConnectNow. They are entirely Flash-based, but other than that, they do pretty much the same things other webapps do, just with a (much) prettier interface. Menus and document zoom around the screen in delightful ways.

Apart from its ability to generate documents, is a great tool for sharing and presenting documents. It marks edits clearly and makes them a functional part of the document-creation process. While has great commenting features, true real-time collaboration is still in the works.

Even with all its great features, I cannot recommend, yet, for the same reason I cannot recommend any other cloud-based word processor to writers.

Buzzword (and, in fairness, Google Docs and Zoho Suite) has no option for “smart” quotation marks like Word,, WordPerfect, and every local word processor I have ever used. This may seem like a small thing, but “dumb” straight quotes in an otherwise well-formatted document are like warts on otherwise-flawless skin. For a company as obsessed with design as Adobe, I expect more.


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  • I don’t agree about the quotation mark problem. The SaaS word processors don’t use smart-quotes because they are not part of the ASCII character set, nor are they part of the ISO 8859-1 character set. Thus, when you copy and past smart-quotes into/from html and other doc types, you often get funky glyphs. For this reason, SaaS word processors avoid smart quotes, which I think is smart.
    Besides, I don’t think straight quotes look all that bad; I never notice them.


  • As a matter of programming, you may be correct. As a matter of style, straight quotes are just plain wrong (unless, perhaps, you are using a typewriter and cannot avoid them).

  • Brett Burney

    I really like Buzzword (here’s my review: and great post Sam – I never had anyone ask about smart quotes (in fact some of my editors ask me to turn them off in Word) but I can certainly see where they might be preferred.

    Now I realize these steps don’t fall on the efficiency side, but I do believe you can utilize smart quotes in Buzzword:

    Click “Insert” on the menu,
    Go to “Special Characters”,
    Click on the upside down question mark for that set of characters and what appears to be smart quotes are there (for some reason called “double quotation mark”).

    You can hover and see an ASCII shortcut, but I can’t figure out a keyboard shortcut for them. You can, however, do an edit/replace function in Buzzword so it’s possible.

  • Yeah, you can definitely manually add them. (If you notice in my post, even WordPress does smart quotes. I cannot understand why Google, Adobe, and Zoho cannot manage it.)

    Until the cloud-based editors add these features, I see them as a place to circulate and collaborate on documents created with other software.