Zoho just released version 2.0 of its Zoho Writer word processing application. While the company has added quite a few new and useful features in this release, the most obvious change is a new user interface which looks a lot like the 'Ribbon' in Microsoft Office. Thanks to this new user interface, the application now feels even more like a desktop application and has a far more professional and uncluttered look.

New Interface

Clearly, this new interface, dubbed the MenuTab by Zoho, was inspired by Microsoft's Ribbon interface, which is slowly becoming the standard interface paradigm for Microsoft applications. Zoho smartly keeps the most often used functions like undo/redo, copy, cut, paste, and save outside of these tabs so that they are always available (something MS Office also does thanks to the Quick Access Toolbar). In our tests, the MenuTab worked just as advertised, and if you are comfortable with the MS Office 2007 interface, you will feel right at home in the new Zoho Writer.

Zoho plans to make the MenuTab the default interface for all of its productivity applications in the near future.

New Features

Zoho also added a few new features to Writer. Among these are improved auto-insert fields for dates and page numbers in the header and footer, a word and character count in the status bar, a LaTeX editor, and the ability to change your page layout to landscape mode. Collaborative editing is probably the most important new feature (and a necessary one, given that Google Docs has been doing this for a long time), but as Rafe Needleman points out, it's too easy to overwrite another user's edits.