Newer releases of the Nextcloud platform offer capabilities for collaborative online document editing. This is made possible through one of two potential connectors: Collabora Online, and OnlyOffice. Both suites have their pros and cons, but today we’ll be taking a look at how to work with OnlyOffice.
It’s a common misconception that OnlyOffice is either proprietary, or a paid-only SaaS platform. In spite of its enterprise-heavy corporate site, OnlyOffice is in fact available under v3 of the GNU Affero Public License, which is pretty standard for libre web platforms.
Before we begin, it’s worth noting that this installation method is better suited towards small or personal Nextcloud instances. For medium to large-scale instances of Nextcloud, it’s generally recommended to instead install the official external document server.
Step 1 – Install the Community Document Server App
The Nextcloud App Store offers a convenient backend application that installs the OnlyOffice Community Document Server within an existing Nextcloud application. Installation is relatively straightforward, as the app itself can be found within the Apps management section.
Some users may experience an error message when attempting to install the package through the Nextcloud admin UI. If that happens, it’s recommended to attempt the installation through the Nextcloud command client tool like so:
occ app:install documentserver_community
It’s also worth double-checking that your Nextcloud installation is up to date, as older versions may still have problems.
Step 2 – Install the Connector
After setting up the Document Server app, you’ll still need to enable the OnlyOffice connector, so that Nextcloud can associate Microsoft Office and OpenDocument files with the OnlyOffice app you just enabled.
Step 3 – Start Using It!
Now that the connector is installed, you’ll be able to start using the Document Server right away. Instead of having a dedicated tab specifically for document editing, the integration is baked right into the file manager. You can easily create new documents as actions, like so:
Or you can click on existing documents within the Nextcloud file manager, which automatically takes you to the editing interface.