ONLYOFFICE is not only a great web-based office suite and project management tool but an effective platform to keep your teams engaged with one another and the company.

Image: ONLYOFFICE

I’ve been on an ONLYOFFICE kick for some time now. Why? Simply put, it’s a great way to add a document management service to your LAN. However, as you’ve probably seen, it’s much more than that.

SEE: Hiring kit: Project manager (TechRepublic Premium)

Upon deploying the ONLYOFFICE server, you’ll find it includes tools like:

  • Documents–a full web-based office suite
  • Project management–a feature-rich project management tool
  • CRM–an easy to use Customer Relations Manager
  • Email–a simple web-based email client
  • People–a user/group manager

Along for that ride is the Community tool, which for some will be a very pleasant surprise.

What is the ONLYOFFICE Community feature?

The Community feature in ONLYOFFICE is all about sharing information with a community of people. Said community would be the users who connect to your ONLYOFFICE instance. In other words, those in your company.

With Community, you can share bookmarks, news, maintain a corporate wiki, write internal blogs, host company forums, share polls and surveys, exchange instant messages and create group chats (via Talk) and configure notifications.

The ONLYOFFICE Community feature is a great addition to keep your staff engaged and updated. And, best of all, it’s built-in and easy to use. If your company depends on the likes of email to keep employees abreast of news, updates, documentation, events, and even keep a shared collection of important bookmarks, ONLYOFFICE Community is one of the simplest on-prem options available. And because ONLYOFFICE can be quickly deployed as a Docker container, your staff (both on-prem and remote) can enjoy the Community feature in no time.

This is a no-brainer for any company looking for an internal platform to keep teams in the know.

How to use the ONLYOFFICE Community feature

Now that you’re aware of ONLYOFFICE Community, how do you use it? Log into your ONLYOFFICE instance and click the Community icon (Figure A).

Figure A

The Community feature is easily accessed from the ONLYOFFICE Main page.
The Community feature is easily accessed from the ONLYOFFICE Main page.

You will be prompted to walk through the Welcome wizard and, on the last page, you’ll be asked to create your first Welcome post. Go ahead and create that post, which will take you to what should be a fairly familiar web-based editor (Figure A).

Figure B

A Welcome post is a good place to add information on how your teams can use this feature.
A Welcome post is a good place to add information on how your teams can use this feature.

Your Welcome post will be the default page every team member sees when they open the Community feature.

After creating the Welcome post, you’ll be taken back to the main Community page. Click the Create drop-down and you’ll see how easy it is to create a new Blog post, News item, Order, Announcement, Poll or Bookmark.

The only bit of confusion I experienced using the Community feature was the Order option (found in the Create drop-down). I assumed this would be used to create orders for resources (such as computer hardware, facility supplies, etc.). It’s not. My guess is that Orders are used to distribute tasks of higher importance to the company. The only caveat to that is you cannot assign orders to users, which means they can be viewed by anyone with an account on your ONLYOFFICE instance.

Although features like chat and forums are listed as part of the Community feature, in reality, chat exits outside of the feature (in the form of the Talk tool), and forums aren’t enabled by default. To enable forums, log into ONLYOFFICE as an administrator and click Settings. In the resulting window, click Modules & Tools and then, click to enable Forums under Community (Figure C).

Figure C

You might also want to enable the Wiki option (along with Forums) for a more complete Community portal.
You might also want to enable the Wiki option (along with Forums) for a more complete Community portal.

Click Save and Forums will then you’ll be able to create your first forum by going to Community | Create | Forum. On the Forum creation page (Figure D), you can create a new category, and add a title, name, and description for the forum.

Figure D

Adding your first forum to the ONLYOFFICE community.
Adding your first forum to the ONLYOFFICE community.

Once the Forum has been created, any user with access to ONLYOFFICE can join in on the discussions.

All-in-all, ONLYOFFICE Community is a great addition to the platform, one that will keep your teams informed and connected. If you use ONLYOFFICE, I highly recommend employing this option, so your employees are better informed and engaged with one another and the company.

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