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What Are the Uses of Zoho?

The Zoho Office Suite is an online office suite that includes tools for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, databases, note-taking, wikis, customer relationship management, project management, invoicing, and other applications.  Being web-native, all Zoho applications are independent of an operating system.25 

What Does It Do?

Zoho has the ability to manipulate files created in other widely distributed office suites. Zoho can also read and edit Microsoft Office and OpenOffice files, amongst others.  The programs in the suite can be used individually but offer additional integration benefits when used together. The data, or document files, can be saved on Zoho's servers as well as those of several integration partners.  Some of the partners include or Omnidrive, which allows synchronization back to local PC.25

Who Uses Zoho?

Zoho is used by individuals at home, as well as in a business and education setting. What makes Zoho a useful tool is that the individual at home can access their data in Zoho at their business or school! This is possible because Zoho is based on the internet. Individuals around the world use Zoho in connection with other  individuals around the world.25

Table of Contents


   I.1 How Does Zoho Work?
   I.2 Getting More Out of Zoho
   I.3 Applications of Zoho
           i. Business
           ii. Productivity and Collaboration
           iii. Utilities


How Does Zoho Relate to Other Applications?
   II.1 Comparison to Competitors
   II.2 Unique Uses


Real World Application
       III.1 Educational Lesson Plans
           i. Elementary
           ii. Secondary
           iii. Post Secondary
       III.2 Business/Industry


Demonstration of Educational Value


How is Zoho Used Internationally?



">I. History

">I.1 How Does Zoho Work?

Zoho is essentially a free Microsoft Office at your fingertips.  Like Microsoft Office, which has PowerPoint and Word, Zoho has many applications.  Although some applications, (Zoho CRM and Zoho Projects) have Pro features available for a fee, Zoho has stated a commitment to maintaining a free tier of entry-level applications.  A single registration grants access to all the Zoho products.  Zoho is also available to users with Google or Yahoo accounts.25, 33, 34

However, in regards to those applications that are only available for a fee the fees are quite reasonable and the applications themselves are definitely worth it. Some examples of these fees are:

Zoho CRM:

      Professional Edition- $12/user/month

      Enterprise Edition- $25/user/month

Zoho Projects:

      Standard- $12/month

      Express- $20/month

      Premium- $35/month

      Enterprise- $80/month

Zoho Invoice:

      Basic- $8/month

      Standard- $15/month

      Premium- $25/month

      Elite- $35/month

Zoho Creator:

      3 user pack- $15/month

      5 user pack- $25/month

      10 user pack- $45/month

      25 user pack- $100/month

      50 user pack- $175/month

Zoho Meeting:


Zoho Business:

      $50/user/year OR $5/user/month

Zoho Reports:

      250,000 rows and 2 users- $15/month

      500,000 rows and 5 users- $35/month

      1 million rows and 10 users- $60/month

      2 million rows and 20 users- $95/month

Zoho Discussions:

      Basic- $12/month

      Standard- $25/month

      Professional- $75/month

Zoho Challenge:

      Basic- $3/month

      Standard- $12/month

      Premium- $25/month

Zoho Recruit:

      monthly subscription and $12/ additional recruitor

Zoho Wiki:

      Business Edition- $8/user/month and 1 GB storage/user

Zoho Docs:

      Professional Edition- $3/month for 5 GB storage

      Business Edition- $9/month for 15 GB storage

Zoho Office for Microsoft SharePoint:

      Monthly Subscription- $3/user

      Annual Subscription- $24/user

Zoho People:

      Starts at $19 / Month 

      Goes up to $850 / Month for 1000 employees

See for more information and pricing

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I.2 Getting More Out of Zoho 
Zoho has opened the application programming interface (API) for six of its products: Zoho Writer, Zoho Sheet, Zoho Show, Zoho Creator, Zoho Meeting, and Zoho Planner.  This has enabled third parties to create programs that use the Zoho services.  Zoho itself has created a plugin to integrate Zoho into Microsoft  Word and Excel, as well as a browser plugin that can open text documents or spreadsheets without having word processing or spreadsheet applications installed.  It has also created a desktop widget that allows users to run Zoho products on their desktops in similar ways to traditional office programs.  In connection with the introduction of the iPhone, Zoho released a mobile version of Zoho Writer, Zoho Sheet, and Zoho Show called iZoho.  This is available at  Zoho also made its applications available on Facebook after the social networking website opened its application processing interface.25
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I.3 Applications of Zoho 
i. Business 
Zoho Business 
Zoho Business is an email hosting and document management system that can be utilized from the internet. Unlike most of the Zoho applications, this one is not free.22

Zoho Creator 
With Zoho Creator, one could make business applications, such as data reports and management.1

Zoho Customer Relationship Management 
With Zoho Customer Relationship Management (CRM), companies can organize their customer databases to track patterns and improve sales.2

Zoho Discussions 
This application is essentially an online discussion community that businesses can create and privately or publicly use. With Zoho Discussions, topics of interes can be discussed or problems within the business can be solved. Unlike most of the Zoho applications that are free, this one is not.21

Zoho Reports 
This application of Zoho allows people to upload databases or create databases to share with others.3

Zoho Invoice 
Zoho Invoice makes it simple and easy to send invoices and bills to anyone in the world.4

Zoho Marketplace 
This application is an online database of applications that ca be used for businesses, education, or personal uses. It is essentially an online store of applications with descriptions and examples of how to use them.23

Zoho Meeting 
Zoho Meeting allows for sharing one's desktop online to all participants in the meeting.5

Zoho People 
With Zoho People, one can manage and organize a business. For example, compiling an employee database with information and details about employees is one task available with Zoho People. With the employee's contact information in the database, one could send notifications automatically to the various employees.6

Zoho Projects 
Zoho Projects is an easy way to organize a team's project and all of the aspects of it. For example, there are sections such as task assignments, document sharing, a calendar for events, and time tracking. Unlike many Zoho applications, this one is not free.7
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ii. Productivity and Collaboration 
Zoho Chat 
Zoho Chat is basically Facebook chat and AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) combined. One can chat in groups or have many individual chats, simliar to chatting on AIM.8

Zoho Documents 
Zoho documents is relatively similar to Microsoft Office Word, but is easier to access because it is available through the internet. You can also share documents with others without having to use email.9

Zoho Mail 
Zoho mail is a basic e-mail program that is comparative to Google Mail or Office Outlook.10

Zoho Notebook 
Zoho Notebook is an application that is similar to Notepad, but is offered through the internet.11

Zoho Planner 
With Zoho Planner one can organize their day electronically rather than in a traditional paper planner.12

Zoho Share 
One could upload any file created through Microsoft Office to the internet using Zoho Share. You can chose to keep your file private or public, and when made public, others have the ability to view and make comments on all they see.13

Zoho Sheet 
Zoho Sheet is very similar to Microsoft Excel, but it allows anyone to make and share interactive spreadsheets without installing software.14

Zoho Show 
Zoho Show is a media rich presention tool that allows users to create presentations online. One could share their presentations with others, view public presentations, use chat to create and talk about the presentation, or import presentations from other presentation platforms.15

Zoho Wiki 
This application can be used to build and create a website. Some of its features include adding pictures and multi-media, and administrator controls.24

Zoho Writer 
Zoho Writer is a word processing program similar to Microsoft Word, but with some additions. Multiple users can work on a single document at the same time and collaborate easily. They can also import any type of file into their document and publish it for public view.16
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iii. Utilities 
Zoho 24x7 is an easy and fast way to keep up with the capabilities and performance of one's web sites.  One can check these from anywhere in the world and can also keep track of multiple step web sites as well as online business transactions.  One will also be instantly alerted for any time the website is down or not working properly.  There are also reports that can be viewed as well as trends that occur within the website.17

Zoho Challenge 
Zoho Challenge is an application within Zoho in which assessments can be created. This application is perfect for an education setting in order to test students. It could also be used in a business setting for an employer to evaluate employees.18

Zoho Polls 
Zoho Polls is a place where users can create polls or answer any polls already created. When one goes into a poll question, the results will be posted on the right side of the screen so one can see how the results of the poll are moving. When creating a poll, one can choose a rating poll or a voting poll. A rating poll is rating with stars and a voting poll is clicking on an available answer.19

Zoho Viewer 
Zoho Viewer allows the user to browse their personal files and post them online for others to view. One can also set an expiration date on the post for a specific amount of time.20

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II. How Does Zoho Relate to Other Applications? 
II.1 Comparison to Competitors 
Zoho and its applications are most comparable to the Microsoft Office program. What sets Zoho ahead of this program is that the majority of its applications are free and easily accessible through the internet. Although some of its applications do cost money, overall, Zoho costs less. It also has some features that Microsoft Office doesn't have, such as sharing through the internet.

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II.2 Unique Uses 

One of Zoho's unique uses is that it can be used with other technologies that act as plugins.

iPhone Plugin 
This plugin allows users to sync the work done on a smaller version of zoho (including mail, calender, and writer) to their iPhone.27,32

Mobile Plugin 
Like the iPhone plugin, it allows users to sync the work done on zoho to sync to their mobile data device (mail, calender, and writer).31

Microsoft Office Plugin 
This plugin allows users to work offline on word documents and spreadsheets with Zoho using Microsoft Word/Excel. These documents can be opened and saved in both Zoho Writer/Sheet/Share and Microsoft Word/Excel.29

Browser Plugin 
This plugin allows users to customize thier browsing experience by downloading Firefox or IE.25

Microsoft Outlook CRM Plugin 
This plugin allows users to sync their calenders, tasks, and business contacts to and from Zoho CRM and Microsoft Outlook.30

Facebook Plugin 
This plugin allows the user to upload zoho documents onto their facebook profiles. This is a great way to monitor those who have access to their work.26

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III. Real World Application 
III.1 Educational Lesson Plans 
Zoho has many applications for the classroom.  One of the main reasons to use Zoho for educational use is because it is free.  Zoho is based from the internet, so you just need a computer, PC or Mac, that has internet access.  Zoho is very compatible with Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint because it allows you to create in one program and edit in another.

i. Elementary Lesson Plans 
(1) Creative Storybooks
In this lesson plan, students will use Zoho Writer to write a fictional short story. They will then print these stories and paste them into a blank book, in which they will illustrate and make into a storybook.
The students will have to learn how to use Zoho Writer by creating a fictional short story, and make a storybook with the short story and creative illustrations
Creative Storybooks (PDF)
Creative Storybooks (DOC)

(2) Body Systems (S.T.E.M. Based)
In this lesson plan, students will use Zoho Show to create a slideshow about a specific human body system. They will then use Zoho Projects to compile every student's project.
The students will have to learn how to use Zoho Show and Zoho Projects to create and compile their presentations.
Body Systems (PDF)
Body Systems (DOC)

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ii. Secondary Lesson Plans 
(1) Invention Show (S.T.E.M. Based)
In this lesson plan, students will use Zoho Show to create a presentation about an invention that they believe has made a difference in our world, and they will also present the project to peers.
The students will have to learn how to use Zoho Show and create a presentation about an invention, and present the project to the peers in their class for evaluation
Invention Show (PDF)
Invention Show (DOC)

(2) Chat Pals
In this lesson plan, students will use Zoho Chat to communicate with students from a country outside of the United States of America.
The students will have to learn how to use Zoho Chat and then write about their conversations in a writing log.
Chat Pals (PDF)
Chat Pals (DOC)

(3) Science Presentations with Zoho Show

This lesson plan is designed to teach the students how to work on and with the Web 2.0 tool known as Zoho Show from the Zoho Office Suite collection.  It also will help the students learn about major scientists and their contributions to and/or discoveries in the scientific world.

Full lesson plan for Science Presentations with Zoho Show

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iii. Post Secondary Lesson Plans 
(1) Marshmallows (S.T.E.M. Based)
In this lesson plan, students will use Zoho Share to communicate with other groups in the class to compare measurements of marshmallows and how many will fit in a bag for manufacturing.
The students will have to learn how to use Zoho Share and then write a lab report about their measurement findings.
Marshmallows (PDF)
Marshmallows (DOC)

(2) Author Wiki
In this lesson plan, students will use Zoho Wiki to create an online presentation of an American author that they have researched.
The students will have to learn how to use Zoho Wiki and then will compile their research findings to complete the website. Each student will then write a summary about their project and experience.
Author Wiki (PDF)
Author Wiki (DOC)

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III.2 Business/Industry 
(1) Building a Contact Information Database
In this lesson plan, employees of a company will use Zoho People to record their contact information in a company database. They will also send a mass email to the other employees in the company.
The employees will have to learn how to use Zoho People, learn their co-workers's names, and send a mass email to all of the employees using Zoho People.
Building a Contact Information Database (PDF)
Building a Contact Information Database (DOC)

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IV. Demonstration of Educational Value 
The applications within Zoho can be utilized by teachers and students alike to enhance working and learning. Zoho provides the ability for students to access word processing and slideshow programs for free, thus making writing papers and creating presentations easy for any student.  The ability to access Zoho at any computer with an internet connection makes Zoho extremely reliable for students without Microsoft Word or other word processing programs.  Educators can incorporate programs from Zoho into their lesson plans.  To help with learning and communication, Zoho has the ability to make polls and view and share various documents.  This is a very helpful and reliable tool for the classroom. The following are some specific examples of how Zoho can be used in the classroom.

Zoho Challenge 
Teachers can use Zoho to make review tests and the students can complete them online.  These online tests offer easy grading to cut down on wasted time.
Zoho Challenge allows teachers to post exams, quizzes, and tests online.  It allows for multiple choice questions that can go into great detail on a subject.  The teacher can also put a time limit on the test, so that the student would be doing the test as if in a classroom setting.  Difficulty levels are found automatically as well as answers being given immediately upon answering a question.  The teacher can then check the student's details about the test that they just took as well as send an email to the student.  Results from each exam, quiz, or test can be viewed in a graph for the teacher to compare students' progress with the course material. Wasting time in the classroom always seems to be an issue in schools, and using Zoho Challenge allows the teacher to cut down on wasted time with grading exams.18

Zoho Writer, Zoho Show, Zoho Sheet 
Zoho Writer, Show, and Sheet allow teachers to leave documents online for students to review, print, or study.  This can be very helpful when a teacher is absent or school is cancelled because it allows for contact with students.  In addition, these documents are available to students 24 hours a day 7 days a week. These applications also allow multiple teachers to have their students collaborate on projects.  The students can save their documents online and can be accessed by anyone in the group through the internet.  These applications also enable students to work simultaneously on a project.14,15,16

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V. How is Zoho Used Internationally?

Zoho web applications can be used in six different languages: Japanese, German, Chinese, Norwegian, and Swedish. There are several applications that can translate into 30 different languages, and soon all of the applications of Zoho will be available in more languages. The site can also be accessed by different users in different countries simultaneously. This makes it much easier for international communication and cooperation between users.28

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VI. References 
The following are references that were used while compiling information about Zoho.

Related Articles 
Zoho Office Suite Review Overview
Online Office Suite Zoho Gows Offline With Google Gears
Zoho's Facebook Integration Brings Office Apps To Social Networking...Sort Of
Understanding Zoho, The Company Taking On Google, MS
Zoho - Office 2.0
Google vs Zoho: Can Either Replace Microsoft
Zoho Receives a 2008 "Webware 100" Award for Productivity
Zoho Welcomes Prestige Home Automation as One Millionth User
Happily Bootstrapping: Zoho CEO Sridhar Vembu (Part 1)
Zoho's Last Stand

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  1. Unknown User (rveit)

    Hey everyone, its wednesday october 29 and our first day to work on this project. I think we could have this whole thing done relatively quick. As a result, I would like for us to be here for the entire class, no one leaving early. Class is over at 1:30pm so I want us to make use of that entire time. If, at 1pm, you want to work on our web assignment that's due next week that is fine with me. If not, we should be working on this project the whole time.

    1. Unknown User (claguire)

      Sounds good

    2. Unknown User (meharrel)

      I work every Wednesday at 1:30 in Tarkington, so I can't stay for the whole class period and would have to leave around 1

  2. Unknown User (ljachec)

    class ends at 1:15 not 1:30

  3. Unknown User (rveit)

    Our first drafts are due the week of november 10. So let's get it started. Remember, if we do well enough we will not have to take a final. See me to receive your assignments/roles, if you want to volunteer for a specific one let me know

    1. Unknown User (li149)

      Great organization of the "children"! I am supposed to see everybody's comments here. Please make good use of "the comments" to exchange ideas and discussion with your team (wink)

  4. Unknown User (rveit)

    it is tuesday night and i am at this meeting with the other team leaders.       here's is what we need.

    +++we have a few more features left so i need people to do those like we did last week.

    +++I need two people to start brainstorming on our showcase, look at the different features we've talked about, how can we present them, what materials do we need...etc

    +++I want one person, and I will help you with this, to look into contacting the creators of zoho so we can get some feedback

    +++I need one or two other people to look over what we have accomplished. I need these two people to check how well everything is organized. make sure there is a uniform pattern and a nice flow. make sure everything is easily manageable.

    +++when we complete the first draft of our features I will assign us a lesson plan for that feature. I will help with people that have two features to work on.

    there are other objectives and questions that I need to have us address but I dont have my notes in front of me so I can't really recall what they are specifically but I will get us working on those as well. we have plenty to do this wednesday so plan on staying the whole class.

  5. Unknown User (rveit)

    October 27th    =    (week 1)     begin date

    November 3rd   =    (week 2)     online discussions, roles & responsibilities

    November 10th =    (week 3)     INITIAL DRAFTS COMPLETED!!! chapter and presentation

    November 17th =    (week 4)     FULL DRAFTS COMPLETED!!! videos, handouts and posters. All presentation material is due

    November 24th =    (week 5)     Final Evaluation/ Presentation Practice   (this is the tuesday before we leave for Thanksgiving break on wednesday)

    December 1st  =     (week 6)    final versions complete. showcase is on December 4th

  6. Unknown User (claguire)

    Keep up the good work everyone!

  7. Unknown User (mkjenkin)

    I added the utility groups under utilities so please don't make another page for them (Site 24x7, Zoho Challenge, Zoho Polls, and Zoho Viewer)

  8. Unknown User (meharrel)

    Good job everyone.  This will be a fun idea to present and we are going to get a superior rating. (big grin)

  9. Unknown User (ashettle)

    As far as brainstorming for the showcase, I know this is sorta frivolous, but can we all get matching shirts or something? (blue star)

  10. Unknown User (ashettle)

    The Product Manager for Zoho People contacted me today offering to share her experiences with Zoho People. I'll write back to her now. Perhaps she could be an asset to us. (lightbulb)

    1. Unknown User (rveit)

      absolutely, how did this whole thing come about? did you contact her first? or did she just randomly find us somehow? yes, get her comments and feedback definately

      1. Unknown User (ashettle)

        I was playing around with Zoho People next thing I know, she e-mailed me asking if I'd like to talk to her about it. (thumbs up) It was rather random, but hey, I'll take it.

  11. Unknown User (rveit)

    I created our team a zoho account

    username: edci270

    password: zohoteam

  12. Unknown User (meharrel)

    I just added an explaination of zoho challenge under the utilities and applications.  Anything else need to be done?

  13. Unknown User (mkjenkin)

    I don't know how to make the extra lines and empty spots go away!!???  Can anyone help me?

    1. Unknown User (rveit)

      great job so far!!!! i have no idea, ive been fooling with it for  a while but every time i change somethin it all goes away so i have to restore it

  14. Unknown User (ashettle)

    GOOD WORK TO ALL ! Great job on Thursday, everybody. (big grin)