Glide Write offers 20 fonts, enough for basic but uninspired text editing. Emoticons and special characters are also available. It's a snap to add a table, a hyperlink, or numbered or bulleted points. Glide Write lets you import HTML, Microsoft Word, OpenOffice, RTF, and Pages documents. The importing process is clunky, however, as we could only access that from the Glide Docs page and not the Glide Write composition window. But we liked that when we pasted text from Word into Glide Write 1.0 beta, Glide detected the source and let us clean up funky formatting.
You can export your work from Glide Write as Word, PDF, or RTF files. If you export several documents at once, Glide will save them locally within a Zip file. We're disappointed that Glide Write (and the Google Writely and Zoho Writer betas), lacks compatibility with Corel WordPerfect. Glide offers a spelling checker in addition to a dictionary and a thesaurus, which Google Writely lacks. Glide Write beta lets you paste or pop in a URL of an image to display it without making you walk through the upload menu. Otherwise, you can insert an image or stream a music or video file into a Glide Write document, but you'll have to grab that content from your already uploaded stash of Glide Media.
Naturally, you can create a Glide Blog that can feature streaming media from your account, but Glide Write 1.0 beta doesn't provide tools for posting to third-party blogs. If you keep a blog with Blogger, WordPress, TypePad or another service, check out the beta edition of either Zoho Writer or Google Writely.
Thankfully, if you invite other people to access your Glide Write file, they do not have to join the Glide society. Glide clusters this function within its Glide Docs page, rather than provide this option within the document window as Writely does. On a positive note, Glide enables access to an unlimited number of people you pick, while Google Writely caps access to 50 users. Whereas Google Writely beta and Zoho Writer beta let you allow other users either read or write access to your work, Glide sets a more complex hierarchy of permissions. You can grant view-only or edit access to your file and allow them to upload or download content, and even set an expiration date to end their access. Plus, we like that you can see exactly how and when another user accessed or altered your document.
For Windows users, another strength of Glide Write beta is its ability to synchronize with Microsoft Word files saved on your PC; you'll need to download Glide Sync to do so. And the mobile edition of Glide enables you to view and edit Glide Write documents on handheld devices.
We were irked that clicking the help link within Glide Write prompted an error message. For guidance, we either had to visit the Glide Effortless home page and click Getting Started or click the Learn Glide link from the bottom of the page. The knowledge base is detailed and searchable, but we found nothing when we looked up export. You can contact firstname.lastname@example.org for help (we found that address hard to locate), and the company promises to walk you through features by e-mail or phone at any time if you need extra assistance. Live, online support is in the works.
Glide Write beta is not yet a final product, and we found it somewhat inconvenient as a standalone word processor. For that purpose, Google Writely beta is the most straightforward tool we've tested. However, Glide Write should be handy if you're planning to use the Glide Effortless system to store all sorts of digital media and collaborate with other Glide users. Glide could be a natural fit for digital artists, students, and families who want to stay on the same page with shared projects. We're interested in seeing how Glide Write will evolve when it leaves beta testing.