Support for Word Online would be a game changer

Since MS Word won’t disappear anytime soon and Word Online has become a serious competitor for Google Docs, it would be a huge game changer if support for Word Online became available in Paperpile. Personally, I like Google Docs a lot but there is so much resistance among collaborators to switch from MS Word to Google Docs that it would make my life a lot easier if both online text editors were supported by Paperpile. It would also attract a considerable number of new users to Paperpile, meaning it may be well worth it to put some serious resources behind this strategic expansion.


It’s definitely on our radar. Microsoft has introduced a new API which would allow us to easily integrate with Qord.

Unfortunately, the API is not available yet for Word online. As a matter of fact it’s only available for Word 2013 for Windows.

We hope Microsoft will support Word online or at least Word for Mac soon. We should be well prepared to migrate our Docs plugin to Word once its technically possible.


I’m trying to copy/paste between the two.

Hackpad is a superior experience than google docs for collaborative writing. They were just acquired by dropbox but no integrated online storage yet.

Would be great as a 3rd option just because the collaboration tools are so much nicer than gdocs. They just released their API:

Cool, I’ve not heard about Hackpad before. We are closely watching developments from Google, Microsoft and Apple in the collaborative/cloud writing space. Let’s see what Dropbox makes out of Hackpad. If they make it into something mainstream with a good API we would love to integrate with it.

More generally, it will be very interesting in what direction Dropbox will move. Online storage will be a commodity very soon with Google and Microsoft already offering unlimited space with their office products. So it seems Dropbox will have to come up with something to compete in the long term. They’re great product people so they might be able to offer a real alternative to Google Docs, MS Word and Apple pages.

In this context, the following MS Word support utility, which I brought up before in a private support request, would help a lot already:

A simple option to format/export the google docs text with citations in the unformated Endnote style (curly braces with the reference ID in Endnote style). This way MS Word/Endnote users (vast majority of authors in academia) can continue to work with GDocs/Paperpile documents using MS Word/Endnote without re-associating every citation manually with their reference manager. Perhaps this could be handled simply by introducing a special citation style that mimics the unformatted Endnote style? - I have found myself in many collaborative writing situations where this would have been extremely useful. Expecting and/or teaching every colleague to switch to GDocs works only in some collaborations. When it comes to finalizing papers and grant applications every team of authors will switch to the writing tool the weakest link in the team is able to handle rather than the one they should be using as there is never an excuse for missing a deadline.

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We have been working on some technical improvements of the Google Docs plugin behind the scene over the summer. Although we have not implemented this feature we are at least in a position where this would not be all that hard to add.

If I understand correctly the use case would be the following: You write your paper collaboratively in Paperpile and Google Docs. In the end you want to format the final paper in Word and Endnote. So Paperpile would add an export function that (i) converts the paper to Word with EndNote style placeholders and (ii) creates a RIS file or any other file EndNote can read that includes the corresponding references.

Is that what you had in mind?

Exactly. Essentially one would output two files: the RIS file which works already PLUS a Word file with the citations in unformatted EndNote style. Please also note, if these placeholders could also be used to format a Google Docs, then we could import Word/Endnote documents into Google Docs which would get you very close to a full Word/Endnote interchange feature in Paperpile. This would be extremely useful for the time being since Word (Office Online) support is not available yet. Also this or a similar workaround could provide partial support for offline writing with Paperpile (discussed in another thread). Here users could write on their paper in Google Docs offline mode and add citations manually by ref IDs in this or a similar unformatted style. The ref IDs could be looked up from a dump of the Paperpile reference database to a RIS/Bibtex or tabular file, which is essentially how I write in Latex (with Bibtex file from Paperpile) when I am offline. Once things are back to online mode the citations Google Docs could be rendered as usual. This is certainly not an ideal solution but still very helpful for users who travel a lot. Whether this is technically possible is another question only you or your developers can answer.

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Does this mean a Word 2013 plugin is in the works?

My issue right now is that I need to use desktop Word 2013 since google docs can’t handle the larger file size of my book. So a Word 2013 plugin for paperpile references would be great. I dont use Endnote, so I don’t really understand the RIS/endnote jargon. Is is not possible to just have paperpile references that can be copy n’ pasted between Google Docs and Word?

I just successfully wrote a grant application in gdocs then pasted it into word. The references copied over just fine, including the paperpile links (which I had to remove). The main issue I had was that the font size got changed and the images reformatted incorrectly, but that is just to be expected when dealing with word…

You say Google Docs can’t handle the file size. Is this because of limitations of Google Doc or Paperpile (i.e. related to this issue here)?

If it’s a Paperpile issue we will make it our priority to fix this issue.

In any case, if you are using Word 2013 for Windows you might be able to be the first to use a Word plugin for Paperpile. It’s the only version of Word at the moment that supports the new API I mentioned above.

I was just referring to the ongoing Google Docs performance issue. (assuming it has something to do with the file size or number of references)

Do you guys have a Paperpile plugin ready for Word 2013?

So if you disable Paperpile there are no issues even for your big files? We don’t have a Word plugin at the moment.

I haven’t tried disabling paperpile on those doc files yet. I will try that the next time I’m working in the file and it starts acting up. Do I just need to disable the browser plugin to disable the google docs plugin?

Any timeline on the Word 2013 plugin?

Yes, disabling the browser plugin completely would tell us if it is related to Paperpile or not.

No timeline yet for Word 2013. We are still improving the Google Docs plugins. As we hope that we can re-use much of the code between plugins though, that means we are indirectly also making good progress on the Word plugin.

You won’t miss it once we have a beta ready for testing.

Id like to be in on the Word 2013 beta when it comes around.

Any news on the support for word online now? It has been quite a while and Microsoft word is gaining much momentum. I converted to using Google docs but now am switching back to office 365/word online as the features have improved tremendously and cloud support is also on par with google. I have been sticking to endnote for word but love paperpile. Could you bring it to microsoft word online/365 ASAP? This will greatly expand your user base.

How do we interchange between Word/Ednote and Paperpile/GDocs? This would solve the problems im having with collaborators

I’ve give a few hints in one of your other threads.

A word plugin should solve these issues. It’s also possible now to export a Google Document to a Word document and a EndNote RIS file so that you can seamlessly transition to EndNote. It’s largely undocumented at the moment but we hope to write some documentation for it soon. Basically you use our new sidebar add-on and export the Document with EndNote citation codes and the references as RIS with the corresponding data:

However, that’s a one way street as EndNote of course does not support exporting to Google Docs/Paperpile.

Once we have a Word plugin, it should be much simpler. We will post any news about this here.

Thanks Stefan. So what Im understanding from this is that if I were to download a GDoc to Word ( with paperpile links) which allowed collaborators to edit etc. and then re-uploaded the revised doc to Paperpile, the reference links will change accordingly? My main concern is that when I re-upload the document, the references/citations are no longer updating automatically when I “Format citations” so Id have to manually go through and fix each of them up ( which is precisely what Im trying to avoid).