CryptPad is a privacy friendly alternative for Google Docs and Office Online

Jul 31, 2019

One of the most useful features in Microsoft Office and Google Docs is editing documents online and collaborating with other authors in real-time. But what about the privacy of the services?

Local applications offer better privacy. You can check out LibreOffice if you don't require online access.


CryptPad is an online document editing service, akin to Google Docs and Office Online, sans the privacy issues. It encrypts the data as you type which ensures that your data cannot be accessed by anyone else. The service has been around for a couple of years and has made a name for itself among privacy conscious users.

CryptPad is a privacy friendly alternative for Google Docs and Office Online

The options are similar to what's available in other office suites, so you're probably familiar with the tools. Also, there is a nice FAQ section to help you get started.

Instead of reviewing the basics, I'll tell you what's unique in CryptPad. You can visit the official website to start using it; you don't need an account to create a pad but the data will only be stored for 3 months for unregistered users. You can sign up for free to store your pads forever. The registration is done using a Script Key derivation and the key, username and password are stored on your computer. The downside of this is that your password cannot be recovered if you forget it.

Registered accounts offer other functionality, e.g. access to all stored documents on all devices, and the ability to upload and share documents

Note that free storage is limited to 50 Megabytes; not much considering that you could fill the space up easily with just a few documents. A premium version is available -- for a price -- that offers 5 Gigabytes to 50 Gigabytes of storage.

You can check out the features of the three different versions -- anonymous, registered, and premium -- here.

These are the various pads (editors) that the service has to offer:

  • Rich Text - Word Processor
  • Code - Code editor for programming
  • Presentation - PowerPoint alternative
  • Poll - Poll creation tool
  • Kanban - A to do list creator
  • Whiteboard - A drawing board
  • CryptDrive - Storage for your Pads (You get 50MB for free)
  • Sheet - Excel alternative that is in beta (requires sign-up to use)

All pads support auto save and file uploading (saved in your CryptDrive). CryptPad also supports collaboration which means you can co-author documents with other people in real-time. There is a chat section available in the side-bar which you can use to communicate with your collaborators.

Sharing a link using the built-in option allows you to grant the user read-only or editing privileges. You can manage your CryptDrive data by creating folders and organizing them the way you want. Every document has a version history as well; in case you made an error while editing, you can retrieve the previous version to get your data back.

Brief overview of the Rich Text editor.

The GUI of CryptPad is quite similar across the pad types it has to offer. It has an editing pane, a side bar and a toolbar. The Rich Text Editor is slight different from the interface used in Microsoft Word Online. Most notably, it doesn't have a status bar, which Word uses for displaying  the page number, word count, language. Every formatting option and other options can be accessed from the single toolbar which is great, compared to the infamous ribbon interface.

The only drawback in CryptPad is that it can only import/export documents in a few formats. For example, the text editor supports  HTML and PDF (export only) formats, the code editor can save your work in MD, and so on.


CryptPad has a strict Privacy Policy, and here's the short version of it. It does not collect your password and the content stored in your pads. Your data is yours alone because of the client side encryption. Though that it collects your IP Address (for security reasons) and to identify you as the anonymous owner of your pad, CryptPad says it does not log the IP address to track users or usage.

CryptPad also supports self-hosting, if you want to install it on your own server and be in full control over the server-side as well.

Now you: which online office suite do you use?

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  1. ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    Doesn’t Windows 8 know that www. or http:// are passe ?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on August 4, 2012 at 7:57 pm

      Well it is a bit difficulty to distinguish between domains and files for instance.

    2. Leonidas Burton said on September 4, 2023 at 4:51 am

      I know a service made by google that is similar to Google bookmarks.

  2. VioletMoon said on August 16, 2023 at 5:26 pm

    @Ashwin–Thankful you delighted my comment; who knows how many “gamers” would have disagreed!

  3. Karl said on August 17, 2023 at 10:36 pm


    The comments section under this very article (3 comments) is identical to the comments section found under the following article:

    Not sure what the issue is, but have seen this issue under some other articles recently but did not report it back then.

  4. Anonymous said on August 25, 2023 at 11:44 am

    Omg a badge!!!
    Some tangible reward lmao.

    It sucks that redditors are going to love the fuck out of it too.

  5. Scroogled said on August 25, 2023 at 10:57 pm

    With the cloud, there is no such thing as unlimited storage or privacy. Stop relying on these tech scums. Purchase your own hardware and develop your own solutions.

    1. lollmaoeven said on August 27, 2023 at 6:24 am

      This is a certified reddit cringe moment. Hilarious how the article’s author tries to dress it up like it’s anything more than a png for doing the reddit corporation’s moderation work for free (or for bribes from companies and political groups)

  6. El Duderino said on August 25, 2023 at 11:14 pm

    Almost al unlmited services have a real limit.

    And this comment is written on the dropbox article from August 25, 2023.

  7. John G. said on August 26, 2023 at 1:29 am

    First comment > @ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    For the God’s sake, fix the comments soon please! :[

  8. Kalmly said on August 26, 2023 at 4:42 pm

    Yes. Please. Fix the comments.

  9. Kim Schmidt said on September 3, 2023 at 3:42 pm

    With Google Chrome, it’s only been 1,500 for some time now.

    Anyone who wants to force me in such a way into buying something that I can get elsewhere for free will certainly never see a single dime from my side. I don’t even know how stupid their marketing department is to impose these limits on users instead of offering a valuable product to the paying faction. But they don’t. Even if you pay, you get something that is also available for free elsewhere.

    The algorithm has also become less and less savvy in terms of e.g. English/German translations. It used to be that the bot could sort of sense what you were trying to say and put it into different colloquialisms, which was even fun because it was like, “I know what you’re trying to say here, how about…” Now it’s in parts too stupid to translate the simplest sentences correctly, and the suggestions it makes are at times as moronic as those made by Google Translations.

    If this is a deep-learning AI that learns from users’ translations and the phrases they choose most often – which, by the way, is a valuable, moneys worthwhile contribution of every free user to this project: They invest their time and texts, thereby providing the necessary data for the AI to do the thing as nicely as they brag about it in the first place – alas, the more unprofessional users discovered the translator, the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, the greater the aggregate of linguistically illiterate users has become, and the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, as it now learns the drivel of every Tom, Dick and Harry out there, which is why I now get their Mickey Mouse language as suggestions: the inane language of people who can barely spell the alphabet, it seems.

    And as a thank you for our time and effort in helping them and their AI learn, they’ve lowered the limit from what was once 5,000 to now 1,500…? A big “fuck off” from here for that! Not a brass farthing from me for this attitude and behaviour, not in a hundred years.

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