Sunday, April 12, 2015

Open and edit Hangul (.hwp) files online with Hancom's Netffice 24

What is Netffice 24, and why use it?

Netffice 24 logo
Note: I've been trying to highlight various means of opening/using Hangul .hwp files lately. Other such posts can be found here

In addition to the methods for opening Hangul (.hwp) files that I talked about before, you can also now use Hancom's new Netffice 24 (넷피스 24) service for opening, editing, and exporting Hangul files, all in a web browser with no special software needed. This terribly-named* service is a cloud-based office suite from Hancom (the company behind HWP) that seems designed to compete with Google Docs. Much of the styles/inspiration seems similar. In fact, if you're familiar with the Google Docs/Drive ecosystem, using Netffice 24 will be familiar to you.

* Someone needs to scrutinize these contractions for suitability in English. It's a good idea on paper (Net + Office) but I had no idea how to pronounce this until I saw it written in Korea. What sound would "TF" together possibly make? If your hangul reading isn't up to par, it's pronounced "Net-piss" (no joke) or "Net-piece-uh."

There are a few very good points about this service:
  1. The majority of its use can be done in English. The screenshots I provide below demonstrate how to navigate it in Korean, but already since then I've discovered that the English interface is expanding. I expect soon this can be used entirely in English (negating the need for this guide, really!)
  2. You can sign-in / sign-up using your Facebook or Google account. Rather than having to register, you can one-click sign-in using your SNS credentials. Signing-in under Google will also allow you to access your Google Drive documents, for editing in the Netffice environment. 
  3. No extra software needed. This suite nearly negates any need for the full Hangul Office software suite, depending on your usage needs. I was able to open/edit several documents, then re-save them either as .HWP or export as .PDF and all within my browser (I tested both Chrome and Firefox with no issues)
As a result, Netffice has quickly become my preferred method of dealing with HWP files, without having the actual Hangul Office application (I use Lubuntu mostly, so it's really not even an option). 

So, how does this work?

I'll show you a walk-through of converting an HWP file on my hard-drive to a PDF. But along the way, you'll see how you can fully edit/manipulate the files online, making 'conversion' per-se less necessary than it was in the past.

Let's begin.

Walk-through of Netffice 24

UPDATE May 2015: The Netffice interface, which I demonstrated below in Korean, is available in English! 

Netffice homepage
First, visit and log-in. You'll be able to log-in using Google, Facebook, or creating a traditional account there. As you can see in the screenshot, my registration was 'bumped' up to Pro status, whatever that means.

Here, you're presented with the Netffice 24 "drive" folder. Think of this page as your Google Drive file list. There are two welcome messages already inside. You can immediatly notice how clean and user-friendly the interface is. 

Now, to upload your .HWP document, click the (+) icon and choose 업로드 ("Upload")

Once the document is uploaded, click it and it will open in a light-box viewer like this. From this viewer, you can "Share" or "Download" the file, but to edit the file, click 편집 ("Edit").

At this point, I was using Firefox, and received this message stating that the Web Office editor is optimized for Chrome.

Here now, the document is open in Hword, the "Google Docs" text editor of Netffice. Spreadsheets and Presentations open in their own respective online applications.

Of course, we could just copy/paste the contents of the document at this point, but let's export it as a PDF. For this, click the three-line "hamburger" menu, then 파일 ("File"), then 인쇄 ("Print").

This automatically generated a PDF version of the file, which began downloading. 

Final Thoughts

That's it! Manipulating Hangul files has never been so easy, nor so free! To be honest, this service is sort of a life-saver, and long overdue. I personally no longer use any of the other software methods I've mentioned before. Cheers to Hancom for making this service available, for making it free, and for making it in English. Millions of torrent pirates can rest easy.

One important thing I do find odd, however, is that (for now?), you can only upload Hangul (.hwp) documents. If you try to create a document from scratch, it will only do so in the Microsoft .docx format. I get around this by having a single .hwp file I leave "blank" and saving it under various names after writing it up each time (it auto-saves, so I manually save a copy under a new name, then next time just erase it when I'm ready to write a new document). Pain in the ass? A little, but most of my work involves editing/reading anyway, so I abide.

Finally, don't forget that my other posts about opening/editing Hangul .hwp files can be found here

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