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A Reliable Free Alternative to MS Office?

In the land of open source, there are a few tools available that work as MS Office suites. The King of that stack has actually been, for a very long time, LibreOffice … with great factor. LibreOffice provides all the features you could ever desire from an office suite, maintains a user friendly user interface, and plays well with the competition. I’ve utilized LibreOffice for several years and can not imagine utilizing anything various.Previously.Sort of.

You might have heard of the business SoftMaker. They are the creators of SoftMaker Workplace, which runs on Windows, Linux, and Android. That exact same company has just recently launched a brand-new item, FreeOffice, and it might shake up the competitors very quickly.
Why another product?
Among the problems that has actually plagued LibreOffice for a long time now is MS Workplace compatibility. Yes, it works very well with the fundamental functions. Once you start entering more complex files (or MS Office password secured files), LibreOffice can run into some concerns. I’ve seen LibreOffice stumble on a variety of events with track modifications. If track modifications is utilized for simple modifying, it works fantastic. However, once you start using track modifications for formatting things start to go sideways. I have actually missed out on whole format modifications, thanks to this very issue.
With FreeOffice you will lastly experience going back and forth between MS Workplace files and another suite (practically) issue complimentary. That’s a significant win for anybody desiring an open source (or cross platform) alternative.
Freeoffice is readily available for Linux, Windows, and Android. You can download the installers for Windows and Linux on the FreeOffice downloads page. For Android, you will find FreeOffice on the Google Play Store, as specific pieces (FreeOffice TextMaker, FreeOffice PlanMaker, FreeOffice Presentations) or Office HD for tablets.
The versions
FreeOffice is really nothing more than a totally free version of Softmaker Office. You’ll have to make the relocation to SoftMaker Office if you desire to up your game with this suite. The distinctions in between the two are very little. With the $69.95 requirement you get all the functions of the complimentary variation, plus a permit for 3 computer systems in addition to a Softmaker redux of the Thunderbird email customer that incorporates with the suite. For $99.95 you get all the features of the free and conventional editions, plus a number of additional dictionaries.
Despite the added features, exactly what you’ll desire FreeOffice for is the compatibility it offers with MS Workplace. FreeOffice is the only choice, on the Linux platform, that can open MS Workplace password-protected files. That’s an important function for a lot of company users. And beyond some seriously advanced features, FreeOffice does the very best job of any workplace suite, not called MS Office, of opening and working with MS Workplace documents.

It’s not perfect

When you hear that a software provides Function X, you expect that function to work. Every major office suite I’ve tried has made pledges of MS Office compatibility. Some of those products have actually come a cropper, while others have, for the many part was successful. FreeOffice is no exception to the latter. Although it does prosper to a greater degree than other workplace suite, you will discover (as you most likely anticipate) specific innovative features just are not supported. Naturally, most of users aren’t working with sophisticated features, so the masses will most likely see absolutely no concerns when working in between MS Workplace and FreeOffice.
There’s one glaring problem I find to be a bit odd. With FreeOffice you can open and save in the following formats:
DBF, DIF, DOC, DOT, HTM, ODT, PMD, PMV, POT, PPS, PPT, PRD, PRS, PRV, PSW, PWD, RTF, SLK, TMD, TMV, TXT, XLS, XLT
Notification the absence of DOCX, XLSX, and PPTX formats?
With FreeOffice you can open (but not conserve as) the following formats:
CSV, DOCM, DOCX, DOTM, DOTX, HTML, OTT, PMW, POTM, POTX, PPSM, PPSX, PPTM, PPTX, PRN, SDC, SXW, WPD, WRI, XLSM, XLSX, XLTM, XLTX
As soon as you open the newer MS Office files, you will need to conserve them in the older format. Because LibreOffice provides the ability to both open and conserve in the new format, why I consider this odd is. Why was this ignored by FreeOffice? More than likely a licensing problem with Microsoft.
Why bother?
I need to start by saying this: Because MS Workplace is among Microsoft’s greatest cash cows, I don’t think we will ever see a 100% drop-in replacement … on any platform, by any company. However the truth is, with all the offered options (Google Docs, LibreOffice, Apple Efficiency Apps, etc), fewer and less people are depending upon MS Office. If you’re looking for a single office suite that plays well with everybody, FreeOffice ought to be placed on your radar. It’s not perfect and offers a slightly out-of-date user interface (Figure A), however if you require a free suite of tools that will allow you to work well with MS Office (in addition to can be expected), FreeOffice is a great alternative.

Personally, I’ll be sticking to the one-two punch of Google Docs and LibreOffice … however I have no requirement to work with MS Workplace (as my editor now works with LibreOffice too).

Nevertheless, it’s assuring to know, ought to I need to open an MS Office password safeguarded file (or a file that LibreOffice does not care for), I now have an alternative.

Written by Peter Perez

Peter Perez is the Founder and CEO of PCe Solutions, a Full Service IT Support & Consulting Company based out of Alberta and serving both Calgary, Edmonton and their surrounding areas. Contact us toll free at 1-(855)-423-3183 or send us an email at [email protected] for more information.

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