SoftMaker FreeOffice is a mature full-featured office suite for Linux and Windows by SoftMaker Software GmbH, a German software company. The suite has been in development since 1987. This suite is not released under an open source license.
FreeOffice offers TextMaker, PlanMaker, and Presentations, with an interface that is similar to Microsoft Office 2003. Compatibility is not just limited to look and feel; the suite is Microsoft Office-compatible. Each component is fully Unicode-enabled.
This suite is slick, effective, and works well. For most users, FreeOffice offers all of the functionality needed, but it won’t be suitable for open source enthusiasts. It also lacks the grunt of LibreOffice / OpenOffice.
There is a commercial version which has additional functionality.
- Handles complex documents competently with a “continuous” view (displaying only the main content of the page), a built-in outliner, track changes and comments.
- Good editing and formatting options including SmartText, calculations in text and tables, automatic numbering, and true master pages.
- Tables with true nested and multi-page tables.
- Language tools – spell-check in 58 languages (using Hunspell), on-the-fly spell-check, and automatic hyphenation in 33 languages.
- Data exchange functionality, open and save DOC files, open DOCX files including password-protected files, open and save OpenDocument and OpenOffice.org documents, open and save RTF, HTML, Pocket Word and plain-text files, create PDF files.
- Graphic capabilities (although these are limited).
PlanMaker is FreeOffice’s spreadsheet application.
- Comprehensive calculations – 330+ functions, complex numbers and array functions supported, external references and more.
- Analysing data – goal seeker, data grouping, AutoFiler, database functions.
- Create attractive worksheets with formatting options.
- Good drawing and image functions, large symbols library, TextArt feature.
- Support for 70 difference charge types, free rotation of 3D charts.
- Data exchange functionality – open and save XLS files, open XLSX files including password-protected files, create PDF files.
Presentations is the third component of the suite. It is a presentation program with MS Powerpoint & OO Impress compatibility.
- Comprehensive drawing and image functions, TextArt feature.
- Design templates, pre-defined slide layouts.
- Data exchange functionality – open and save PPT files including password-protected files, open PPTX files including password-protected files (complex files are not handled well), print and create PDF files.
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