After Hours

10 reasons why Kingsoft Office is better than the competition

Move over Microsoft Office and LibreOffice - there's a new suite in town.

Unless you live in China, you've probably never heard of Kingsoft Office. That's a shame because it's one of the best office suites on the market. Though it doesn't contain all the tools offered by either Microsoft Office or LibreOffice (it offers only a word processor, spreadsheet, and presentation tools), it's far more cost effective than the Microsoft offering and more stable than the LibreOffice alternative.

Don't believe me? Until you actually try out the tool, the best way I can convince you is to give you 10 solid reasons why Kingsoft Office is superior to the competition.

1: Compatibility

Kingsoft Office has a high compatibility with the de facto standard in business -- Microsoft Office. The Kingsoft suite was developed with compatibility in mind and it shows. You can open/save documents (Word, Excel, and PowerPoint) from Microsoft Office 97/2000/2003/2007/2010 (in both standard and compressed formats). But there is one caveat. Although Kingsoft Office is highly compatible with the Microsoft Office formats, it is not compatible with LibreOffice/OpenOffice default formats. You need to save those documents in the Microsoft Office format (or, say, RTF) to open them. But as for Microsoft Office compatibility, Kingsoft bests LibreOffice and OpenOffice.

2: Page layout/word processing

Kingsoft Office Writer is almost like a word processor/page layout tool in one. With the new Paragraph Layout tool, you can drag and drop your paragraph layouts (on a per-paragraph basis) to make the document look exactly how you need it to look. There is also an abundance of what Kingsoft calls Materials (lines, connectors, shapes, arrows, images, buttons, etc.) that you can quickly add to the document. As well, the Page Layout tab allows you to easily add/change things like orientation, size, breaks, columns, line numbers, text wrapping, and text direction.

3: Integrated backups

This is one feature that really makes Kingsoft Office stand out. Kingsoft Writer creates an initial backup upon first save. You also set up the frequency of autosaves, which works in conjunction with the backup management. Backup management works very much like the OpenOffice crash recovery, only you have access to the tool even when a crash has not occurred.

4: Tabbed interface

Unlike the other office suites, Kingsoft makes it simple to work with multiple windows by taking a page from the world of web browsers. Every time you open a new document (either within Writer, Spreadsheets, or Presentations), it will open as a new tab within the main window. This makes it incredibly simple to switch back and forth between documents and doesn't clutter your desktop. You can even have the documents open side by side, top to bottom, or cascaded.

5: Skin (UI) manager

Kingsoft Office offers two skins: a Ribbon-like UI and a classic, drop-down menu-based interface. With the paid version, you can quickly switch back and forth between UIs, which means no matter what type of interface you (or your users) prefer, you can have it. I have actually found the Ribbon-like interface to be the best. It's like the Microsoft Ribbon interface on steroids. You have faster access to features and tools than you do in the Microsoft version. Finally, if you're an Ubuntu Unity user, Kingsoft Office integrates with the HUD without any extra work (unlike the broken HUD interface with LibreOffice).

6: Mobile version

Kingsoft Office not only has a desktop version for Windows and Linux, but also for Android and should have a full version for IOS as well (currently it offers only the Presentation software). Without a doubt, Kingsoft Office is the king of Android office suites. It has the single best interface, and it offers more functionality and features than any other mobile office suite.

7: Outstanding reference/review tools

If you are a fan of creating TOCs, footnotes/endnotes, captions, and cross-references, Kingsoft Office has an incredibly easy tool for those tasks. Located in the Reference tab, the tool makes it easy to insert/update/toggle levels for TOCs, insert footnotes/endnotes, add captions and cross-references, and even handle mail merge (available only in the paid version). Any editor will be pleased with the tools offered on the Review tab. A much easier interface for accepting/rejecting changes makes editing far easier than in other office suites. And unlike LibreOffice, Kingsoft Office includes the ability to show markup.

8: Quick formula selection

I have never come across a better interface for a spreadsheet. On the Formula tab, you will find several categories, each of which contains a drop-down where you can select from numerous formulas. You'll find Autosum, Financial, Logical, Text, Date/Time, Lookup/Reference, Math/Trig, and more functions. There is even a Recently Used drop-down to select from your most recently used formulas.

9: Easy data tools

In a similar vein, Kingsoft Office Spreadsheets makes it easy to work with data. On the Data tab, you will find quick access to Sort, Duplicates, Validation, Forms, Text To Columns, Consolidate, Goal Seek, Group, Subtotal, and more. With the paid version of Kingsoft Spreadsheets, you also have access to data import tools, Edit OLE DB Query, and External Data Range Properties.

10: Cost effectiveness

There are two versions of Kingsoft Office -- free and paid. The free version is missing a few of the features (such as the ability to switch between UIs, online updating, macros, and cover page). The Professional version is (as of this writing) $69.95 USD. The full-blown Android app is free.

See what you think

Many will think me mad in my proclamation that Kingsoft Office has quickly become one of finest office suites available. It's not well known, but that doesn't detract from the fact it has surpassed its competition in value. Download the free version and see how quickly Kingsoft Office wins you over.

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About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

51 comments
prjv.kaagman
prjv.kaagman

Not able to open OpenOffice/LibreOffice formats...... next please!

rickfitch
rickfitch

I have been using Kingsoft office with my Android table so I can access spreadsheets I create in MS Office and save to my DropBox. 

However, I have a lot of formulas that use Named Ranges pulling in data from a couple worksheets where I enter data that gets summed up in the individual worksheets then rolled up into a master worksheet where the numbers are combined and extended to totals and grand totals.  Named Ranges are used throughout and I have found that the Android version does not reliably recalculate all the formulas. 

The recalc button doesn't. Sometimes of I save, close, re-opend the file, then re-calc I'll get all the correct values - sometimes not.

I wrote to their tech support and described the problem.  They responded in a very quickly but the person with whom I conversed via email seemed to have no clue what Named Ranges are and gave me very lame answers and suggestions. (and the program doesn't seem to have any means to create or manage Named Ranges - I'm using the Named Ranges I created in MS Excel.)

Does anyone of an Open Source spreadsheet that handles Named Ranges and formulas well?

AlexVie
AlexVie

And exactly ONE reason why it is totally useless for anything but short writeups and basically any document that needs a typographically halfway correct layout.


It lacks support for automatic hyphenation (and to a lesser extent, a thesaurus). Hyphenation is a major feature for any word processor and absolutely required when writing paragraphs with more than just one line.


Other than that, Kingsoft Office looks indeed like a nice application, but this one missing feature is so important that you simply cannot ignore it in a review.

I M FR CHINA
I M FR CHINA

希望金山早点出Mac版的wps。I hope the Mac version of Kingsoft early wps.

phijordz
phijordz

I recently tried the latest release (alpha12patch4 as of this writing) and wow, I have fallen in love with it !

I have used libreoffice and calligrasuite but WPS office (linux version) is just quite impressive.  While I intend to continue playing with it, I am looking forward to  the next release as the developers seem to make progress at an amazingly fast pace---something that also counts.  It makes me wonder why it is not so heard of when it so deserves to be.   I encourage others to try it for themselves and discover what in your linux box you've probably been missing,  after all its free.       

pinsard
pinsard

I went to the site. Download points me to an exclusively .EXE file. Not Mac compatible? No Linux version? Nah, not quite what I'd call a king.


I can be really, really wrong, but LibreOffice's platform independence is a must today. I use Mac, but I also have a Windows machine, and several of my clients use some sort of Linux. This Windows only view is an easy to dodge limiting factor.


No king here at all.

databaseben
databaseben

if kingsoft were "that great" why does it not have a thesaurus ? huuuuuhhhhh?

pfutaylor
pfutaylor

I use it on my Android and find it very friendly and effective on-the-move office suite.

Vietman
Vietman

Do you really want Chinese spyware mirroring all your documents to shady elements of the PRC?

rcchang
rcchang

A more detailed and clear comaprison of kingsoft office with other products-www.squidoo.com/what-is-the-best-microsoft-office-alternative

NeilBR
NeilBR

As a native Chinese reader of this article I feel like there is something to add. To be quite frank, Kingsoft Office is suitable as the default OA suite for two types of users: government officials or educational institution staff. This is because since its very start Kingsoft Office is designed to meet the special needs of these two groups of users, for example review, markup, reference, special symbols, science diagrams (like chemical structures) and easy-to-use accounting features. Actually the history of Kingsoft Office dates back to the MS-DOS era when it was still referred to as WPS which was the long-timer winner of Chinese Government Procurements. Believe it or not we used to have WPS certificates like Office Specialist certifications! Although in recent years it is turning more consumer-oriented, the Kingsoft Office system is still mainly targetted at the two types of users aforementioned. One more thing: it is also used as a provisional substitute for Chinese users who run a pirated MS Office copy.

ogoforth
ogoforth

Cross platform should probably include Linux. What about targeting M$ Access? Why has nobody taken that on? What about Outlook? The rest is simply another spreadsheet, word processor and power point type suite. I'm board.

DavidHarrisLH
DavidHarrisLH

The spell check function doesn't appear to have a language option. I always check spell checker by typing words that are different in UK and US English: centre (center) neighbour (neighbor). Both versions are accepted - i,e, not marked as an error. Incidentally, while typing this comment - using Google Chrome the US spellings are marked as errors!

Krotow
Krotow

Tried Kingsoft Office as office document viewer and editor on smartphone and tablet. Seems very good for most office document tasks on mobile devices. Especially, if you have physical keyboard for tablet. But it lack ODF document support (LibreOffice / OpenOffice), which is huge drawback for me and seems, for many others here. Hope, they will add ODF support soon.

PReinie
PReinie

I downloaded it from the AppStore to my iPod Touch 4th gen with latest iOS as of 20130603 but when I opened it all I could see was Japanese in a screen asking for some email address and password, but I couldn't understand which of my many emails it wanted. I immediately uninstalled it. Is there an English iPod/iPhone version? The app store had no reviews and no size of the download/app. It only showed 4 pages and it was for 4 software apps to download. (The suite, ppt, K drive and I don't recall.) It didn't say what documents it opened or anything like what I'm used to for other app store items. (I want it to look at the content of the document irrelevant to the extension and open it appropriately. Oh, the document ending with .zmy is rich text, so I'll open it with the Word-like app.)

Knighthawk5193@Yahoo.com
Knighthawk5193@Yahoo.com

It's not a BAD office suite, and yes it does a lot of things the others don't, but to me it feels "light-in-the-rump".....it doesn't have the heft of say....Microsoft Office 2012. I don't feel comfortable enough to trust it to "Real Work" yet....I might use it for making a grocery list with the Spreadheet, but I'm not sure I would trust it to my Financial Outlook Xls docs...or my dissertations in Word. Sorry, I mean it's just not refined enough for me....mind you....my opinion doesn't mean a hill of beans with the General Populace, but I just thought I would give my two cents....I'll stick with LibreOffice and a few trips into Windows-World....!!

kolbeb
kolbeb

1. There is a Linux version of Kingsoft 2012. Since Kingsoft (also known as WPS) is widely used at Chinese schools, I had some first-hand experiences with the Windows version (the Linux version is slightly better). 2. Contrary to Kingsoft's claims and Jack Wallen's info, the compatibility to MS Office is quite limited. It can be used for simple documents, only. Comparable to Softmaker. If it comes to more complicated business documents (e.g., with embedded objects), there is no better alternative than LibreOffice.

Dr_Bill
Dr_Bill

I've been using Kingsoft free version for many months now and it is my preferred Microsoft Office compatible editor. I haven't run across anything I wanted to do that it couldn't do.

Condemned
Condemned

Tried it out, compatibility with Microsoft Office formats is, indeed, better than that of LibreOffice / OpenOffice, less weird formatting losses. As well as other mentioned points are a merit compared to LO / OO. But compared to SoftMaker FreeOffice it loses - in each of these points. Everyone is invited to verify my statement by downloading and testing it free, either for Windows or Linux: freeoffice.com

jdemarie
jdemarie

Feature set for the Presentation application is poor. Can't compare to MSO 2010. I loaded some presentation done in MSO 2010 and found a lot of the text box and font formatting changed. Unable to really customize fonts and other objects as well as MSO 2010. Maybe the paid version is more feature rich but the free one doesn't do it for me. Would be good for some of my clients who need only basic word processing but OpenOffice can fill that need. I had Kingsoft Office on my Android tablet for a number of months and uninstalled it. It can't compare to Office Suite 7 Pro, Documents to Go 3 or Smart Office 2. I have all of them on my tablet but I use Office Suite 7 Pro almost exclusively.

skyeenter
skyeenter

I started using Lotus Smart Suite in 97 as an alternative to MS products. Amazingly I'm still using it today, 14 years later. I've tried many others but the learning curve was always aggravating and daunting so I just keep using Lotus. In many respects it was ahead of its time in 97. Unless you need to use something that is leading edge today, it still does what it's suppose to do and that lets me manage my biz.

grandan
grandan

Have used this suite with Galaxy S2, & now with my Note 2. Works well to say the least. Very happy with the program. Not used on my laptop as still use Ms Office 2000, which accomplishes all I ask of it, and thankfully pre-ribbon which I've tried however I'm not keen on. Good fortune to Kingsoft to win more advocates.

biagiol
biagiol

Did you test the Android version in Ubuntu? There is no specific Linux package on the site.

bungabunga
bungabunga

Kingsoft Office Professional (or in China WPS Office Professional) for Linux: http://bbs.wps.cn/thread-22374032-1-1.html Debian, Red-Hat and generic builds available, with chinese & english support. http://wdl.cache.ijinshan.com/wps/download/Linux/unstable/kingsoft-office_9.1.0.4032~a10_i386.deb SHA1SUM: 6744c142eaea4af06e8f7d0e0cdd6c25c973ffbb http://wdl.cache.ijinshan.com/wps/download/Linux/unstable/kingsoft-office-9.1.0.4032-0.1.a10.i686.rpm SHA1SUM: 86d8051fe55796d8a49eec32fbbdb9cf0b759827 http://wdl.cache.ijinshan.com/wps/download/Linux/unstable/kingsoft-office_9.1.0.4032~a10_x86.tar.xz SHA1SUM: 8a71ac00c8e22fa43d75379b215038807fc4d503 Debian & Ubuntu amd64 users need use first: sudo apt-get install ia32-libs

jlamesa
jlamesa

I can't find it in Kingsoft website.

dal765
dal765

MS Office has a pane with further online help.. there seems no such feature in Kingsoft Office Suite.

dal765
dal765

It's easy to pick the UI you're used to.

dal765
dal765

MS Word has this useful feature you can add as a button from Customise. (see All Commands). There's no such feature in Kingsoft Writer.

dal765
dal765

Some apps add addins to MS Office. The file/folder structure of Kingsoft office looks remarkably similar to that of Office. I did wonder whether Office addins can be ported into Kingsoft Office.

dal765
dal765

While I've not tried it, Word to pdf is intrinsic.

dal765
dal765

The date format in Excel is fixed at present; if you want European format (day/month/year) you need to install a different version. Later, there will be a version that llows you to switch and adapts to your region.

Audiblenod
Audiblenod

The enterprise licensing price isn't free. I use Open Office for free word and spreadsheet programs at work and would like another real option that is free.

guillegr123
guillegr123

I live in Latin America, and used it in a Cyber Cafe (curiously). I didn't paid much attention to it, though. I will give it another try on my laptop.

kwabula
kwabula

Well, i downloaded the free version, but never installed it as I thought I would be better off with Libre Office on some of my less used Computers that have got no Microsoft Office. Now, I may actually promote it to 'main event' after I give it a thorough test drive. Thanks for taking time to list and explain the features.

brf531
brf531

The fact that it doesn't use open standards for document storage (e.g., ".odt") is a turn-off for me. And, frankly, I don't find LibreOffice all that "unstable."

nick
nick

Looked interesting, particularly for my Android phone until I checked the required permissions - [i]"Allows this application to access your email database, including received messages, sent messages, usernames, and passwords."[/i] I cannot see a good reason why this should be necessary, only very bad reasons, which makes me even more nervous...

JohnOShock
JohnOShock

@AlexVie interesting point, but I myself, for example, have seldom ever used hyphenation whether using MS Word, Libreoffice, Adobe Illustrator (it's not only for illustrations) or any other word-processing, or desktop publishing software. I have been producing digital documents for decades already. Kerning and smart justification usually reduces the need for hyphens to a bare minimum. I think hyphens are ugly and detract from any layout.


Having said all this, WPS or Kingsoft Office is a handy workhorse and on my Linux system works much, MUCH faster than MSOffice does on Windows (and yes, I use the latest versions). However, admittedly it does miss a feature or two if you have advanced needs, but the compatibility with Microsoft's Office suite is so good that any small things can be rectified easily before publication. It still reduces the workload and turnaround significantly. So there are many people who could benefit from something like Kingsoft being available as an affordable alternative.
It's good to see a newcomer in an area where one company has dominated for so long.

Yes, I still think Microsoft Office is an excellent suite and ultimately they are the real innovators, but they need a run for their money to keep things healthy.

snowfinch
snowfinch

@Vietman  As opposed to the NSA mirroring them via Microsoft or Open Office to shady elements of the USA you mean? The choice sucks, doesn't it? 

carrielockyer
carrielockyer

@Dr_Bill I've just downloaded Kingsoft and am so pleased I can do watermarks in it, whereas I couldn't in open office. I am confused though, because when I asked help about how to alter margins it showed the page layout and home buttons but when I open a document there is no page layout or home button .....I know it must be there somewhere because it is shown in the help document - can anyone please tell me why I can't find it? 

AMusnikow
AMusnikow

Shunan, thanks for the Linux install link. In Ubuntu 13.04, I downloaded kingsoft-office_9.1.0.4032~a10_i386.deb and right-clicked on it to "Open with Ubuntu Software Center." The install reported that it could not access all necessary fonts, and, indeed, when I opened a docx file, which contained bullets, with Writer, the bullet symbol was not shown.

JohnOfStony
JohnOfStony

I've always found googling a problem has got me better and faster results than MS help on the majority of occasions. What I particularly hate about MS help (and some other 'helps') is the way so often it tells you to do something but not how to do it so it's actually useless.

JohnOfStony
JohnOfStony

I installed Kingsoft Office for Android from Google Play Store and everything was in Japanese (I think) or it could have been Chinese. Consequently it was useless. I don't recall it requiring access to usernames and passwords as mentioned by nick@.

bungabunga
bungabunga

I'm using the alpha english version on Ubuntu Precise LTS. This is 5-star software with excellent compatibility with Microsoft Office. Identical interface, perhaps better. No ODF support, but spreadsheets are faster. LibreOffice is very slow. Chinese people can use the current beta version available on http://community.wps.cn/download/ Alpha english version can be downloaded using the following link: http://wdl.cache.ijinshan.com/wps/download/Linux/unstable/kingsoft-office_9.1.0.4032~a10_i386.deb Ubuntu amd64 users like me, need install ia32-libs first.