Software

Review: The new Corel Office

Corel's reboot of their fabled office suite brings a fresh look to WordPerfect and company.

Anyone who used a PC in the 1980s and 90s will probably remember the legendary WordPerfect word-processor application. Whether you used the famous DOS "blue screen" version or the later Windows versions, WordPerfect always had that cheeky-charm that gave you excellent WYSIWYG support and various document features. That being said, once Microsoft took command of the market with their business software, WordPerfect fell by the wayside as Microsoft Office became the de-facto standard.

Corel Office

  • Title: Corel Office
  • Company: Corel
  • Supported OS: Windows XP, Vista, 7 and 8
  • Price: $49.99
  • Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5
  • Bottom Line: Corel's reboot of their fabled office suite brings a fresh look to WordPerfect and company. However, unless you are a diehard fan of the brand or work specifically with documents designed with the software, stick with something else.

Corel, the current steward of the WordPerfect brand, has launched a reboot of their office suite, which is now designed to be compatible with the recently-launched Windows 8. The "new" Corel Office is here, and, when compared to their far pricier previous WordPerfect Office X6 product, it's available to consumers at a more reasonable price-point of $49.99. The suite comes with three core applications: Corel Write, Corel Calculate, and Corel Show. As you probably have guessed, these apps represent the Microsoft Office equivalents of Word, Excel and PowerPoint, respectively.

When I started using the office suite, I noticed that the user interface strongly resembles that of Office 2010 and all the functions were very easy to find via the ribbon-style menus. Compared to Corel's previous WordPerfect Office X6 release, I was actually able to find everything quickly and efficiently. I never had any problem performing various actions, like doubling my line spacing or adjusting paragraph alignment. In the older product, features were buried under sub-menus, which could contribute to a higher learning curve at the time. This time it was all smooth sailing.

Compatibility

Now the biggest question on everyone's mind is, "Can I open MS Office documents with little to no document compatibility issues?" Surely, document fidelity is essential in any business setting. For this test, I took Corel Write and opened several documents created via Word with varying degrees of formatting difference and compared results. I threw my Word formatted resume into Corel Write and, unlike LibreOffice, was able to maintain the line spacing and page count to a perfect T.

However, on another document, such as one of my earlier written reviews for TechRepublic, my information box showed up completely blank. Effectively, as much as I would like this to be a perfect world scenario, Corel's conversion engine is no silver bullet.

Clearly, Write (right) does yield some document errors when compared against Word (left).

Bottom line

Corel's new office suite, although vastly improved in the user interface and ease-of-use department when compared to older versions, isn't without its share of issues. At a much saner price of $49.99, this software might be good if you have pre-existing WordPerfect, Quattro and Projector documents to work with. If you are looking for an office suite that will fit well with more basic needs, LibreOffice might be the better bet.

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About

An avid technology writer and an IT guru, Matthew is here to help bring the best in software, hardware and the web to the collective consciousness of TechRepublic's readership. In addition to writing for TechRepublic, Matthew currently works as a Cus...

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