The office suite market is pretty much dominated by two applications: Microsoft Office and OpenOffice.org. So much is the market dominated by those two, that most other suites rarely get any attention. But there are other tools available, worthy of not only your attention, but your budget dollars. Softmaker Office is one of those tools. Not only is Softmaker Office compatible with the de facto standard Microsoft Office, it is also inexpensive, and ready for your Windows mobile devices. But is it right for you? Let's take a look.
- Supported platforms: Windows, Pocket PC, Windows CE, Linux
- Applications included in the suite: TextMaker 2008, PlanMaker 2008, SoftMaker Presentations 2008, BasicMaker 2008
- Cost: USD $79.99
- Additional vendor information
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Who's it for?
Softmaker Office is for any SMB looking to cut costs in the software arena. With solid compatibility with MS Office, Softmaker should meet nearly all of your needs. Larger business can still benefit from Softmaker because of its outstanding Word and Excel compatibility.
What problem does it solve?
Softmaker Office allows businesses on a tighter budget to enjoy a light-weight office suite for far less cost than Microsoft Office and a smaller footprint than OpenOffice.org. And soon Softmaker Office 2010 will release which will include DOCX import and export XLSX import, document tabs, and a more powerful spreadsheet application.
- Lightning-fast opening and closing
- High compatibility with MS Office
- User-friendly interface
- PDF export on all applications
- OLE Server to enable seamless document exchange between applications
- Lossless Word conversions
There are a couple of issues I have found with Softmaker Office. The first is the GUI has issues with any Linux desktop running Compiz. When Compiz is enabled the widgets have a tendency to disappear or become garbled.
The other issue is that the presentations cannot handle some of the advanced features like freeform movement paths for images. The presentation application also does not include pre-installed templates, so the user will have to either create their own or search for templates, open them, and save them as a compatible template.
Finally, Softmaker does not include all of the standard tools necessary to complete an office suite. Missing are: a drawing application, a database manager (There is a simple database tool, but nothing along the lines of Base or Access), a formula tool, or a groupware suite.
Bottom line for business
Softmaker Office is a solid solution for any budget-conscious office looking for an office suite that is fast, reliable, Microsoft Office-compatible, and ready for both Windows and Linux. If, however, you are looking for an office suite that includes every tool included with Microsoft Office, you might want to look towards OpenOffice.org.
Have you encountered or used Softmaker Office Suite? If so, what do you think? Rate your experience and compare the results to what other TechRepublic members think. Give your own personal review in the TechRepublic Community Forums or let us know if you think we left anything out in our review.
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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 jackwallen.com.