Softmaker has released a new version of its office suite. Right now it’s only available for Windows PCs. Linux version is still in public beta and there will be a new platform supported coming soon. I’m glad to see that we still have companies that work on improving their software. There are some good updates with this suite and we will be looking at those changes now.
The first thing to notice is that they have finally included the ribbon interface. It provides a great visual impact when you open the app. It is definitely an improved interface. It’s also nice to see an option to have a “classic” look if that’s your preference. From a user point of view, to have this kind of choices, makes a difference in usability. As I said in previous articles, we would never know why Microsoft didn’t give the same choice when they introduced the ribbon.
This new interface lets you work almost exactly like in Microsoft Office. You can, for example, expand sections for more options. Tabs also appear in context, exactly like they do in MS Office.
We like the approach they took with the File tab. Instead of going the Microsoft way with a backstage view, we get a proper tab with the functions we expect in a file menu without “leaving” our document. Even though it’s a pleasure to work with the new interface, there is one important feature missing, the Alt keyboard shortcuts. They are very useful to access any option available in the ribbon in any application from Microsoft Office, but you won’t get that functionality in Softmaker Office.
Let’s see how each app looks with their new interface:
There is more
The new interface is the first thing that we will notice, but it’s not the only change. There is a long list of improvements in every app of the suite and Softmaker has made a very comprehensive list of every new feature included. At the end this article you will find the link to the listed changes so you can check them directly from its original source.
Even though there are improvements, we would like to see a few issues addressed. For example, to include new functions introduced by Microsoft in recent versions of Excel will be helpful. Also, some functionality like connectivity to external data sources has not been addressed yet. As another example, Presentations does not include the new Morph transition from PowerPoint, so if you receive any file that includes that effect, you won’t be able to play it. We hope that developers work on those points for this version and any future updates.
Mac version is coming
Softmaker Office 2016 was available for PCs and Linux machines. It’s still in private beta, but with this new 2018 version they will be also releasing its suite for Mac users. We know that Macs have a free suite (the lite version of the previous iWork suite), but it’s very limited in functionality. Microsoft Office version for Mac is also very limited. Although compatible, it’s still far from its PC counterpart. With this move from Softmaker, if you are a Mac user, you now have another great alternative to replace Microsoft Office if that’s your choice.
If you want to know more about this new version of Softmaker Office, please visit their detailed blog post describing new features. You can also check their webpage if you are a planning to test or buy this new version.
In future entries, we will be looking more details about this new version, testing new functionality and compatibility with Microsoft Office. Until next time.