This year's Christmas donation initiative: FreeOffice 2018, FreePDF
Thread poster: Hans Lenting

Hans Lenting  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Member (2006)
German to Dutch
Dec 12, 2019

FreePDF
The free PDF editor for home and business
For Windows

https://www.getfreepdf.com/en/

FreeOffice 2018
The best free alternative to Microsoft Office.
For Windows, Mac and Linux.

https://www.freeoffice.com/en/?ref=lah


 

Tina Vonhof
Canada
Local time: 03:05
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Really? Dec 12, 2019

It sounds too good to be true. Have you used it and do you recommend it?

 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 11:05
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
SITE LOCALIZER
Softmaker Office vs Libre/OOo Dec 12, 2019

Hans Lenting wrote:
FreeOffice 2018
The best free alternative to Microsoft Office.


Why do you think Softmaker Office is better than LibreOffice?


[Edited at 2019-12-12 17:40 GMT]


 

Jean Dimitriadis  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 11:05
Member
English to French
+ ...
  Dec 12, 2019

I'd just like to comment that LibreOffice does offer an optional ribbon/tabbed interface as well.

 

Hans Lenting  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Member (2006)
German to Dutch
TOPIC STARTER
Very good reviews Dec 13, 2019

Samuel Murray wrote:

Why do you think Softmaker Office is better than LibreOffice?


Sorry, I was in a hurry and just wanted to share the offer, so I copied the descriptions from their website .

I've read very good reviews of both packages at https://www.heise.de/thema/SoftMaker-Office Also, the office package should have a VBA-like macro language, which can be of interest for those who are already familiar with MS Word's VBA. I think that you can set DOCX as the native file format for the word processor. And the file format compatibility should be superb.



[Edited at 2019-12-13 07:27 GMT]


 

Aliseo Japan
Japan
Local time: 19:05
Member
Italian to Japanese
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FreeOffice 2018 a bit less than superb Dec 13, 2019

Hans Lenting wrote:
... And the file format compatibility should be superb.

I wouldn't really call it "superb". As for Word compatibility, for instance, at least based on my experience on Linux (I don't know on Windows) I would say that it's somewhat better than LibreOffice, but specially with complex files that include a mix of text and graphics you may end up needing the real Word to check everything. For simpler files both are equally good in my view.


 

Hans Lenting  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Member (2006)
German to Dutch
TOPIC STARTER
Compatibility Dec 14, 2019

Aliseo Japan wrote:

Hans Lenting wrote:
... And the file format compatibility should be superb.

I wouldn't really call it "superb". As for Word compatibility, for instance, at least based on my experience on Linux (I don't know on Windows) I would say that it's somewhat better than LibreOffice, but specially with complex files that include a mix of text and graphics you may end up needing the real Word to check everything. For simpler files both are equally good in my view.


You're right. There's nothing so compatible with the DOCX file format as ... MS Word.


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 11:05
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
SITE LOCALIZER
@Hans Dec 14, 2019

Hans Lenting wrote:
The office package should have a VBA-like macro language, which can be of interest for those who are already familiar with MS Word's VBA.


Their macro language is called BasicMaker and it is available in the Windows version of paid editions of SoftMaker Office. According to its user manual, it is sufficiently compatible with VBA that you can control non-SoftMaker VBA-aware programs from within SoftMaker Office. I know syntax means nothing, but FWIW its syntax looks very similar to that of VBA. You can also run some VBA scripts directly from the BasicMaker scripting environment in SoftMaker Office. You can't create standalone executibles with BasicMaker.

I think that you can set DOCX as the native file format for the word processor.


Yes, you can. In fact, when I installed it, it set DOCX as the default format without even asking.

SoftMaker Office's own file format is also Office Open XML. This leads me to suspect (though I could be very wrong) that conversion between SoftMaker Office's format and Microsoft Office's format should be fairly lossless (much more so than the conversion between Microsoft Office and LibreOffice formats, for example).

I was able to translate SoftMaker Office own files in OmegaT after adding their file extensions to the Office Open XML filter.

Tests

I did a test with my five largest DOCX, XLSX and PPTX files. I know, bigger doesn't mean more complex. I opened the files in SoftMaker Office, saved as SoftMaker Office's own format, closed SoftMaker Office, ran SoftMaker Office again, opened the files again, and saved as Microsoft Office's formats again, then compare the "before" and "after" files side by side in Microsoft Office.

Some things in the way the programs work are different, obviously. For example, there is no shortcut key for "save as", and you can't edit toolbars and shortcuts in the free edition. If you open multiple files in TextMaker (word processor), they all use one window (and you can switch between them using the Window menu, but there are no tabs, and you can only close an open file using Ctrl+F4), but if you open multiple files in PlanMaker (spreadsheet) or Presentation (presentations), they all open in separate windows. I like how SoftMaker Office has a progress indicator when saving large files.

When you install SoftMaker Office, you can choose between ribbon or toolbars, but you can't change it after you've installed it (unless LibreOffice, where you can switch between ribbon, sidebars and toolbars within the program).

PlanMaker was unable to save one of the XLSX files (33 MB, which wasn't even the biggest file in the test) -- not as its own format and not as XSLX either. So if you had edited that file and tried to save it, you would not have been able to (the error message was "out of memory"). Excel had no problems opening the file and saving it as ODS, for example. In one Excel file, a large cell's font changed from Georgia to Arial. I like how in PlanMaker there is a little arrow telling you where columns or rows have been hidden -- it's less intuitive in Excel.

A problem with TextMaker is that it changes the page margins ever so slightly, so that sometimes a single line might be on a previous or next page, compared to the original file. Also, TextMaker compresses images, so one 14 MB original file came out as 350 KB after roundtripping in TextMaker, but both files "looked" identical when opened in Word. In one file, text that was supposed be in front of a graphic was behind the graphic after the roundtrip, which made the text disappear from view!

The PowerPoint files generally survived the roundtrip fairly well, including animations. However, in one slide with two content boxes where the second content box consisted of two paragraphs, the original PPTX file showed the first content box plus the first paragraph of the second content box before you press Spacebar and the second paragraph after you press the Spacebar, whereas the PPTX file that went through SoftMaker Presentation showed only the first box before you press the Spacebar, and then the whole second box after you press the Spacebar.


[Edited at 2019-12-14 16:46 GMT]

[Edited at 2019-12-14 16:51 GMT]


 


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