SoftMaker FreeOffice

SoftMaker FreeOffice is a free Microsoft Office alternative available for Windows and Linux, with a companion app for Android devices.

SoftMaker FreeOffice offers effortless editing of Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint files. It can also export files in EPUB and PDF export.

FreeOffice contains three apps: TextMaker for documents, PlanMaker for spreadsheets and Presentations for slideshows. You don’t get every feature in the free version – tabbed browsing and the thesaurus are saved for the paid-for product, for example – but all the basics of everyday office work are covered very well indeed.

User experience

Before you can download SoftMaker FreeOffice, you'll be prompted to enter your name, country and email address. You'll then be sent a free registration code, though it isn't actually necessary to enter this in order to start using the software.

Once you start using it, you'll find SoftMaker FreeOffice fast and user-friendly. It looks very similar to older editions of Microsoft Office) and provides almost seamless compatibility with Microsoft Office files from 1997 onwards. It supports the same OpenDocument format used by LibreOffice and Apache OpenOffice too.

SoftMaker FreeOffice can create PDFs too – something that can be a bit of a pain on Windows normally – and the spreadsheet app is happy doing database tasks as well as crunching numbers.

It's a shame that the thesaurus is only available in the premium version, but there have to be some concessions. SoftMaker FreeOffice doesn't offer quite the same breadth of tools as LibreOffice either (there's no tool for mathematical formulae or diagrams, for example), but it's otherwise a superb free suite that will serve you extremely well.

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