SoftMaker FreeOffice is a free Microsoft Office-compatible productivity suite.
The package includes a word processor (TextMaker), spreadsheet (PlanMaker) and presentation tool (SoftMaker), and each of these can open both the old-style and Office 365/2010 files for their equivalent Microsoft application (DOC and DOCX/ DOCM/ DOTX/ DOTM, XLS and XLSX, PPT and PPTX, and so on). And reasonably accurately, too, although there are occasional problems with more complex documents.
If you're not a fan of the Microsoft Office ribbon then the SoftMaker FreeOffice interface may appeal, as it offers a classic style (a ribbon is available an option) to the more conventional menus and toolbars.
And the suite has plenty of useful extra features, including a handy "Export to PDF" option on every File menu, and the ability to be installed on a USB flash drive.
If you need more, though, SoftMaker is hoping you'll upgrade to the commercial version, SoftMaker Office 2018, which can be yours from $99.95. The commercial version has a more flexible user-interface, including a dark mode, includes a 64-bit version, advanced document creation, advanced presentations and much more.
Note that you need a personal serial code to use FreeOffice, which you can obtain here.
What's new in build 966.0 (see the complete release notes for more)?
- Feature: TextMaker, PlanMaker and Presentations are now compatible with the file formats of Word 2019, Excel 2019 and PowerPoint 2019.
- Feature: The format brush can now be used with the keyboard: Select text, press Ctrl+Shift+C to copy the formatting, select the destination and press Ctrl+Shift+V to paste the formatting.
- Feature: With classic menus, TextMaker, PlanMaker and Presentations now offer new toolbars with a more logical arrangement.
- Feature: The dropdown element Insert | Character has been updated to offer additional typographic characters.
- Feature: For better compatibility with Microsoft Office, you can apply negative cropping to pictures.
- Mac Feature: You can now drag photos from the Apple Photos application into TextMaker, PlanMaker and Presentations documents.
- Feature: You can now switch between ribbon tabs using the key combinations Ctrl+F12 and Ctrl+Shift+F12.
- Windows Feature: You can now enter any Unicode character with the key combination Alt+nnnn key. For example, press Alt+8364 to enter the Euro sign.
- Mac, Linux Feature: SoftMaker FreeOffice now supports TrueType Collections (TTC fonts) in macOS and Linux, too.
- Mac Feature: Improved keyboard handling: Alt+Cursor and Alt+Shift+Cursor move the caret word by word.
– Feature: Many user-interface translations have been updated, and a Polish user interface is now available for the first time.
- Feature: French typographic rules supported: With French text, quotation marks, question marks, exclamation points, colons and semicolons are now automatically padded with non-breaking spaces.
- Mac Feature: You can now enter Chinese, Japanese and Korean text because SoftMaker FreeOffice now supports the Mac IME.
- Mac, Linux Feature: To ensure that all users on a computer can start SoftMaker FreeOffice without having to enter the product key again, the license file is now preferred to be stored in /Library/Application support/SoftMaker(macOS) and /etc/SoftMaker (Linux).