When it comes to handling office documents, many people readily think about Microsoft Office. However, there are several other programs that you can use, one of the best being SoftMaker FreeOffice 2016 for Windows. The free office suite includes a word processor, presentation program and spreadsheet application, all of which are compatible with Microsoft Office applications. You can use it on any Windows edition from Windows XP (Service Pack 2) to the latest Windows 10 and any PC-based Linux.
Using SoftMaker FreeOffice 2016 for Windows
We had the option install the software in 28 different languages and choose the setup type among complete, custom and default options. The default option installs the most common program features and is recommended for most users while the complete setup installs all program features, meaning that it requires more disk space. If you know what you are doing, you can install the custom type, which allows you to choose the features you want to install. We could also associate all or selected file extensions with corresponding applications in the suite. The installation process was significantly faster than that of Microsoft Office.
Although SoftMaker FreeOffice 2016 for Windows is a free office suite, we needed to enter a registration key during the initial launch, which was sent to our e-mail address when we initiated the download process.
The main program window featured a title bar displaying the names of the application and current document and a menu bar directly under the title bar where we could access all program commands. The standard toolbar below the menu bar contained the most commonly used commands. Placing the cursor over an icon in the toolbar displayed a tooltip giving a brief description of its function. A status bar on the lower part of the program window displayed the line, section, chapter and page where the cursor was positioned. It also displayed the language of the current text and either Insert or Overwrite mode, with the Insert Mode being the default option.
On the right side of each application window was a sidebar with helpful notes. We had the option to display it on the left side or hide it from the ‘View’ menu.
We could open DOCX files but not save in that format when using the word processor. The program allowed us to save files in 16 different formats, including DOC. The default option was TextMaker TMD format.
The presentations program allowed us to combine drawings, images, audio and video. We could also create many types of slide transitions and animate objects. We exported some presentations in image format and saved others as PowerPoint files.
Spreadsheets can contain up to 16384 columns and one million rows, and workbooks can contain as many as 256 worksheets. This allows users to create ‘three-dimensional’ calculations where the calculations in a worksheet refer to cells in different worksheets in the workbook.
One of the unique things with the office suite was the fact that we could easily launch any of the remaining two applications from the one we had opened. For example, we could easily open either the spreadsheet or presentation program from the word processor.
The suite allowed us to export documents in PDF, EPUB or HTML format depending on the program used.
SoftMaker FreeOffice 2016 for Windows is a powerful but free office suite that allows you to work with word documents, spreadsheets and presentations. It is relatively lightweight compared with other office suites and is compatible with Microsoft Office programs.