ThinkFree Office

Published Date
01 - Jul - 2006
| Last Updated
01 - Jul - 2006
ThinkFree Office
my editor asks me. OK, cool, I think: a change! "It's an office suite," he continues. Change gone out of the window! Anyway, let's give it a whirl, I thought. That's how I was introduced to ThinkFree Office 3. So I downloaded myself a copy, and got down to installing it. You can use the trial version we gave in June '06 CD.

Day 1
Installation was a snap, and with a surprisingly small footprint of only 118 MB. My immediate concern was whether functionality would be affected. I first started up ThinkFree Office Write, the word processor. First surprise: the interface is nearly identical to that of Word! Some competitors try to make their office suites look different; ThinkFree have used a layout familiar to most of us, and I'm glad they didn't change the interface! Opened Calc, ThinkFree's spreadsheet package.

Day 3
The first niggling shortcoming I came across today with ThinkFree's Write is that there's no highlight tool-an absolute shame! I did like the  Grow Font and Shrink Font buttons-definitely a plus.
Day 6
After the initial hiccups, I found both Write and Calc pretty decent on the productivity front-it's easy to navigate around the menus, and MS Office users will hardly need any time to get used to ThinkFree Office. Everything is well laid out. All the basic functionality is there, and at times you actually think you're using Word and Excel.

Day 8
I navigate to the help menu-another surprise: a neat little menu laid out in the same order as the menu bar on top. So I got headings such as File, Edit, and so on, meaning that the help file is organised according to the menu layout.

Day 14
Needed to create a few slide shows for the good folk at the office, so I start up ThinkFree Show, the counterpart to PowerPoint. A few quick clicks later, I'm done-it's very similar to PowerPoint.

By this point I have used ThinkFree Office enough to compare it with a competing product, OpenOffice. ThinkFree is much lighter on features than OpenOffice. Moreover, OpenOffice is free, while ThinkFree will cost you. That being said, it's significantly lighter on system resources.

Day 19
I discover that ThinkFree Write can export PDFs directly into Write, something the mighty MS Word cannot do. I'm pleased since I can type out a few mails in Write while browsing the PDFs (also in Write). After some distracted typing I finish an e-mail and give the spell-check tool a test run. A bit of a pain, since the tool always goes to the first error I make. Word scores over Write here since it starts correcting from your current cursor location.

I had a quick stint with Calc to discover that hyperlinks cannot be created in a spreadsheet!

Day 23
I move on to Write and import an MS Word document that had some tracked changes and comments. Instead of opening the tracked document, Write opened a blank one! Checked this again, just to be sure: same result.

Day 28
I'd be lying if I said I'm not impressed. It's a miniature version of Office, without some of the frills but also without a few important functions. It still has a long way to go before getting anywhere near the functionality that MS Office offers.

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