Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Word Processing & Office Suites: Lotus Symphony

We have Apple MacBooks. When we bought these just over 3 years ago (yes, just out of AppleCare Warranty) to replace our previous MacBooks which replaced our iBooks, we decided to not go with Microsoft Office that we previously used.  We had Apple Works on our previous MacBooks but this time we went with the newer Apple product that people were touting which was iWork.

I've never liked iWork Pages word processing application and I have given it a pretty good chance. We didn't get iWorks Numbers app because it was sold separately and therefore cost more and we don't really use spreadsheets.

When someone sends us a Word document it opens in Pages but never quite correctly... Maybe I misunderstood, but I thought this was Apple's answer to MS Word.  Also, when someone sends us an .xls file, I don't have an application to open it and use my Mac's default "Quick Look" viewer.  This works to look at a file but it is still lacking...

So, this morning I found IBM Lotus Symphony which is a FREE office suite package.  Yes, FREE.  I used to use Lotus-1-2-3 way back when in Paris!  I watched their video presentations for the word processor which seemed similar to the Word I used to use.

This was a no-brainer for Ms CheapSeats... Free download of a "Lotus" product.  Cool.

The only problem so far is that it took about 90 minutes to download (229MB), but my connection didn't fail and it installed OK. I had a bit of a problem finding it in my Applications Folder. I looked for "IBM" and "Lotus", then found that it was named "Symphony". Not a big deal, just took a few moments of searching in Finder. It is now residing on my Dock.

There isn't an "import" command, so I tried opening a Pages document with the ".pages" file extension and it was not recogized as a valid file type.

The Pages document I had was of a charter contract which has a combination of text and tables with shaded rows.  Using Pages, I exported this as a Rich Text Document. I opened this in Symphony and tables and text formatting had disappeared.  I then exported it as a Word document and when I opened it in Symphony my tables were still there... HURRAY!  I probably have to do a bit of text formatting, but that's OK.

I just tried to open an Excel (.xls) spreadsheet in Symphony and it worked finest kind.

Looking forward to playing with this new application.

You can find it here and try it yourself:

This is the Beta 3 version

I just found a blog I'll have to check out:

This afternoon we are going to make some progress on our new dinghy that we are building. Must remember to take photos... my little pocket digital camera eats batteries. So It Goes...