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Softmaker 2021 Office (Beta)

krs


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I just received an email to participate in beta testing of Softmaker Office 2021 - I'm sure many of the members here did as well.

I normally have little time and no interest to be a guinea pig, but I thought this time I will spend a bit of time on that.
I vaguely remember having some issues with the rendering of Power Point files last time.

Well, I spent about 5 minutes so far and already have what seems to be a major problem.

Opened a ppt file with Softmaker Presentation
Saved that file then in Microsoft format per Softmaker option
That file then will no longer open with MS Power Point - comes up with a message that file needs to be repaired but when I check OK, the repair fails.
File still opens with Softmaker

BTW - Download and installation of software was very quick with no problems.
Install took only 2 1/2 minutes and my 2012 Mini is not the fastest.

Anyone else interested in doing some beta testing of this software?
 

chscag

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Thanks for posting that. I also received an email from Softmaker offering me to test the beta. I just don't have the time or inclination right now to do so.
 

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I got that notice as well since I', already in the beta for their current version. I'll probably install the 2021 beta and see what happens. Espicially since the school year is almost over and I will be past the point where I have a lot of mission critical things to work on for while.

@krs I haven't tried the Presentation module in the current beta yet. I've opened everything in Office. Just for clarification: The problem with Presentation corrupting PowerPoint files is in the 2021 version that I haven't downloaded yet?



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krs


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Just for clarification: The problem with Presentation corrupting PowerPoint files is in the 2021 version that I haven't downloaded yet?
Yes, the 2021 version.

I haven't investigated this further other than repeating to process to see if I get the same result - which I did.

I sent this to softmaker last night - no reply yet

Short problem description:
Power Point was created in 2015 in .ppt format
Opens fine in MS Power Point
Also opens fine in Softmaker Presentations (although default shows all the text box outlines which is wrong but not the main problem)
I then save the presentation that I opened with Softmaker in MS ppt format appending a “1” to the file name - no change to the presentation itself
MS Power Point now can no longer open the presentation, I get an error message that the presentation is damaged and needs to be repaired
Repair fails - can no longer open the presentation in MS PPT

Interestingly enough, the original presentation is 31 MB, that same presentation saved via Softmaker is only 28.5 MB
 

chscag

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I gave up on using Softmaker Office a while ago because it does not always open and render some MS Office documents correctly. I mentioned this before, but I have many older Word documents going back to the Windows versions of Office 95 and 97.

Even with some current Word documents, Softmaker does not correctly do margins, indents, and more importantly, MS Office fonts. It does work okay with simple documents but not with those which are more complex.

I have not tried it with the Powerpoint documents that I have and I do not use Excel. As for my older PPT documents, the Apple version of Keynote renders them correctly.
 

Slydude

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I've started using SoftMaker Office a few months ago because I found that some of the other alternatives (OpenOffice,NeoOffice, etc. ) were just dog slow on my machine. Since the current lockdowns have been in place I've taken advantage of installing the current version of MS Office through a work license. With everything else going on I didn't want to worry about compatibility issues.

I haven't had issues with the Softmaker products with the exception of one MS Word template that does not seem to print properly. The formatting of most of my documents have fairly basic formatting though and my older Word documents have long since been converted to newer formats.

@Charlie Would you be willing to e-mail me a few of the older documents you've had trouble with in the past? It might be an interesting test to see if the new version handles them better. Nothing confidential of course.




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krs


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The formatting of most of my documents have fairly basic formatting though and my older Word documents have long since been converted to newer formats.

@Charlie Would you be willing to e-mail me a few of the older documents you've had trouble with in the past? It might be an interesting test to see if the new version handles them better. Nothing confidential of course.
There was a comment somewhere on the Softmaker website that compatibility with older Word documents is only available if one buys the professional version.

Talking about buying that software eventually - seems they only have a subscription option for the basic software.
 

chscag

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There was a comment somewhere on the Softmaker website that compatibility with older Word documents is only available if one buys the professional version.
That might be why my older Word documents did not display correctly. I only have the standard version of Softmaker Office.
 

Slydude

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I'll have to check and see which version I have installed. I might have splurged for the professional version just to avoid such hassles.
 

chscag

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To their credit, Softmaker has been good at giving a discount to users of their free software to buy the pay version. Softmaker Office 2019 was only $19.95 for the standard version with the discount. I'm not sure they would do the same for beta testers of their 2021 version, but I suspect they might offer some incentive.
 

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Besides which, to do proper beta testing can take up on awful lot of one's time.
Depends how one defines it.

In out company we called a similar test cycle "Soak".
The software would be provided to a limited group of "friendly" customers who met specific requirement and also agreed to provide a soak report once a week.
Before the soak activity, the software had previously undergone very rigorous testing internally and also through a 'field trial" testing phase so what we expected as "problems" during soak were issues due to rather obscure hardware/software combinations which wouldn't otherwise have been tested.

I was really surprised to find the issue that I did, that type of problem should not exist with Beta software - maybe it's not a general problem with .ppt files but only occurs because the ppt presentation I have contains some problem graphics or characters. Don't know and I would let Softmaker figure that out.
 
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To their credit, Softmaker has been good at giving a discount to users of their free software to buy the pay version. Softmaker Office 2019 was only $19.95 for the standard version with the discount.
Some users have reported that they have dropped the offer to only $15 for the standard version of Softmaker Office if you download FreeOffice!

I've been using FreeOffice on one of my MBA's for months now. So far every single Word document that I've opened with it has rendered perfectly, and most of my documents have lots of very complex formatting in them.
 

chscag

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It seems that they have different versions... As well as different pricing... and with different Features...
It was the same with their 2019 offerings.

Even though Softmaker Office has some problems with my older documents and some of my newer ones, I would still recommend it over Open Office or LibreOffice. It's definitely more polished and not near as bloated as Open Office or LibreOffice.

However, for someone who does not need Office compatibility and is just looking for a nice Office Suite for school or at home, you can't beat Apple's Pages, Keynote, and Numbers which are free. :)
 
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I kept getting notices that a new "service pack" (or something like that) was available, so I decided to click Yes. That just opened SoftMaker's web site, and no other action occurred. I clicked on the Mac link, and it downloaded the whole suite, which was called 2018.

So, is that how "updates" are handled? Seems like there's something amiss in that process.
 

chscag

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Don't know what you clicked on, but the Service Pack was offered as a separate download. I downloaded two different Service Packs that did not include the entire suite.
 
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Well, I expected more from clicking on Yes than just opening a web page.
 
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Well, I expected more from clicking on Yes than just opening a web page.

I don't even use the Application or any of their software, but it sure wasn't rocket science to figure out which "service pack" might be compatible, and yes, one does have to Click to select the selection that one wants or might need from here:
SoftMaker "service pack"
Download free service packs





- Patrick
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