In the beginning was Microsoft Office. Then OpenOffice appeared as an open-source alternative. And now IBM makes a new move and offers its own productivity suite, all free of charge. The idea is not new: there have been a few free suites launched lately, but all of them were online. IBM Lotus Symphony is the only desktop suite that, together with OpenOffice, can offer a free alternative to Microsoft's proprietary apps.
IBM Lotus Symphony offers three tools: word processor, spreadsheet and presentations. It's true that other productivity suites are usually more complete. However, Lotus Symphony stands out for a convenient, single-windowed interface from which you can launch the three apps. Simply click on the "Open" button and select the kind of document you want to open: the program's toolbar will change accordingly. What's more, you can have as many opened documents as you want at the same time, no matter which type, and switch between them in the top tab bar.
The suite includes all the basic tools that you could expect in such an application: spell checker and tables for documents, predesigned templates for presentations and charts for spreadsheets - to name a few - besides the usual configuration options as regards fonts, colors and the like.
In my personal opinion, I'm glad to have another possibility to choose from when deciding which suite I'm going to use. A little rivalry is always good and usually produces better and wider options for computer users. And it seems IBM is beginning to take the suite competition quite seriously.
IBM Lotus Symphony has left the beta stage behind and now offers a stable, highly functional productivity suite that, despite not being as complete as other suites, may perfectly fit your needs.
- Ability to open files created using Microsoft Office 2007
- Enhanced drag and drop capability
- Password protection for documents