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Calligra Suite 2.9.7

A free, open source Office Suite

by Mike Williams

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License: Open Source
Operating Systems: Linux, Mac OS X, Windows 7 (32 bit), Windows 7 (64 bit), Windows 8, Windows Server, Windows Vista (32 bit), Windows Vista (64 bit), Windows XP
Requirements:

500MB free hard drive space

Languages: English
Software Cost: Free
Date Updated: 04 September 2015
Watchlist: Add download to my watchlist
Downloads To Date: 2607
Developer: Calligra
RSS News Feed: http://www.calligra.org/feed/
Twitter Feed: https://twitter.com/calligrasuite
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Calligra Suite
A free, open source Office Suite

Calligra Suite is an open source Office Suite which comes packed with features. It currently works best on Linux, though: the OS X and Windows builds are variously described by the developers as "preliminary", "highly experimental" and "unstable", so you can download and try the suite, but should expect problems.

If you're happy to try the suite anyway, though, this is what you'll find.

Words is the Calligra word processor. It can open Microsoft Word DOC and DOCX files, ODT/ ODM documents and assorted other formats, and can save as ODT, ODM, EPUB, HTML and PDF, amongst others. And there's a similar level of Office compatibility elsewhere, so Sheets (the spreadsheet application) can read XLS/ XLSX files, and Stage (the presentation tool) can handle PowerPoint documents.

Other productivity tools on offer here include Flow for flow charting and diagrams, Plan to handle your project management needs, while Kexi provides a visual way to create and manage databases.

And if you're just feeling creative then you also get Karbon, a capable and extensible vector drawing tool, and Krita for painting and sketching.

How does this all feel in real life? It really does depend on your platform. The Linux builds work well, but when we tried the suite on Windows it was a very different story, with all kinds of odd problems appearing (much as the developers warned, to be fair). Words wouldn't launch at first, for some reason. Application windows couldn't be resized. Poorly chosen colour schemes made it extremely difficult to read some menus. The Help system just displayed errors about missing files, and so it went on.

Calligra is certainly ambitious, then, and if you're running Linux then it already provides plenty of Office-compatible power. If you're running Windows, though, we'd stick with OpenOffice, instead.

Version 2.9.7 changes include:

 

  • Removed a number of memory leaks in common code
  • Properly set normal default paragraphstyle as parent to footnote/endnote default ones
  • Fix copying text from inside a table cell without copying the entire cell (bug 350175)
  • Optimalization of table cell formatting
  • Fix: pressing Backspace in some cases didn’t delete the selected table (bug 350426)
  • Fix: Inserting a variable when having a selecion should overwrite the selection (bug 350435)
  • Fix: Pasting into the before-table-paragraph breaks it (bug 350427)
  • Make the final spell checking markup could be drawn the wrong way giving some weird visual glitches (bug 350433)
  • Fix writing direction button not working the first time in some cases. Changed the way of detection the current direction. (bug 350432)
  • Make icon size of the toolbox configurable (right-click on the toolbox to select a new size) (bug 336686)
  • Add a couple smaller toolbox icon sizes (14 pixels)
  • Make the default toolbox icons 14px since that looks closest to what they were before
  • Update tool tips to include keyboard shortcut (tool tips will automatically change with changes to shorcuts) (bug 348626)
  • Make the default size of the toolbox buttons dependent on screen resolution
  • Create subfolders for presets (related bug 321361)
  • Initialize colors to black, as per docs
  • Improved memory usage (use vectors)
  • Set the full file name as default directory in file dialogs
Verdict:

Calligra is a capable office suite with a lot of powerful tools. If you're using Linux, anyway - the Windows build requires a lot more work.

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Spektrel Art is a stand-alone program and Photoshop plugin which transforms digital photos into "magical art that glimmers and gleams with intersecting lines of tapered light".

What does that mean? Essentially it applies a configurable mix of effects, enhancing edges, smoothing backgrounds and emphasizing colours. Take a look at the thumbnail for one example, and the official product page has more.

Spektral Art works much like any similar tool. Open an image, click one of the thumbnails to apply a particular preset, or click a few buttons and drag some sliders to fine-tune the results.

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Please note, the demo version doesn't allow images to be saved.

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