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Lotus Symphony 3.0.1

IBM releases a new and much improved version of its freebie office suite

by Nick Peers

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License: Freeware
Operating Systems: Linux, Mac OS X, Windows 7 (32 bit), Windows 7 (64 bit), Windows Vista (32 bit), Windows Vista (64 bit), Windows XP
Requirements:

Windows: XP requires SP3, Vista requires SP2; Mac: Intel processor and Mac OS X 10.5 or later; Linux: SuSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 11, RedHat Enterprise Linux 5 Update 4, Ubuntu 8.04 

Languages: English
Software Cost: Free
Date Updated: 18 January 2012
Watchlist: Add download to my watchlist
Downloads To Date: 21955
Developer: IBM Corporation
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IBM Lotus Symphony 3 - the complete Office compatible office suite
Lotus Symphony 3 is a powerful office suite available free of charge

After around eight months in beta, Lotus Symphony 3.0 has finally made it to a final release. This free alternative to Microsoft Office is based on the open-source OpenOffice, but throws in some useful features of its own to make it stand out from the crowd. These include support for VBA scripts to tempt professional users to switch to Symphony (and then pay for the cloud-based LotusLive collaboration services), plus plug-ins that enable you to extend Symphony’s usability in the directions you wish it to go.

Symphony offers three tools: a word-processor, spreadsheet and presentations tool, all of which are accessible through a single program window – documents appear as tabs, enabling you to switch between them quickly and easily. Symphony also features a built-in web browser, which gives you easy access to plug-ins and other useful functions.

The three major tools do everything expected of them – although files are saved in the OpenDocument format, all three programs can also work with native Office formats (including the latest formats found in Office 2007 and 2010). The ribbon interface found in Office is replaced by a vertical sidebar on the right of the screen. This is divided into sections, giving you access to all the various tools found in each program.

A lot has changed since version 1.3 was released – a full list of new features can be found at the Symphony website - but there’s not a lot that could be described as revolutionary, particularly to those brought up on a diet of Office or OpenOffice. However, these new features are essential in order to ensure Lotus Symphony has a fighting chance of attracting people to switch from competing products, and with more plug-ins on the way, it seems its expandability and versatility could prove to be a big attraction going forward.

Verdict:

A vast improvement on the previous release, Lotus Symphony is rapidly closing the gap between it and its immediate competition.

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Spotlight: Free Full Software

Windows 10 October 2018 Update (build 1809)

Free Full Commercial Software

This is the latest version of Windows October 2018 Update. it's a media creation tool that can be used to upgrade an existing installation of Windows or create installation media for another PC. Just make your choice after launching the tool and it'll do the rest.

What was new in Windows 10, when it was released? The OS brought back the Start Menu, though with a Windows 8 twist: live tiles keep you up-to-date with the latest news while also providing an easy way to launch apps. (Don't worry if you prefer the Start Screen, it's still there and you can boot into it if you prefer.)

Apps now work much more like regular desktop programs. They have minimise, maximise, restore and close buttons, and can be resized (to a degree) and organised however you like.

If you've still lost track of a program in the mass of open windows, a new Task Spaces feature can help. Click its taskbar button and you'll see thumbnails for everything running now, a little like OS X's Mission Control - just click something to switch to it.

Better still, Task Spaces also supports virtual desktops. Add extra desktops as required and it'll display thumbnails of each one, making it easy to identify whatever you're after and switch to it.

There's also smarter snapping, new customisation options, and even a bunch of experimental additions to the command prompt.

Fall Creators Update brings a whole host of new features for Windows 10. See the Microsoft Blog for more information.

The Windows 10 ISO here will give you build 1809 which is the October 2018 Update.

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