[Windows] Kingsoft Office Suite is a great free alternative to Microsoft Office

Microsoft Office continues to be the preferred choice for a majority of computer users looking for a dependable office suite though there have been a number of free programs that have emerged as credible alternatives to Microsoft. While OpenOffice.org is seen as Microsoft’s direct competitor in office suites, Kingsoft Office Suite has slowly emerged as another reliable alternative for those who are looking beyond the two most popular ones.

WHAT IS IT AND WHAT DOES IT DO

Main Functionality

Kingsoft Office Suite is a package of three programs – Writer, Spreadsheets and Presentation – which offers a free alternative to Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, and Microsoft PowerPoint. In other words, Kingsoft Office Suite provides word processor, spreadsheet, and presentation functionality.

Pros

  • Familiar interface for Microsoft Office users
  • Can open, read, and edit all Microsoft Office formats (.DOC, .DOCX, .PPT, .PPTX, .XLS, .XLSX) and more
  • Can save as .DOC, .PPT, and .XLS (and more) formats
  • Does a very good job at properly formatting files that come from Microsoft Office (although it isn’t perfect)
  • Smaller installation size than other free office suites such as OpenOffice.org
  • Has a tabbed view
  • Built-in PDF converter
  • …and more features, such as PPT -> Word converter, spell check, and document encryption

Cons

  • Unable to save documents in the new Microsoft Office 2007/2010 formats — .DOCX, .PPTX, and .XLSX
  • Free version doesn’t support macros/VBA

Discussion

Kingsoft Office Suite is slowly emerging as a reliable alternative to both MS Office and OpenOffice.org because it is feature-filled and reliable. While Kingsoft offers three different versions of the office suite – Free, Standard, and Professional – the Free version takes care of most of your requirements with regards to an office suite. All the modules of Kingsoft, such as Writer, closely resembles Microsoft Office, thus people who are shifting away from Microsoft Office should not have much trouble in working with the program.

While Kingsoft is not able to save documents in the new MS Office 2007 and 2010 formats, it can open, read, and edit .DOCX, .PPTX, and .XLSX files. On the other hand, Kingsoft is fully compatible with .DOC, .PPT, and .XLS meaning you can open, read, edit, and save those files. If you are wondering what is the point of being able to open, read, and edit .DOCX, .PPTX, and .XLSX if you cannot save them, the point is you can save .DOCX, .PTTX, and XLSX files in the traditional .DOC, .PPT, and .XLS formats.

Other formats supported by Kingsoft Office are .DOT, .RTF (cannot save), .WPS, .WPT, .XLT, .CSV, .XML, .ET, .ETT, .PPS, .POT. DPS, and .DPT.

One area where Kingsoft is actually better than MS Office is the tabbed feature that allows each open document to be displayed in its own tab, similar to browsers.

Aside from all that, Kingsoft has a ton of supplementary features, such as a built-in PDF converter that allows users to save their documents in a PDF format. To save a file in PDF format, simple click open the File drop down menu and click Export as PDF. Other features include a spell checker, PDF-like owner and user password protection of documents, built-in e-mailing function, and more. While the free version of Kingsoft Office does not support Macros or Cover Page, it is packed with more than enough features to take care of any requirements for casual users.

Conclusion and Download Link

Kingsoft Office Suite is one of the best alternatives for Microsoft Office. While the paid versions do provide additional features, the free version should be more than enough for casual users, and features such as the inclusion of tabbed feature, ability to convert files into PDF format, and good interoperability with Microsoft Office documents makes it better than other many other free office suites.

Price: Free

Version Reviewed: v8.1.0.3375 — Kingsoft Office Suite 2012

Supported OS: Windows 2000/XP/2003/Vista/Server 2008/7

Download Size: 39.1MB

VirusTotal Malware Scan Results: Too big for VirusTotal scan

Portability: Installation required

Kingsoft Office Suite download page

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13 comments

  1. DoktorThomas

    OpenOffice has evolved in another home; numerous alternatives are available: Google “OpenOffice”. Sparing no words, I am not a MSFT fan. However, obtaining Office on the cheap (legal versions) has never been a problem. I am confounded by user belief that all things Internet should be “free”. Maybe it is me; donno. If these freebiers will work for what they spend on software, there is plenty of work available…

  2. James

    Well ok then I guess I’m in the minority. I happen to like the program. We home school/private school our children and this is the office program that we prefer. I personally don’t use it much but my wife and oldest child does. The oldest likes the word and the presentation. It opens quickly and does not bloat the computer with a bunch of useless garbage. She has used both Oo and Kingsoft and likes Kingsoft much better. No… I guess its not MS Office but then again its not $400 either. I recommend King soft to other parents and have yet had a negative comment back from them.

  3. Ashraf
    Mr. Boss

    I’m not sure why there are so many negative comments for Kingsoft Office. I had the opportunity to test the Pro version of the program earlier this year (thanks to freebies) and found it to be excellent, which is why I suggested to Vinay he review the free version. Not only did Kingsoft Office perform very well with Microsoft Office files in my experience, but I had no issues what-so-ever uninstalling it.
    Maybe the people having problems used an earlier version. If this is the case, you may want to give this program another try.

  4. Coyote

    Sad to see all the bad reviews in the comments, guess I wont be trying the windows version.

    However it should be noted the tablet version is excellent. The android version is so far the best at opening excel files of any app I’ve tried.

  5. Stan Engeles

    Uninstall is real dodgy. Unlike most apps that leave leftover traces behind, this uninstall removes elements of the operating system that the program uses. The effects of this may not be immediately noticeable for weeks before you find an app misbehaving. Be sure to take a “restore” snapshot before uninstalling.

  6. kelltic

    I tried the Kingsoft Office Suite a few months ago. Well, I installed it, anyway. I hated the very limited wordprocessor and knew it could only get worse, so I uninstalled it. I do not understand why this crippled software gets good reviews. IMO – it just sucks.

    No one ever mentions AShampoo / Softmaker Office. These two suites are really nice, and they claim compatibility with MS. I can’t vouch for that except to say, the suite I’m using opens Word and Excel files.Yes, you have to buy them, but they sell their older versions for something like $9.00.

  7. Color Blind

    While OO & Libre have grown bloated, slow, and unappealingly old, the Gnome Twins — AbbyWord and Gnumeric — are still sprightly, vibrant & youthful.

    Sadly, nothing provides a *real* alternative to MSO (especially Excel) but these come the closest that I’ve found among either the paid for or free alternatives; including Kingsoft