Easy office suite

Use this free office suite for a lightweight yet feature-filled alternative to the big boxes.

A few big-box suites like Microsoft Office define the competition in productivity software, which generally means an e-mail client, a word processor, and a spreadsheet tool at a minimum. And the competition is actually fiercest at the freeware level, where developers compete to offer Office-like bundles for no cost and with enough unique features to stand out from the crowd. SSuite Personal Office is a free suite with the must-have word processor, spreadsheet, and e-mail client as well as a lightweight Web browser, a PDF creator, a sorting utility, an envelope printer, and even some games.

The first tool we sampled was WordFormat2, a word processor with an intuitive interface that saves documents in several rich-text and C++ formats as well as Pascal and text files. It was easy to set the margins and formatting, and the tool offers word count, spelling and grammar, and statistics, among other features. WordFormat2 can save files in Word's DOC format but wouldn't display documents created in Word; however, Word opened the documents we created in WordFormat2. Likewise SpreadForm One proved a capable spreadsheet tool that can save and open Excel 4 and 5 files as well as text files and its proprietary format, yet it didn't display content created in Excel 2010. PDF Memo Creator is an interesting tool that let us quickly create PDFs, while My WebBrowser, also known as NetSurfer One, is a lightweight Web interface seemingly built upon Internet Explorer. The e-mail suite, My EZ Mail, seemed up to the task. Among this suite's interesting extras are The Sorting Machine, a simple but effective tool for sorting lists by string, integer, or float value; and an Envelope Printer that makes it super-easy to create and print high-quality printing labels and envelopes. The simple but effective Address Book included import and export options with choice of fields.

The fully indexed Help files offered options specific for each tool in both English and Afrikaans (South Africa). However, we found SSuite highly intuitive to learn and use, particularly for a productivity suite. If you're looking for a free office suite that's a bit easier to use than OpenOffice (the big dog) try SSuite Personal Office.

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