Ssweet SSuite

This full-featured but free office productivity suite is widely compatible and packs extras galore.

SSuite Office is a free productivity suite that can go head-to-head with Microsoft's Office as well as other free and premium suites. It bundles a word processor, spreadsheet, PDF creator, e-mail, Web browser, and lots of extras. Many of its tools are fully compatible with other applications and file types, making it a viable alternative not just as a standalone suite but also in collaborative and business environments. We sampled SSuite Office's Excalibur Release.

Like MS Office, SSuite Office has an extensive Start Menu folder filled with its various tools as well as subfolders for Games, General Utilities, Graphics, Multimedia, Network Utilities, and Security. The bundle also includes SSuite Personal Office, which consists of two lightweight apps, SpreadForm One and WordFormat Two. We opened the main word processor, WordGraph, created a document, and saved it as a Word .doc file that we subsequently opened in MS Word--a very good start. We could also save files in many other formats. Next we opened Accel Spreadsheet, created a file, and saved it as an Excel file. As with Word, the spreadsheet file opened normally in Excel--better still. Moving on to PDF Memo Creator, we created a file and saved it as a PDF. When we clicked it, it opened normally in Adobe Reader. By now, we're pretty much convinced. Netsurfer, the IE-based browser, seemed speedy enough; it's a nice extra, though not enough to displace our default browser. As for the other extras, these are simply too numerous to summarize, but we saw everything from a VoIP utility to a full suite of EZ graphics and photo tools to address books, briefcases, calendars, and much more. Help files were well illustrated with screenshots and even offered English and Afrikaans options.

We were quite impressed with SSuite Office's Excalibur Release. Its main tools are compatible with the standard apps in use, and it bundles enough extras to run an entire business, or nearly so, which seems to be its objective. How it does it all for free is beyond us.

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