Fine Office Suite; A Little Room for Improvement Here and There
Reseñado en los Estados Unidos el 26 de junio de 2021
I am a longtime user of WordPerfect and definitely prefer it to the other major commercial office suite that is available. It might not be the most popular but it works very well and it continues to do everything I need. In a market packed with competition, the question is if this suite is still worth the investment, particularly when there are alternatives that are completely free for the downloading that compete quite well. In my opinion, WordPerfect is still a viable contender and is worth some consideration. It isn’t perfect by any means, but it does a lot of things right.
There are four components to this suite, and an extra application included as a bonus. WordPerfect is the word processor that was dominant in the DOS world and though it isn’t the major player it once was it is still maintained, updated and capable of producing professional results. Quattro Pro is a very capable spreadsheet. Presentations is a slideshow creation tool that is very comparable to PowerPoint. Lightning is the odd application in the suite, acting like a clipboard or notebook on steroids. And finally, AfterShot is Corel’s RAW photo file processing tool. I’ll address each separately.
WordPerfect is the star of the suite. It is a very fast, fully-capable word processor that competes well with most others available, and it comes with a few features that you won’t find elsewhere. One of the main advantages that it brings to the table is the Reveal Codes feature which lets you see (and mess with) the formatting codes that a document uses. If you just can’t get a document format straight, sometimes you can find the culprit in Reveal Codes mode and correct it there.
WordPerfect is able to open and export many document formats. The format support is one of the big selling points, but it is also a weakness in that in many cases, the imports almost work but still have some oddities and weirdness (correctable but still requiring effort). One format that I use frequently is ODT which permits me to move between Windows and Linux, and almost every time the document looks right but has a number of strange codes and mark-up symbols that require attention. Saving in WordPerfect’s native format does not make these go away; they still need to be addressed as they propagate to the new format. Simply deleting the symbols causes some aggravation as this sometimes messes with the document content. While it is able to import many formats, I am surprised occasionally by the ones that aren’t there; for example, support for multiple versions of Ami Pro is there but not for its successor, WordPro.
Quattro Pro as a spreadsheet is a solid contender. It is one of the fastest spreadsheet applications I have used and is arguably the most polished application interface-wise in the suite. It easily important and exports multiple formats, including XLSX files and 123 files, with few or no issues. However, it cannot import or export ODS file (Open Document Spreadsheet format) which is a bad oversight for interoperability and sharing.
Presentations is Corel’s answer to PowerPoint, and it imports/exports PPTX files with ease, though it does not work with ODP files (which is also a major oversight for interoperability). When importing PPTX files, I have seen the occasional font size issue, but this has been the extent of the issues I have seen and this is very easily fixed.
If you work with PowerPoint with any regularity, Presentations comes off as quite a shock as it bears little resemblance and the interface works very differently. The editor and panel arrangement areas are in separate full-client tabs so they cannot be viewed simultaneously. On the other hand, the slide outliner (separate tab) provides access to the slide contents in a notepaper-formatted type of list that can be edited and tweaked for fine control, which is different (and a little more straightforward) than is provided in most other slide show applications.
All three of these applications have some things in common. The interfaces are simple, uncluttered and mostly easy to understand and use, with the main functions and capabilities accessible by the default toolbars. These applications start up fast - faster than most of their competitors - and are ready to go quickly. They all support export to PDF which is a common feature in most office applications but isn’t always implemented very well. In the case of these applications, the export works much better than the import, particularly when working with PDF documents that contain embedded graphics. The support for Microsoft-specific formats is quite a bit better, with a high level of accuracy the large majority of the time (minor font and spacing quirks are the most common adjustments that occur).
Lightning is a bit of an odd duck. It works like a scrapbook application that allows you to add and delete content, open documents and view them, build up notebooks and manage them. It is reminiscent of OneNote or EverNote. This is a neat application for compiling information from different sources together in one place, so that notes and documents can be compiled and categorized. Surprisingly, it does not provide direct access to the Windows clipboard.
The suite comes bundled with AfterShot 3, Corel’s RAW photo editor. This is different than typical editors in that it has an emphasis on RAW formats for different manufacturers. My camera’s format is covered and as such it works with the files my camera produces. It is capable of doing the kinds of edits that you would expect from a generic photo editor, but it also can apply any number of presets and effects through available plug-ins. Be aware though that few of the plug-ins are included and need to be purchased, which for me is a deterrent.
For me, the very biggest downside to this suite is a distinct and glaring lack of Linux support. Most other suites provide a Linux variant of their software, but Corel does not.
So, why buy a suite like this when you can get a full suite for free or spend less for a 365 version of the most prevalent suite? In the case of the free suite, Corel stands behind their product and you can get them on the phone or answering emails when something goes wrong. In some environments, this is a requirement and using a community-supported suite is not permitted or is unfeasible because of policy. In the case of 365 suites, sure, you pay less up front for those, but after the time period you pay for is up you lose access to the software and may no longer be able to access your documents if they’re in the suite’s native format. Against other full licenses, Corel’s pricing is competitive.
I like Corel’s offering and will be using it on my Windows system. It’s fast and it works well the large majority of the time. I do wish they had better support for Open Document formats, and the PDF import is a little iffy, but even so I am content to not have the dominant suite on my system.
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