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PC Reviews: Thinkfree Office


Think Free Office Screenshots

The Final Say!




Think Free Office
 - reviewed by Tory Favro
Review Date: 25 October 2002
Review Score: 8.9/10 
Distributor: Pica

Thinkfree Office is a pretty unique piece of software that has been written using Java that allows it to be used in both PC and Mac computers. The way that it has been designed is that it is almost fully compatible with the Microsoft programs, Word, Excel and PowerPoint.

With Microsoft dominating both home and business software with their quality products, it's nice to see a contender who, based on this review is truly giving them a run for their money both with product and price point.

The software is broken up into 3 main categories being Write, Calc and Show. These equate to Word, Excel and Powerpoint. The genius thing about the software is that the creators of Thinkfree have gone with the flow rather than trying to go against it. All these programs save as .doc, .xls and .ppt which are exactly the same as their Microsoft counterparts. All this means for the consumer is that they can accept files via email, work on them and then send them back and the programs will work under either system.

There is also another exciting and innovative feature of Thinkfree Office that I believe makes it worth it's weight in gold. Having purchased TFO, you are entitled to a cyberdrive; a location on the internet where you can upload and download files from which comes in handy when on the go and you cannot take files with you. Simply upload and go! Yet the truest strength of the cyberdrive is this: Say you go to a computer with internet access but no office applications, all you need to do is log into Thinkfree and you can download the applications that you need to use and get to work. It's this level of support that makes Thinkfree a truly innovative and essential piece of software.

The Write function in TFO is practically the same as Word and is a comprehensive word processor that provides just about every feature that the Microsoft product does (as far as our testing went). It was easy to create, edit and insert items into new documents and the nicest thing about the software was that when saving, the program saved as a .doc file without any faltering or convoluted export process. When I opened my Thinkfree .doc in Word it was without a hitch and all my formatting was still intact.

The program is further expandable with downloads and the ability to publish directly to a web server with relative ease. I was also able to insert active HTML such as hyperlinks and email shortcuts and make them activate by clicking on them. It sounds silly to be exciting by such everyday features, but keep reading and I can let you know why impulsegamer is excited about Thinkfree Office to the extent that we are.

Next cab off the rank was Calc. As previously mentioned, Calc is exactly like Microsoft Excel with the capability to create complex spreadsheets and even export the data to graphical information. I was also able to import graphics of my own into the spreadsheet. During my testing of Calc, this was the first time that opening up a Thinkfree file that when opening in Excel I got a warning saying that some of the functions might not work, however everything worked perfectly and then saved easily. Another nice feature was the ability to save the spreadsheets as .HTML files, however this did generate some large files. This also occurs in Microsoft Excel so is not a failing on the part of Calc.

Finally I tested Show and once again was amazed at how easy it was to use and how relative it was to it's inspiration Microsoft PowerPoint. In moments I had created a presentation in Slide Show format with animated, colourful graphics. Thinkfree provides a small selection of 140 images for you to add into your displays, and it was simplicity itself to change the background colours and shapes. All three programs locate your Windows fonts folder so you have the benefit of all your fonts to create some very striking pieces of work.

Thinkfree Office will work on almost every system as well which is fantastic. The system requirements are miniscule and most computers today will have these specifications:

Thinkfree Office System Requirements

  • Windows 95, 98, 2000, NT, ME, XP
  • Pentium® 200 MHz
  • 64 mb
  • Sun JRE 1.3.1

In summary I am pleased to report that Thinkfree Office is a wonderful alternative to Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint at a fraction of the price. It is a powerful, effective and smart piece of software that is truly competitive against it's esteemed competition. It is affordable for everyone as well, and it is at this point that I can let you know why having original office software is not out of the question. At the time of writing this review, Microsoft Office XP Professional retails at about $1299 and includes Word, Outlook, Excel, PowerPoint and Access. Thinkfree Office includes Word, Excel, Show and Folder. It's cost? $99.00

Nuff said.

- Tory Favro

 Copyright ©2002 www.impulsegamer.com