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Softmaker FreeOffice 2021 is now available to download.
As with previous versions of this free (but not open source) alternative to Microsoft Office, the full suite of apps is available across Windows, macOS, and Linux with no feature limitations or patchy coverage.
While SoftMaker says this is a “completely revised version” that is “seamlessly compatible with Microsoft Office” file formats, both new and old, it’s hard to know what’s new in FreeOffice 2021 specifically as there’s no official change-log detailing the changes between this and the previous FreeOffice release.
That said, SoftMaker do mention a couple of highlights — just don’t expect most of the features from last year’s commercial SoftMaker Office 2021 release.
FreeOffice 2021 Features
TextMaker 2021 (the Microsoft Word analog) now supports ‘simultaneous use of footnotes and endnotes in the same document.’
PlanMaker 2021 offers ‘extended pivot tables’ and ‘conditional formatting’ as well as full compatibility with Microsoft Excel 2019, 2021 and 365.
Finally, Presentations 2021 is described as “even more compatible with PowerPoint” than before, with new animation and slide transitions based on OpenGL.
And that’s pretty much it.
But is it any good?
Now, I don’t use office software much at all, so I can’t tell you how it compares to OnlyOffice or LibreOffice or even OpenOffice. On paper it competes favourably, but the real test comes from usage.
Despite the emphasis on Microsoft Office SoftMaker’s FreeOffice 2021 is a capable productivity suite in its own right. While it continues to lack a little in its compatibility for OpenDocument Formats (something Microsoft Office is now doing) it’s an attractive alternative for Linux users looking for a robust, modern office suite.
A swathe of UI options (including Ribbon and classic text-based menus) are available, as is a pseudo-dark mode. This visual flexibility combined with its feature set make it a compelling choice.
In summary, if you’re looking for a competent, capable, and cheap (it’s free) Microsoft Office alternative for any desktop OS then FreeOffice is well-worth checking out.
Get FreeOffice 2021
You can download FreeOffice 2021 for free from the FreeOffice website below. Installers for Windows, macOS, and Linux (including .deb and .rpm) are available.
Using Manjaro Linux? You can install FreeOffice 2021 using the
pacman package manager (as well as getting it during the installation of Manjaro).