Kingsoft Office Professional 2013 – Review

very good
key review info
application features
  • It includes three modules: Writer, Spreadsheets, and Presentation
  • (7 more, see all...)

When it comes to Office suites, users generally advocate for one of the extremes: Microsoft’s $399.99 (€295) bundle or the open source alternatives such as OpenOffice, or the forked result, LibreOffice.

Nevertheless, there are in-between choices, such as Kingsoft Office Professional, a three-piece suite, providing a word processor (Writer), a spreadsheet application (Spreadsheets), and a presentation tool (Presentation).

The truth is that each comes with its own ups and downs and they are suitable for a specific category of users or in certain environments.

The price for the full Kingsoft Office Professional package is $70 / €57 and the purchase is for one license that can work on three computers. The company also offers the product as a yearly subscription, for $29.95 / €27. A free version is available, too, but it is low on features.

Kingsoft Writer

If you’re familiar with the looks of Microsoft Word, then Kingsoft’s version will not seem strange at all. From a distance, there are plenty of similarities, although at a closer look differences begin to become obvious.

The list of options is comprehensive and covers almost all the requirements for creating complex documents, enriched with images, shapes, tables, charts, custom text, and page layout.

All the options are organized in menus and appear in a ribbon bar that can be collapsed. This allows increased desktop space and thus a better view at the current project.

A drop-down menu button is present at the top right side of the interface. It contains access to some of the most used options, albeit in a more condensed form.

Having the same entries in different forms may seem redundant but, in this case, it is about making specific, quick changes that are required on a more frequent basis versus a more comprehensive level of customization.

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As an example, changing the font type, style, size, or color can be done using the ribbon options under the Home menu. A few clicks and the specific change is applied to the selected text.

On the other hand, the font formatting panel under the drop-down button provides all these options in a single window and is more elaborate; the dialog includes effects, a preview screen, and character spacing options.

The same level of elaborateness goes for formatting paragraphs. For quickly changing the alignment, the options in the ribbon are great, but more comprehensive customization can be achieved from the menu button.

In some cases, there is the possibility to access the full menu from the ribbon, but this is an efficient way for users who are already very comfortable working with Writer.

One of the advantages in Kingsoft Office Professional is tab support, which allows working with multiple documents at the same time.

On the same note, the paragraph layout tool permits adjusting a text passage in the document using the mouse. It works by dragging the edges of the text and the software sets right/left indentation and the space before/after the text automatically. Furthermore, there is the possibility to set indentation of the first line in the exact same way.

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The same feature is available for easy customization of tables.

The application can load all document formats produced by Microsoft Word as well as RTF, TXT, XML, or HTML. However, importing ODT files is not supported.

Also on the downside, it lacks some features compared even to free suites, such as grammar checking, spell auto-correct, thesaurus, or document comparison.

We also noticed that it does not offer an accurate count of the words. In our case, strings like “you’re” were assessed as a three-word set because the apostrophe was detected as a standalone word.

The contraction is also counted as a full word, while a string such as “John’s” is counted as three words.

Kingsoft’s Writer is not complicated to handle, but it requires some getting used to, and coming from a different word processing environment such as Microsoft Word does not help.

It integrates most of the functionality present in other suites and is suitable for environments where no heavy text production or editing is required.

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Kingsoft Spreadsheets

It incorporates a complex list of features, complete with options for creating various charts based on the data in the sheet, pivot tables or inserting images, shapes, various objects or text boxes.

Just like in the case of Writer, the application has tab support, which allows working on multiple books at the same time.

Formulas are the heart of this module, and Kingsoft’s Spreadsheets is well-equipped and within easy reach. The retractile ribbon bar has them organized by their purpose: financial, logical, text, date and time, trigonometry, lookup, and reference.

There is also the possibility to access all the functions present in the application or just the recently used ones.

A set of template books ensures that you do not have to start the work from scratch. You can choose between business-related presets, education, office, or for personal use, which are suitable for calculating the family budget quick and easy.

The business templates are the most numerous but, even so, the list is not as large and comprehensive as in Microsoft Excel. Nevertheless, you can customize any of them or create your own from scratch and add them to the default bunch.

Spreadsheets from Kingsoft is compatible with Excel formats (XLS, XLSX, XLT), which can be imported with no problems.

Overall, Kingsoft’s application is impressive in terms of flexibility and ease of use only when price is also involved in the equation. Nevertheless, it manages to deliver solid functionality suitable even for home users.

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Kingsoft Presentation

Creating beautiful slide show presentations is generally based on templates, and Kingsoft Office’s dedicated module integrates several such presets to help start the project faster.

Building the project from square one and adding text fields, pictures, or other supported objects can also be done.

The interface is clean and intuitive, with functions and options readily available. Although the set of templates is quite short, the application compensates through the number of slide layouts, which can contribute to a complex presentation project.

Most of the options are available in the ribbon-bar menus, but for more customization the side panel on the right provides an impressive list of choices.

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In the other two modules of the suite (Writer and Spreadsheets), this menu offers little interest but, in the case of Presentation, it is the quickest way to access slide layouts, color and animation schemes, slide transition and customization options, or design templates.

From this area you can basically create and shape the entire project. Preview function is also present to help check the modifications as you make them.

To increase the appeal of the presentation, the application offers the possibility to add sound snippets for each, background music for the entire project, or video files. You have the control over the transition effects, which can be applied to the entire presentation or just a selected slide; they can also be accompanied by preset sounds.

Working with Kingsoft Presentation is quite a simple task and it does not require previous training. It is a great alternative, even for PowerPoint, although it lacks much of the functionality and flexibility in Microsoft’s product.

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The Good

It offers a set of the three most used Office modules at an incredible price, and they are reliable and ready to compete with plenty of similar bundles on the market.

It is compatible with Microsoft Office file formats and during our tests it managed to load them without affecting the structure of the project (document, spreadsheet, or presentation).

The Bad

Despite being compared to pricy packages, it lacks plenty of their functions that can save a lot of time or achieve very complex tasks.

The Truth

Kingsoft Office Professional 2013 has a different audience than its alternatives on the market, but it does deliver the necessary functionality for creating rich and complex documents at a very attractive price. It is suitable especially for home users, but it is also reliable in office environments.
user interface 4
features 4
ease of use 4
pricing / value 5


final rating 4
Editor's review
very good
 

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