WPS Office, built by Chinese development group Kingsoft, claims to be the leading free office suite in China. And with such a familiar looking interface that’s not a difficult notion to swallow.
Three applications make up the suite:
- Writer – Word processing application
- Presentation – Slideshow presentation maker
- Spreadsheets – Spreadsheet application
Each of the apps are incredibly familiar in look to their Microsoft counterparts.
Compared to other free offerings like LibreOffice, Google Docs, and Lotus Symphony, WPS has a distinct advantage: a lower learning curve for those already versed, trained, or used to the Windows apps.
Trivial sounding, sure. But for many the notion of having relearn what they already know fosters reluctance. WPS, with its marriage of free and familiar, has a good punt at solving this.
FeaturesThe Qt suite apes the interface of Microsoft’s ‘Ribbon’ interface, and whilst I can’t tell you whether it’s 100% accurate in its replication (I haven’t used Microsoft Office long enough to tell), it’s certainly authentic looking.
For non-Ribbon fans WPS Office comes with the option of enabling the old, menu-based Office look
WPS Office also adds a few handy features of its own, including an online pool of document templates and the ability to edit multiple documents in tabs.
Biggest drawbacks: the release is beta; it sucks at opening .ODT files. Oh, and the entire interface is in Chinese by default (though reader Mohammed Sayanvala has a fix for the latter on his blog).
Download WPS Office Beta for UbuntuThe latest version of WPS Office, a beta, can be downloaded for Ubuntu 32bit by hitting the button below:
After installation completes you’ll be able to launch each of the three applications through the Unity Dash.
On first run you’ll be prompted to sign up to.. Well, I don’t know because my Chinese is non-existent. Suffice to say, you can slap any old rubbish into the required fields and it’ll disappear.
How to install WPS Office for Linux in Ubuntu/Linux Mint/ElemenatryDownload the .deb file from http://community.wps.cn/download/ [Alternate versions are also available for other Linux distros]
Install the package either through Software Centre or whatever deb package manager you use.
Open Kingsoft Writer. You will be prompted with a form asking for your name and some stuff. The form is in Chinese. Fill in anything. After filling out the form, the app will open in full Chinese. To change the app to English, close the app and then run the following code in a terminal window:
cd /opt/kingsoft/wps-office/office6/2052 sudo rm qt.qm wps.qm wpp.qm et.qmOpen any Kingsoft app again and it should display in English.
WPS Office: A Microsoft Office Clone For LinuxDo you love the Ribbon UI in Microsoft Office so much that you will try all means necessary to install MS Office in your Linux machine? If this is the case, WPS Office is the one for you.
Be it an online or a desktop app, there are plenty of office suites around that you can use as the Microsoft Office alternative. The difference between WPS Office and the rest of the office suites is the striking resemblance it has to Microsoft Office. Yes, it comes with the Ribbon UI, and even the shade and color are similar. In fact, I would call it a Microsoft Office clone rather than an alternative.
One advantages of WPS Office are that it doesn’t come with a hefty price tag (the basic version is free), and it has a Linux version. The disadvantages? It is in Chinese (but don’t worry; we have a fix for that).
If you access WPS Office’s English website, you can only download the Windows and Android versions. For the Linux version, you will have to go to its Chinese website to download the installer file. Currently it is only available in 32 bit, so make sure you have installed the 32-bit libaries (iab3-libs2) in your 64-bit machine. There is also a repackaged version for UbuntuKylin available for download. For those who don’t understand Chinese, you can go to the download page and download the package (rpm, deb or tar.gz) for your machine.
Changing the menu interface to EnglishAfter you have downloaded and installed this Microsoft Office clone, open a terminal and type:
cd /opt/kingsoft/wps-office/office6/2052 sudo rm qt.qm wps.qm wpp.qm et.qm
Features of WPS Office
Dual UI viewThe default menu layout is the Ribbon UI, but if you prefer the old classic layout, you can change it with the “File -> Switch UI” button.
Built-in tabbed interfaceWhen you open multiple documents, they are opened in a tabbed interface so that you can switch between them easily.
Is WPS Office a good replacement for Microsoft OfficeWPS Office suit comes with Writer, Spreadsheet and Presentations. If you are in need of a note-taking app like OneNote or email client like Outlook, then WPS is not for you.
WPS Office allows for you to open and view the XML-based file format (.docx, .xlsx, .pptx), but it doesn’t support saving to these formats. So if you have a .docx document, you can open, view and edit in WPS Writer, but you have to save it in .doc format. In addition, WPS Office doesn’t support Open Document format (.odf, .odt). If you are fine working only with the .doc, .xls and .ppt format, then WPS will be great for you.
I have not done a deep testing to test the full functionality of WPS Office and whether is it compatible with the advanced features of Microsoft Office, but simple editing seems to be working fine, almost the same way as it was done in MS Office. According to the comparison sheet, this Microsoft Office clone does support features like Equation and Symbol, illustrations, Comment & Track Changes, Mail Merge etc.
As you can see, the usefulness of WPS Office really depends on what you need to do with your Office suite. If you can’t do without the Ribbon UI, can work with the old MS Office format and can stand a few Chinese characters in the app, then WPS office is a great option for you.