News about SoftMaker Office for Android

We haven’t talked about SoftMaker Office for Android in this blog for quite a bit of time.  It’s high time to bring you up-to-date again!

We have been busy working on SoftMaker Office in the last few months. Thanks to the participation of many volunteers in our internal beta test, we were able to quash many bugs, and we could also find out which features our users would like to see in SoftMaker Office.

This made us add small improvements, such as the ability to use Ctrl-C, Ctrl+X, and Ctrl+V for clipboard operations on Android devices with hardware keyboards.

But we also added major things, such as a multi-language spell-checker that puts red lines under mis-typed words. As far as I know, SoftMaker Office is the first Android office suite that offers to spell-check documents.

SoftMaker Office for Android also lets you access files stored on Dropbox directly from the application. We are working on integrating Evernote, too.

I have already talked in the past about the features that make SoftMaker Office the most powerful Android office suite – such as tables, PDF export, a full implementation of tracked changes, comments like in Microsoft Word, image support in many different file formats, exact rendering of all Excel charts, a huge number of calculation functions in PlanMaker, and the ability of SoftMaker Presentations to show all animations and transitions of Microsoft PowerPoint.

But the most important thing: all three programs read and write the classic and the current document formats of Microsoft Office 97 up to 2010 seamlessly:

  • TextMaker reads and writes DOC and DOCX files,
  • PlanMaker reads and writes XLS and XLSX files,
  • and SoftMaker Presentations reads and writes PPT, PPS, PPTX, and PPSX files.

No other mobile office suites comes close in rendering all these file formats in such precision.

American trade journalist Tam Hanna wrote an extensive review of Android office suites for the German Android User magazine (it’s in the April 2012 issue). SoftMaker Office, though still in beta, was given a 5-star rating. In comparison, Documents to Go, MobiSystems OfficeSuite, Polaris Office, and ThinkFree all received lower grades.

QuickOffice received an exceptionally bad write-up from Mr Hanna: “American software publisher QuickOffice’s namesake office suite was a wholesale disappointment. The relatively pricey product runs stably, but renders documents mediocrely and fails with complex elements in documents.”

• • •

We will soon complete the internal beta test. Immediately after, the public beta of SoftMaker Office for Android will start. I recommend to watch our web site or our newsletter for the announcement.

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77 Comments »

 
  • Daniel says:

    Also, can I request that you create an iPad version soon (I know it’s on your wish list)? I like my new iPad, but the PPT import into Keynote isn’t nearly as good as Presentations.

    From your point of view, iPads are also a big audience – Apple sold 15 million last quarter (as I understand, that’s more than HP sold PCs!) and 3 million last weekend alone.

    Thanks!

  • admin says:

    Daniel: No need for convincing, it’s only a question of manpower (or lack thereof).

  • admin says:

    Daniel: That’s very interesting news. When we checked the developer docs a year ago, things were different. But it is good to see that Google removed this limitation, and this makes Google Docs support much more sensible for SoftMaker Office.

  • admin says:

    Christopher:

    1. While TextMaker supports typographical quotes internally (a full copy of SoftMaker Office is running on the Android device), this capability is not yet wired to a front-end dialog box. I have put in a feature request to make it available.

    2. SoftMaker Office uses all the fonts installed in Android, but lets you easily add more fonts: Simply put any number of PostScript Type 1, TrueType, or OpenType fonts in the folder “softmaker/fonts” on your SD card, and SoftMaker Office will use them.

  • dEcmir says:

    I suppose the app will be tablet-optimized. Have you got any idea of the minimal specifications? Screen size cpu ram and storage available ?

  • Sniper says:

    Hello there.

    Huh… nice to hear about the new Android version of your SMO suite. I have one question (:D) concerning it: owners of SMO 2010 Pro will be, or won’t be entitled to free download/use of it?

    Cheers, Z.

  • admin says:

    dEcmir, Android 2.2 or higher, tablet or phone, 64 MByte RAM.

  • admin says:

    Sniper, SoftMaker Office Mobile for Android is a different program than SoftMaker Office for Windows, so unfortunately we do not offer a free upgrade. Note however that pricing is in line with other Android software.

  • Martin says:

    When d You think Office for Android is ready to launch in Play Store? I’m waiting then Polaris Office on my Asus EEE Pad Transformer sucks!

  • admin says:

    Martin: We need to see the feedback from the public beta. Then we will decide on the release date. In case you don’t know, you can already download the beta from http://www.softmaker.com/english/ofa12betareg_en.htm

  • admin says:

    Carlos: Right now, SoftMaker Office does not offer such a share intent. But I have posted a feature request to our developers so that they can consider it. Thank you for pointing me in this direction; it sounds like a very useful enhancement.

  • Dion Froes says:

    Hello

    I have downloaded the beta version and am trialing it. I wrote to you a very long time ago asking about drop-down boxes/choices in excel – or even word. Will these be avialable via android devices?

    Regards

    Dion

  • admin says:

    Dion: TextMaker and PlanMaker on the desktop support form controls such as dropdown boxes. On Android, you cannot insert new ones, but existing ones in documents should already work.

  • joe walker says:

    Will there be a real spell checker?

  • admin says:

    Joe, there already is a spell checker. Check out http://www.softmaker.com/english/tipsandroid_en.htm for tips how to set it up.

  • Sam Katz says:

    Thanks guys. The work you do is amazing. Does softmaker office currently support footnotes and endnotes? any long-term integration with citation software in your roadmap, assuming such things exist for android?

    I know much less about android, then I do iphone/ipad, which are my current devices. I suppose you could integrate with refworks mobile which is web-based.

  • admin says:

    Sam: Footnotes and endnotes that exist in a document can be edited and removed, but you can currently not insert new footnotes or endnotes. We were surprised that quite a few people requested footnotes, so we will implement it in TextMaker.

    I am not aware of any citation software for Android.

  • Matthew Marlowe says:

    My 9yr old son convinced me to buy him a samsung android ics galaxy 2 10″ tablet instead of a basic laptop which I had been planning on getting for him….. we added a blue tooth keyboard and only real issue is that there isn’t a decent word processor available on the android play store market…

    TextMaker looks like it might be the righ choice for his future academic needs….I’m having him use kingsoft’s suite for time being since it has a spell check and simple interface.

    What I’m curious about:
    - Managing of storing docs on SD card and to google docs/drive
    - Ability to send docs directly to home network printer
    - Ability to easily export to pdf and email
    - Grammer checker?
    - How extensive is the spelling dictionary? Does it use the builtin ICS one?
    - Ability to save in Linux KDE office compatible formats (what I use on my office workstation and might need to review his work – stopped paying the annual ms office tax in 2007)
    - Comprehensive interface that won’t distract him or use too much screen real estate
    - Multiple undo levels and automatic saving of work in progress
    - Support for any custom formating/styles his teachers might require for academic work

  • Harry Wood says:

    Hi I use a lot of macros in my excel files(.xlsm). Of course, at least for now, I won’t expect Planmaker to be able to operate macros, but I wish it could at least preserve the integrity of the file i.e. the macros in the file would not be erased after we open the xlsm file with your Planmaker and save the file after entering some data. This feature would allow me to enter data while on the move with mobile devices conveniently and only use the macros while I have my laptop installed with MS Office 2010.
    I believe SoftMaker is quite close to achieving this and would you consider this feature as one of your next objectives? It will for sure attract many users of xlsm files like me to benefit from your software.

  • admin says:

    Matthew:

    1. Storing on SD card is supported, even multiple ones.
    2. You can load/store from/to Dropbox and Evernote, but not yet from Google Drive (this is on the wishlist).
    3. Sending documents to the printer is not yet supported. However, SoftMaker Office Mobile can create PDF files. If you have a way to print PDF files, you are in business.
    4. No grammar checker, only spell checking.
    5. The dictionary is our own and has about 100,000 words in English (other languages have way more, English is a language that’s scarce with words.)
    6. No KDE (Koffice?) file format support. We support DOC, DOCX, ODT, XLS, XLSX, PPT, PPTX, RTF, plain text, HTML, and a few more.
    7. User interface? Judge for yourself by trying the beta.
    8. Multi-level undo: Check!
    9. Autosave: Check!
    10. Styles in documents are preserved, but currently cannot be applied. This is on the to-do list.

  • admin says:

    Harry: The new Android beta that’s due this weekend opens and saves XLSM files and preserves the macros while doing so.

  • I wondered if you will have the eM Client in Android as well. I would love having my calendar on my phone that I use in SoftMaker Office 2012. I used Microsoft Office for years and all of this software beats Microsoft by miles! I’m so glad that I have changed to SoftMaker!!! Just wondering about the eM Client in Android.

  • admin says:

    Vickie, eM Client is strictly a Windows-only product. It is licensed from another company, and they don’t use multi-platform technology like we do.

  • Steven says:

    I’m sorry if posting in wrong place. Please advise where I should go to make queries such as the below. Thank you

    1) Is there a print button in Textmaker12. I cannot find one.
    2) Is there a way to delete a file save from within Textmaker12″

    Again thank you

  • admin says:

    Steven, 1) printing is not yet possible from SoftMaker Office Mobile for Android. You could create a PDF file and print that using the tools on your mobile device. 2) The file browser does not allow deleting files, but there are plenty of free file managers for Android that offer this.

  • Stephen says:

    Softease’s Textmaker is particularly good especially for those like myself who work in Libraoffice and therefore use *.odt files.

  • Stephen says:

    Whoops. ‘Softmaker’ not ‘Softease

 

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