Business still revolves around the Big Three software applications: word processing, spreadsheets, and presentations. With Microsoft charging a fortune for Office licenses, what should a cash-strapped person do? Although there are a number of freebie alternatives to Microsoft Office, such as and Liber Office. However, Open Office faces an uncertain future, and Libre Office is bogged down by a clumsy, outdated interface and iffy file compatibility.

KingSoft Office 2014

Then there is a lesser-known alternative: Kingsoft Office Suite 2014. It has been completely redesigned to feature a new interface. This slick office software includes a word processor, a spreadsheet builder and a presentation creator, which is sufficient for home users or students who simply need to create text documents, spreadsheets or slide show presentations. Business users who want office software that includes applications such as an email client, database manager or publishing platform as well will have to look elsewhere for a more complete office software suite.

KingSoft Office – A Big Ace

On the feature front, it matches up pretty well–though there’s one big ace up the Kingsoft suite’s sleeve: a tabbed view for documents, something Microsoft Office still lacks. Each open document gets its own tab, just like different Web sites get tabs in your browser. That makes switching between them much easier than in Microsoft Office.

KingSoft Office Interface

KingSoft Writer, its word processor, is a modest document application that has a nice-looking interface and includes most features you would need for basic document creating and editing. Additionally, KingSoft’s interface, although attractive, has menus that are a different style than what you may be used to, handing you a bit of a learning curve.

KingSoft Office Menu System

Creating a budget, invoice or other financial document is very simple with KingSoft Spread sheets. This application includes just about any feature you would need in a spreadsheet builder. Our biggest issue was navigating the application, as it does have a bit of a different menu system than you may have used in the past. But we were still able to create spreadsheets; it just took a little longer to locate some features and tools.

KingSoft Office Features

One would be really impressed with KingSoft Presentation, its slide show creator. Although this application’s menu too is different, the interface is familiar and easy to use. We had no difficulty creating a slide show presentation with this application and we like that it includes many slide themes, styles and layouts to choose from. Additionally, you can easily add charts, pictures and animations to your slides. KingSoft works with most of the file formats that are used today, but we were disappointed to find that it doesn’t support .pptx files, Microsoft PowerPoint’s most recent file format. However, you won’t have trouble with the newer document or spread sheet files .docx and .xlsx along with a handful of older file formats.

KingSoft Office Price

The only question is, which version of the suite should you get? Kingsoft offers Free, Standard, and Professional editions, the latter two priced at $49.95 and $69.95, respectively. My advice: start with the free one. Its interface is immediately familiar to anyone fluent in Microsoft Office 2003, and the only significant feature it lacks is macro support.

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