MS Office Alternative Lotus Symphony Version 3 Now Available for Free, Comes with New Features, Bug Fixes

Written By Sam on 30 October 2010
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The latest version of IBM’s free Lotus Symphony office suite, Lotus Symphony 3, has arrived. The new version of the productivity tool suite is based on the OpenOffice.org 3 codebase and includes three applications: Documents, Spreadsheets and Presentations.

Lotus Symphony 3 comes with new features and bug fixes. Notable features include addition of sidebar menus and support for Open Document Format (ODF) version 1.2 standard. Toolbar layout can now be customized and Microsoft Word and Excel files can be password protected. Also included in the new version is a built-in update utility for future updates. It comes with support for VBA scripts, clip art gallery and Office 2007 OLE. Windows users have the choice of downloading the spelling check dictionary from as many as 22 different languages. Certain Symphony 1.3 features have been disabled in the Symphony 3 releases, including the ability to import SmartSuite files; freehand table; presentation print preview; ability to create new XForm document; and connector support in document editor.

Here’s what’s new in IBM Lotus Symphony 3, along with the enhancements, as shown in the release note:

GENERAL

New Features

  • VBA scripts support
  • ODF 1.2 standard support
  • Office 2007 OLE support
  • Brand new sidebars containing enriched property sections and panels across different editors, with support of sidebar panel management to show or hide sidebar panels
  • Ability to customize toolbar content and layout
  • Ability to create new business cards and labels
  • Ability to insert OLE, audio and video files
  • Master document support
  • Support of Live Text
  • Enabled file encryption and password protection with Microsoft Word and Excel files
  • Support for “Open in new window”. Users can use Command+~ on Mac OS and Alt + Tab on XP/Vista to switch windows
  • New clip art gallery
  • More template files
  • Support of VML images in OOXML files
  • Support of more parameters for protecting spreadsheet files and sheets in VBA API
  • Support of separate downloads of spell check dictionary addons for 22 languages for Windows OS users
  • Support of same build re-installation in silent mode on Windows
  • Support of online check of new product updates

Enhancements

  • Better graphic object rendering through improved anti-aliasing
  • Refined main menu and toolbar design for better usability and consistency across editors
  • Ability to open a file by dragging and dropping it to a tab or empty workbench
  • Better usability during the operation of dragging graphic objects
  • Enhanced the usability in manipulating color property with new color picker controls
  • Enabled new progress bar to launch and load/save files
  • Enabled memorizing user file paths when inserting objects into file
  • Added one click link to LotusLive website on homepage
  • Improved accessibility support for graphic objects in files and help
  • Various additional user experience enhancements
  • Significant enhancement in online help content and structure

DOCUMENT EDITOR

New Features

  • Enabled native nested tables support.
  • Enabled multi-page view layout support.
  • Support of Auto Text
  • More fields support
  • Custom properties
  • Outline levels within paragraph

Enhancements

  • Enhanced PDF export support.
  • Improved document notes function.
  • Enhancements in supporting much more types of fields in documents.
  • Ability to select rectangle region of text in document editor.
  • Ability to set bullets and numbering in multiple table cells at a time.
  • Document header and footer function enhancements and usability improvements
  • Enhanced the interoperability with MS Word documents that contains page grid layout content

SPREADSHEET EDITOR

New Features

  • Extended maximum number of columns from 256 to 1024.
  • Sheet specific zoom support.
  • Text to column value convert support.
  • Detective function.
  • Solve equations and solver.
  • “What if” function.
  • Inline array constants in formulas.
  • Dynamic ranges in validation lists.
  • More formulas.

Enhancements

  • Improved sort and formula performance.
  • Enhancement in moving rows or columns easily through dragging column headers.
  • Ability to select multiple sheets.
  • Formula hot hints.
  • Flexible source range selection
  • Enabled multiple calculation in one sheet of the Lotus Spreadsheet editor, including mixed sort and filter, as well as multiple sort areas.
  • Enabled sorting instant filters in Lotus Spreadsheet
  • Enhanced functionality and usability in “import data from external file” function
  • Enhanced the support of auto selection in files with built-in database ranges

PRESENTATION EDITOR

New Features

  • Multi-monitor display support.
  • More presentation animation effects.
  • More page layouts.
  • More drawing objects.
  • More fontwork.
  • Support of copy and paste pages or objects together with animation effects.

Enhancements

  • Significantly improved user experience in managing and using templates.
  • Enhancement in slide show effect through hardware acceleration for graphics.
  • Improved crop feature.
  • Support of switching between four different views in presentation by clicking tabs at the bottom of the screen.
  • Disabled Autosave during Lotus Presentation slide show to avoid the unexpected interruption
  • Enhanced the Presentation text objects undo and redo function

CHART

New Features

  • Significantly improved chart experience through new chart engine.

Enhancements

  • New chart creation wizard.
  • Many newly added formatting options.
  • More chart types: Column and Line, Cylinder, Cone, Pyramid…

Lotus Symphony 3 is available to download for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux from the company’s site following the required registration.

Download Lotus Symphony 3

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