Whether you resent Microsoft for dominating the office software market or you're simply trying to save a few extra bucks, Kingsoft Writer is one program to consider for your word processing needs.
About Kingsoft Writer 2009
Kingsoft Writer 2009 is part of the Kingsoft Office productivity suite. This package also includes Kingsoft Spreadsheets and Kingsoft Presentation.
For the most part, the basic interface of Kingsoft Writer is identical to Microsoft Word. You should be able to start working on reports and memos immediately. However, you will want to note the following features:
- You can choose the "Compare Side By Side" option to examine two different documents in one window.
- There is a handy Google toolbar in the right hand corner that will allow you to split your screen into two portions so you can type on the top and conduct research on the bottom.
- The "Export to PDF" function allows you to create documents that can be shared with others via email or posted to your business Web site.
Spelling and Grammar Capabilities
In my assessment, the most significant downfall to Kingsoft Office is that Kingsoft Writer seems to be lacking in spelling and grammar check capabilities. For example:
- Microsoft Word is much better at recognizing common typographical errors. While it will automatically correct "the" to "the", for example, Kingsoft fails to recognize this mistake.
- The software will suggest the correct spelling for your mistakes only if you're off by one or two letters, although this seems to be variable as well. "Busness" and "business" will bring up "business" as the correct spelling, but typing "bisness" will get you the suggestion of "bigness" as the correct word.
- Occasionally, you'll find words that are correctly spelled tagged as errors. When composing this article, I discovered Kingsoft Writer repeatedly tagged "founded" as an error and wanted to turn the word "endeavors" into "rendezvous."
I suspect many of these issues are related to the fact that Kingsoft is a Chinese company. However, it's important to realize that you will need to proofread your documents very carefully when working in Kingsoft Writer.
One minor annoyance I found when working with Kingsoft Writer is that the software uses the Wingdings font to create bulleted lists. If you decide to edit the first word in a bulleted item, the program tends to default back to this font, resulting in text that looks like gibberish. Changing your text back to the standard Times New Roman is simple, but can be time consuming.
Is it Worth it?
Is Kingsoft Writer a viable alternative to Microsoft Word? The best way to answer this question is to take advantage of the company's 100 day free trial by visiting the Kingsoft Web site.
At the end of your trial period, you can buy one license for the program for $69.95 or contact the company directly if your business requires multiple licenses.
The company is working on plans to implement a free release of Kingsoft Office 2007, which may be an option to consider if you have minimal word processing needs and you're trying to keep your business start up costs to a bare minimum.