SoftMaker has officially released SoftMaker Office 2012, a full-featured office suite for Windows that is compatible with Microsoft document formats, but which can run on any PC with Windows XP.
Available immediately, SoftMaker Office 2012 consists of the TextMaker word processor, PlanMaker spreadsheet and SoftMaker Presentations, all of which can seamlessly read and write files in Microsoft Office 2010 formats, according to the firm.
In addition, it supports earlier Microsoft file formats, so the suite can handle Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents created with Office 2003 and 2007 as well.
Unlike earlier versions of the suite, SoftMaker Office 2012 introduces the SoftMaker eM Client. Styled as an alternative to Microsoft Outlook, this integrates email, contacts, tasks and calendar entries, and supports an unlimited number of email accounts.
SoftMaker eM Client supports mail servers using POP3, SMTP and Imap protocols, with a Setup Wizard to get users up and running. It can import all account settings, emails, events, tasks and contacts from other email clients, especially Outlook.
Also new with SoftMaker Office 2012 is the splitting of the suite into two editions: Professional and Standard.
The Professional version includes the SoftMaker eM Client and costs €99.95 (£86), while the Standard version lacks this application and costs €69.95 (£60). However, this pricing includes three licences, enabling customers to install the suite on up to three PCs.
Both editions come with the BasicMaker macro language, which is syntax-compatible with Microsoft's Visual Basic for Applications and lets users automate tasks in TextMaker and PlanMaker.
SoftMaker Office 2012 runs on Windows 7 and Vista, but also on any Windows XP PC, offering a potential lifeline for those still running the older version of Windows. Microsoft's Office 2010 will run on XP, but only with SP3 installed.
The suite also has modest system requirements, according to SoftMaker. "The size of your PC's main memory is irrelevant for SoftMaker Office. If you have enough memory to run Windows, SoftMaker Office will perform flawlessly," the firm said.
SoftMaker Office Professional is available at an introductory price of €49.95 (£42) for a limited period. A 30-day trial version is also available from SoftMaker's site.
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