Kingsoft(WPS) Office – Best MS Office Alternative for Linux

Kingsoft-office-iconsWeb Browser and Office Suite are two most used applications on every computer. For Linux users there is not much trouble finding a web browser as Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome are available on all major Linux distributions. But situation is not as good for Office Suite. MS Office has versions for both Windows and Mac but unfortunately not for Linux. OpenOffice and LibreOffice are the main office suite alternative available for Linux. Few years back, Open Office was having good compatibility  with MS Office version 2003. But things got changed with release of MS Office 2007 by Microsoft. It came with Ribbon interface and new .docx/.xlsx/.pptx extensions which were not compatible with OpenOffice. Later in year 2010, Sun (main sponsor of OpenOffice) got acquired by Oracle  and development of OpenOffice almost halted because most developers left OpenOffice to develop LibreOffice.

LibreOffice developers have introduced many new features since then but with every new release of MS Office compatibility got reduced. Now MS Office 2013 and 365 versions are available but files created using these are not compatible with LibreOffice 4, the newest version of LibreOffice. When you try to open MS Office created files with LibreOffice, formatting of the document is totally screwed up unless the document is pretty basic. Even I prefer to use Linux (Ubuntu) but just because of MS Office I have installed Windows 7 side by side as I need to work with complex documents and spreadsheets.

Kingsoft-Writer

Fortunately, few days back I discovered one new Office Suite for Linux called Kingsoft Office. Actually calling it new will not be appropriate as Kingsoft is one of the oldest software company based in China. Kingsoft has developed its first Word Processing System based upon DOS even before first release of Microsoft Office. Till now Kingsoft was actively developing Office Suites for Windows and Android but recently they have started developing new version for  Linux. In China, Kingsoft Office is known by name of WPS Office.

I downloaded Kingsoft Office on my Ubuntu powered laptop and found it pretty good. There are three applications in the suite as below –

  • Kingsoft Writer –  MS Word alternative
  • Kingsoft Spreadsheet – MS Excel alternative
  • Kingsoft Presentation – MS PowerPoint alternative

Kingsoft-Spreadsheet

Kingsoft Office is very much compatible with new versions of MS Office. I tried to open many .docx and .xlsx files in Kingsoft Office, and I can say that compatibility is around 95% even for the complex documents. Best part is that the user interface of Kingsoft Office is very similar to MS Office including the Ribbon interface. In fact, you can think of Kingsoft Office almost a clone of MS Office. This will reduce the learning curve for the new users who have recently migrated from Windows to Linux. One more useful feature is that multiple documents can be opened in Tabs so there is no need of switching between multiple windows.

Kingsoft-Presentation

As of now Kingsoft Office for Linux is in Alpha version so there are few limitations and there could be some bugs as well. Some limitations which I have observed so far are –

  • No option for saving files in .docx for Writer and .pptx for Presentation, .xlsx is available for Spreadsheet. 
  • No support for opening or saving files in Open Document formats (.ods / .odt / .odp) which makes it incompatible to LibreOffice and OpenOffice
  • No option for inserting Pivot Table and Chart in Spreadsheet

We can hope that the current limitations will be addressed in next versions of Kingsoft Office for Linux. Even with these limitations, Kingsoft Office is very much usable and useful for every Linux user. At least, you can view the files created in MS Office in almost original format.

Download Links –

Download DEB package for Ubuntu and other Debian based distribution

Download RPM package for Fedora/openSUSE and other RPM based distribution

Download TAR package for any other Linux distribution

WPS Office for Linux Website (Chinese) 

Kingsoft Office Website (English)

 

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11 Responses

  1. José Rivera says:

    I don’t agree with Kingsoft Office as the best office suite for linux, I prefer FreeOffice. Why? Whilst user interface and dictionaries of Kingsoft Office are either English, or Chinese (no other options), FreeOffice offers both in many different languages; whilst Kingsoft Office displays Microsoft Office formats with formatting losses, and has problems opening some of my password protected documents, FreeOffice can open virtually all of the file types that Microsoft Office can open, offering all the compatibility one needs in order to facilitate file/work sharing.; whilst Kingsoft Office has problems with regional standards – spreadsheets cannot be used in Europe, because it’s hardcoded to use dot instead of comma for decimal separator – FreeOffice does it well. See for yourself:

    freeoffice.com

    • Hi José,
      I have never heard of FreeOffice before this. Now after downloading, I am evaluating FreeOffice. I did not find much time to experience it in full but on first impression I can say that user interface of Kingsoft is better. But on the other side, I have opened few documents in FreeOffice and find the representation very good even better than Kingsoft in few cases. I am hoping to write a post on FreeOffice as well in near future.
      Thanks for your valuable comment.

  2. OK says:

    How to remove left indent and right indent on Kingsoft Writer?

  3. Nitin says:

    I find Kingsoft better than LibreOffice.

    Nice review, and thanks for adding links!

  4. Ömer Özel says:

    Thank you José,
    I have just downloaded and tried SoftMaker FreeOffice to open some .docx files that I had trouble with Libreoffice. It works perfectly, no formatting was lost (even in a 11.6MB file with full of images and boxes). I tried it (version 679-01_i386.deb) on Ubuntu 12.04LTS. I recommend it to everyone using Linux and dealing with .docx and .odt files. Best compatibility I have ever seen so far since 1998. Thanks for all making Freeoffice freely available in many languages. (freeoffice.com)

    PS: It took me long time (a few hours to download Kingsoft Office) so I stopped downloading it and switched to FreeOffice, instead.

    • manigordo says:

      I’d rather kept the formating errors. SMFO is not really free; as you have to tradeoff some of your privacy in order to get a serial key. Code which unless attained, makes the download and installation of the suite useless BTW. Besides being against the whole purpose of a truly free OS and software distribution scheme of course… So forgive me if I side with Deependra and strongly recommend either Kingsoft or LibreOffice; in that order of preference…

  5. Peter says:

    Does anyone know if Kingsoft plans to support OpenOffice files in the future? I have lots of .odt,, .ods, etc that I don’t feel like converting.

  6. Saurabh Shabdik says:

    I tried to write Hindi and Bengali using ibus, it failed. WPS freezes. After a while it showed Chinese characters. 🙁 🙁 Any remedies, please?

  7. i downloaded kingsoft in 15 minutes, which is not bad for 151mb. jose is either a shill or just has a really terrible internet connection. i looked up a few of the internet articles concerning kingsoft linux, and noticed a bunch of other shills peddling freeoffice. now i got to ask myself this, if freeoffice really was that good, is it necesarily to deploy shills?

  1. Jun 29, 2013

    […] alternatives, the most common are OpenOffice and its fork LibreOffice. Last month, I wrote about Kingsoft(WPS) Office  which has been  recently launched for Linux. One reader commented on this post mentioning about […]

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