I used WPS Office long before it’s called WPS Office. Back then, it was called Kingsoft Office, developed by China-based Kingsoft. That was more than 10 years ago. At that time, it was already a worthy competitor to the reigning productivity suite MS Office. And the price tag was free. Nevertheless, I had to switch back to Microsoft, because our key product DewanEja integrates primarily with MS Office.
Kingsoft is upping its game recently. With almost 100% market share in China, it is eyeing global market for growth, and Malaysia seems to be one of its focus market in South East Asia. Intrigued by its potential, I was motivated to revisit WPS Office.
WPS Office vs Microsoft Office: Which one Is right for you?
Microsoft Office is the most popular office suite in the world, but it’s not the only option. Among the many free alternatives, WPS Office is a great contender that offers many of the same features. As expected, it combines word processor, spreadsheet and presentation all in one application. Furthermore, WPS Office touts a PDF editor. This is where it edges out MS Office a little. More about that later.
I have no interest in digging into every features of WPS Offce and MS Office. Most of them are irrelevant to mass users. Productivity suites have become such complicated behemoth that I am guessing 90% of us barely use 10% of their features. (How many people actually know what a PivotTable is? Or are informed enough to use tabs and columns instead of spaces to align things?)
Instead, I just want to point out that for people who want to type a letter or create a simple sales report spreadsheet, WPS Office is way more than capable. And it does a couple more things that MS Office doesn’t.
A unified interface for word processor, spreadsheet and presentation
WPS Office presents itself differently. Unifying word process, spreadsheet and presentation in one interface brings a refreshing experience. Opened documents are sorted nicely into tabs, just like your web browser. It is a modern approach. The entire package is more lightweight too compared to MS Office.
WPS Office being different doesn’t mean there is a learning curve. There barely is. Kingsoft wisely follows the convention set by MIcrosoft. Ribbons and buttons are right where you expect them to be. I feel right at home immediately. Don’t worry about file compatibility issues either. So far, I have yet to encounter any mangled formats when opening MS Office documents. WPS Office nailed it in this aspect.
If I’m being really picky, I must say the “Eye Protection Mode” is just gimmicky. It darkens the interface or make the document appear greenish. I don’t think that helps your eyes. At least the Eye Protection button is tucked and hidden away under Student Tools.
PDF Editor shines, just brightly enough
WPS Office offers a PDF editor. You can edit texts and add images with WPS Office. Technically, you can edit PDFs too with MS Word, but MS Word has to converts a PDF into Word document for editing, and then converts it back. This often results in formatting loss. I have tested both suites with the same set of PDF files. MS Word failed at maintaining formats. WPS Office passed my test flawlessly.
PDF Editor is a paid feature available in WPS Office Premium/Pro. You can test drive it in the free Standard version, but you cannot save your files. The PDF Editor is by no means a professional editor like Adobe Acrobat or PDF X-Change, which support form fields and offer additional security features. But again, the PDF Editor in WPS Office is good enough for 90% of us, who just want to modify some texts and paste in a signature image. Should you decide to invest in WPS Office Premium/Pro, it’s nice to have a bonus PDF Editor come bundled.
WPS Office Standard is free to use. Should you need the Pro version, at the time of writing subscription costs RM174 per year., which is significantly lower than the RM269 of MS Office 365.
Given the value for money that WPS Office offers, we at tnt is seriously considering to promote WPS Office to customers as an alternative to MS Office. One key consideration is: can WPS Office support our national language, Bahasa Melayu?
WPS Office for Malay?
Currently WPS Office supports multiple languages, but Malay is not one of them just yet. We are currently looking into developing spelling and grammar checker for WPS Office. We shall attempt to work with Kingsoft to make it happen.
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