Category Archives: Office Software Suites



Author’s note: This review is for version 2.6.3. Version 2.7 is currently testing, and will be released soon. I will update the review as soon as 2.7 is released.

Microsoft Word is the most used word processor in use today. But many people don’t want to drop $120 (or more) on a piece of software, especially if they won’t use it often. Or what if you’re a Linux user… there is no version of Word for your operating system. What you need is a free, open sourced word processor. A popular option is to turn to LibreOffice or OpenOffice Writer. I recently heard about a word processor for Linux called Calligra Words, so I decided to give it a try.

Calligra Words is part of the Calligra Office Suite, which grew as a fork of the K-Office (as in kde desktop) suite. Currently, this suite is only offered in a Linux version, although Windows/Mac versions are in the works. The Calligra suite is very extensive, including:

Words Word Processor
Sheets Spreadsheets
Stage Presentation application (similar to MS PowerPoint)
Plan Project management application
Krita A sketching and painting program
Kexi A database program (similar to MS Access)
Karbon A vector drawing program (similar to Inkscape or Adobe Illustrator)
Flow A diagramming and flowchart program
Braindump A notepad for drawings, ideas, and images

There is also an up and coming addition, Calligra Author, which is to be an ebook creation program. As a writer, I am extremely excited about this project and can’t wait to get my hands on Author to give it a spin.

The opening screen

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From the launch of Calligra Words, I knew I was in for a different experience. The initial start screen consists of a three column file manager view. The left has a vertical row of buttons for recent documents, open a document, custom document, and blank document. On selecting one of these options, the center column will give a vertical row of options based on the first selection. For example, if you selected to open a document, the center column will give a list of documents that can be opened. In the far right column is a screenshot of the selection of the middle column. So, if we were selecting to open a document, after we selected a document to open from the center column, we would see a screenshot of that document before we decided to open it. This is a feature I really like.

document settings

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The custom document feature is another great feature. By selecting this option, you can specify things like page size, margins, orientation, and number of columns. While other word processors allow you to make the same setting, what is unique about Calligra is that on the right hand side you have a diagram of what the document will look like. For someone who is setting up a multi column layout, this is extremely helpful in visualizing what the final document will look like.

The vertical menu bar

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On opening or creating a document, you will find that the user interface is completely unlike any other word processor you have used. There is a vertical tabbed bar on the right that contains most of the more common functions a writer may need. The layout reminded me of the tabbed layout of the 2007 and up Microsoft products, but vertical instead of horizontal. While at first it took a while to find needed functions, I soon found that I was able to use the interface nearly as fast as MS Office and Abiword. The interface is far better than that of OpenOffice and LibreOffice, which I find to be very cluttered and disorganized.

I was able to open .doc, .docx, and .odt formats without any problem. Even the .docx document, which had embedded formatting and images added, was opened correctly. However, I was not happy when I saved documents. The formats available are open document, HTML, and .mobi. What? I was expecting no .docx, but not even .doc? In my opinion, this is a major omission, and is something that needs to be addressed if the creators of Calligra want to compete with LibreOffice or MS Word.

I don’t mean to get off on a tangent, but this is something I feel needs to be said. I know the promoters of the open document format want it to be the “universal” format because it is open source and anyone can code for it. I understand that. However, since most businesses use MS Word, the .doc and more recently the .docx formats have become “the standard”. 99% of businesses in the United States require resumes in .doc format. Evey publication I have wrote for wants .doc or .docx. Every editor I have worked with uses .doc or .docx. In fact, I don’t know of any business that uses anything other than .doc and .docx. So please, add support to Calligra for saving in these formats!

Like most modern word processors, there is a styles function. The number of styles included is extensive, almost to the extent of of becoming overwhelming. However, it is very easy to both create and import custom styles. Using the style import function, I copied some of the most common style sheets I use from MS Word, and was soon using them without a hitch.

There is a spell checker included, but I found it to be a pain. Spell checking, by default, is done automatically; misspelled words are underlined with a squiggly red line. The spell check database must be fairly small, as there were many words I commonly use that were not recognized. The checker is also easily confused by double spaces. Clearly this is an area that needs more development.

There is a full screen mode, but I found it to be less effective than in Abiword. After activating this mode, I ran into another problem; I couldn’t remember how to return to the standard view. It seems that Shift+Control+F is the shortcut needed to return to the normal view. Why you would make a shortcut so difficult is beyond me. In Abiword, you can switch the view with a simple click of F11, which is easy to remember.

There are some great referencing tools available with Calligra Words. Footnotes and endnotes are both supported. There are also options to insert citations and then automatically generate a reference or bibliography page. There is also a Table of Contents generator, and I must say I like it much better than the one included with MS Word.

You can also insert a wide variety of objects into your documents. Images, tables, charts can all be added. Headers and footers are available as well. Unfortunately, I could find no way to add hyperlinks. This was a real deal breaker for me, as I consider this to be a basic function.

There are a few other things missing that turned me off to this word processor. There is no way to annotate documents for collaboration. You also can’t record changes made to the document. Essentially, there is no provision for any type of collaboration. This make Calligra Words pretty useless for my work, as I have to collaborate with others frequently.

It’s hard to draw a conclusion about Calligra Words. On one hand, there are some really neat features. The user interface is the best I have seen, and is far beyond the drop down menus of OpenOffice. There are great options for style enhancements. But this program lack several core components that would make it suitable for any professional. No collaboration, no hyperlinks, lack of saving in .doc/.docx formats, and a buggy spell check all make this word processor lacking. I do, however, think Calligra Words shows great promise, and with some work could be developed into an excellent word processor.

I hope you have enjoyed this hub. Please feel free to leave comments below.

Here are some other hubs you may enjoy!

LibreOffice Review
Free Alternatives to Microsoft Office
What follows is my review of Abiword, a free multi-platform word processor.


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Microsoft Word is the most used word processor in use today. But many people don’t want to drop $120 (or more) on a piece of software, especially if they won’t use it often. Or what if your a Linux user… there is no version of Word for your operating system. What you need is a free, open sourced word processor. A popular option is to turn to LibreOffice or OpenOffice Writer. However, for the past few days, I have been playing around with a standalone word processor called Abiword, and I have to say there is not much not to like.

Out of the Box

Abiword is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux (I personally tested the Linux version using Ubuntu 13.04). The first thing you notice out of the box is how fast this program boots up. Even on older computers and netbooks, this word processor is lightning fast. It also loads files extremely quick; I opened the word file for my novel Escape to Freedom, which is a three hundred page novel. Abiword opened and uploaded the file in about four seconds. MS Word took twelve seconds to load the document. (I realize most people will never have a need to open such a large document, but I thought this would be a great way to test the speed of this program.)

The speed is not limited to booting and opening files; the program is lightning fast with keyboard input as well. When using MS Word, the screen often lags three or four characters behind my keystrokes. However, I found it impossible to type faster than Abiword. This program is simply lightning fast!

Abiword has a great user interface. I personally like the tabbed interface of the 2007 and up Microsoft products, but for a menu style interface, Abiword is done quite well. The toolbars are well thought out and contain the most commonly used functions. Even better is the fact that the bars are not cramped and confusing like LibreOffice (one of my biggest complaints about that program). Of course, one can go to the drop down menu for all of the functions of this processor, and once again, everything seems well thought out and organized.

Screenshot of Abiword in use

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I opened many different file types, watching for errors and glitches. Most opened without a hitch; the only glitch I noticed was with .docx format. While the entire document loaded, the heading and title format were not retained. This is personally something I would like to see fixed, as .docx is a format I use quite often (I personally prefer it to .doc and .odt).

Speaking of formats, there are a whole host of formats that you can save to besides the native Abiword format. The only one that seemed to be missing from the list is… you guessed it… Microsoft’s .docx format. I tried saving documents to various formats and then opening them with other programs, and only had one problem. It seems that Abiword is the only program that can open the .abw format, which is Abiword’s native format. (However, since so many formats are available, this isn’t much of an issue.) Abiword also has a great option for saving a copy of a document in multiple formats. This is something I have long said MS Word should have in addition to the “save as” feature.


Abiword has nearly every feature that one would expect from a modern word processor. While it would take too long to talk about every feature, let me point out some of the highlights.

Styles Like MS Word and several other word processors, Abiword has the option to use styles. While only a few styles are preprogrammed in, there is an option to import styles, which allowed me to quickly add my most commonly used styles from MS Word. Creating and editing styles is also easy to do, thanks to a simple, well thought out style menu. While LibreOffice and OpenOffice both use styles, the style menus are confusing and difficult to use; Abiword does it much better.
Formatting Anything one could ask for in formatting is here. There are a wide variety of fonts available, as well as options for font and highlighting color. Footnotes, endnotes, headers, and footers are all supported. Tabs, spacing, columns, and alignment… all standard stuff… are easily adjustable.
Inserting Objects A wide variety of objects can be inserted into documents. Tables, Table of Contents, footnotes, endnotes, headers, footers, hyperlinks and pictures are all supported. You can also edit pictures with Gimp, a very nice feature.
Full screen mode For those who are easily distracted, this mode is for you. Click on the F11 key, and the document consumes the entire viewing area. I gave this a try while writing this review, and I have to say that it’s a great asset when trying to stay focused.
Spell check Like most word processors, a spell check is included. I found the dictionary to be pretty extensive, and only had to words occasionally. I was disappointed in that there is no grammar check, although I have found most grammar programs to be lacking.
Review and edit As a writer who often has others review and make comments on his work, I was happy to see that Abiword allows for markup and comments. Like MS Word, you can show or hide revisions, as well as sort through the revisions, either accepting or rejecting the changes. Better yet, those revisions and comments can be saved and viewed on other word processors like LibreOffice and MS Word, which makes Abiword very effective for collaboration.


Abicollab is what I consider to be the greatest feature of this word processor. Simply put, this collaboration feature trumps not only Google Docs but every other collaboration software available. After registering (for free) at the Abicollab site, you can upload documents for collaboration. You are able to create groups of collaborators, as well as keep a list of contacts through the site. There is even an option to get the rss feed of your documents.

Here is the great feature of Abicollab… changes are made in real time. Now for the person who is simply typing up a letter, this may not seem like a big deal. But to a writer like me, or someone who is working on a business or scientific document that has many collaborators, this can represent a huge increase in efficiency. For example, when I was going through the editing process of my last novel, I emailed the document to my editor and then waited a week while he made revisions. He then sent it back to me, I reviewed the revisions, and then sent it back with what I had accepted and rejected, as well as a few changes I thought of. We went back and forth like this for a few weeks. Had we used Abicollab, I could have been reviewing his revisions as he made them, and the time savings would have been enormous.

I think it is easy to see that Abiword has all of the features the average user could want. I would even go so far as to say it would be a great tool for writers and other professionals who only need a word processor. While LibreOffice and MS Office are better tools for those who need all the features of an office suite, you have to give credit to the creators of Abiword for a solid, cross platform word processor with tons of features. Give it a try!

I hope you have enjoyed this hub. Please feel free to leave comments and questions below.

Here are some other hubs you may enjoy!

Free Alternatives to Microsoft Office
A quick review of Scrivener, a great program for novel writing.
I recently added Microsoft Office to my Linux system. What follows is a tutorial of how I did it.
LibreOffice Review

How to convert Word Document to PDF

How to convert Word Document to PDF

Some time you might need to convert your word document file to PDF. There are so much advantages of PDF and the best one is that no one can edit your document or do some changes easily. PDF Document is also suitable for distributing a E-book or some type of manual. So I am going to show you a way to convert your word document to PDF.

Methods We Will Use

I will show you 2 methods to convert your word document to pdf. First one using Microsoft Office 2007/2010 and in the second one we will use a website to convert your word document to pdf. If you don’t have Microsoft office 2007/2010 then you can use the second method.

Method 1: Using Microsoft Office 2007/2010

Step 1: Open Microsoft Office 2007/2010 using your Start menu.

Step 2: Using the Open menu, select the word file you want to convert to PDF.

Step 3: Click the Microsoft Word button in the top-left hand corner of your screen.

Step 4: Go to Save As > PDF or XPS. If this option is not available then Click Here to Download and Install the Microsoft Office PDF to XPS converter.

Step 5: Type your desired file name and do the necessary adjustments. You can choose Minimum size to reduce the quality and size.

Step 6: Click on Publish and It will save your PDF file and open it up in your PDF reader if you have installed already.

Method 2: Using the Website

Step 1. Click here to Go to free pdf conversion website. There are many other websites as well including Print in PDF, Free PDF Convert etc. You can search on Google for huge list.

Step 2: Click on Select file or Browse to locate the word document.

Step 3: Choose the method If you want to wait for the conversion to complete on your web browser or email you the download link in the website. (Using the second option you may need to provide your email address)

We recommend you to use the email option because if you accidently close the browser or going some where then you will automatically get the pdf document in your email.

Step 4: Do the neccessary adjustments and Click on Upload and Convert.

You will get your PDF file in your email or you will get the download link in your browser.

I hope these methods will have successfully helped you. If you have any problem or still cannot convert your PDF file then please let me know and I will be happy to solve your problem.


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The Microsoft Office suite has dominated office applications for years. While this is partly due to aggressive marketing on by Microsoft, it is easy to make the argument that this is the most versatile office suite available. But there is always room for improvement. There are tons of third party plugins available to boost the productivity of the office suite.

What follows is a list of my favorite plugins for MS Office. I have added links to the manufactures’ home page for each category, so you can simply click the plugin title to get more information about each of these programs.

Office tabs

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My Writer Tools

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Office Tabs If you are like me, at any given moment you have several working documents open in word or excel. Managing these can often be a pain. Office tabs solves this problem by adding a tab for each open document. Switching between documents is simple and organized. An added feature I’m fond of is the ability to save all documents with a single click. There is both a free version and a paid version with extra features.

My Writer Tools I use this tool a lot when editing documents. This is actually a suite of tools for writers that is implemented through the task bar on MS Office. Included are:

Lighten Up Finds overly long sentences. Very useful for novel writers!
Format Fixer Find and fix formatting problems. I am notorious for adding too many spaces between sentences; this tool fixes every spacing error with one click.
Ly Remover Want to improve the readability of your work? Get rid of the unnecessary –ly ending on many adverbs.
Jargon Buster Find and fix some of the most common misused jargon.
Cliche Cleaver We are all guilty of using cliches. This tool will find the most common cliches in your document.

There are other features included, but these are the most used. My Writer Tools is a paid program; as of the time of writing, it sells for $19.95. There is also an editor’s version which has more features; it sells for $29.99.


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UBitMenu Many people do not like the interface of the 2007+ Microsoft Office. While I personally like the tabbed interface, I do want to point out there are several plugins that will add a classic drop down menu to Microsoft Office. UBitMenu is one of those, and as an added bonus, its free for personal use.

After installing UBitMenu, you’ll see a new tab next to Home: the aptly named Menu. Click it and you’ll find File, Edit, View, Insert, Format, and all the rest of those long-lost drop-downs. Even better, UBitMenu retains most of Office’s newer features, like the more robust Save As submenu. You get the best of both worlds.

Send Personally Do you ever have the need to send an email to a long distribution list but don’t want the recipients to see who else the email was sent to? Send personally does just that. This is a plugin for MS Outlook that sends a personal email to each individual on a distribution list. It will also automatically personalize each email. This is also a paid program, with a price of $24.00.

Google Cloud Connect Do you have a need to collaborate with others in Word, Excel, or PowerPoint? You can share, backup, and simultaneously edit documents via Google Cloud storage. The best part is that this is a free application!

Save as PDF This one is right from Microsoft. Microsoft Office 2007 can’t save documents in PDF format without this little plugin. And of course, it is free!

I hope you have enjoyed this hub. Know of other MS Office plugins? Let me know about it in the comment section below.

How to Convert Powerpoint Presention to Video Free

How to Convert Powerpoint Presention to Video Free

Hello Visitors.

Sometimes we are needed to convert Powerpoint presentations (PPT) to Video so we don’t have any program to run our presention so to do that task easy, I have come up with a new thing.

I am going to show you how you can convert your PPt files to Video so you can upload it on Youtube or show to other people without need of MS Powerpoint or any other viewer.

So no more wasting time and follow the below tutorial.

Convert PPT To Video

To do this task we will need software to convert our PPt file to Video. The below software I am going to give is freeware but you can find pro version at their website which is given below.

The freeware puts watermark on convert PPT so you may need Pro version of this program if you don’t want watermark.

Click Here to Download the Program

So after downloading the programme. Install it in your PC.

After Installing Run it and and you will see the E.M. Powerpoint Video Converter Pro or Free version.

After running click on Add Now you will see a new drop down menu which will ask you if you want to add files or folder. Click the option that suits you.

Now you will see a dialogue box in that dialogue box either select your folder or files and Click OK.

Now after adding the files you will see some option choose and set the option that suits you. After that when you come to Default output folder, this is where your video file is gonna saved. Click on button next to it and browse to the folder you want to save your video.

After everything is set click on Convert and wait until it converts your PPT to video. When it done converting click on the Open button at the bottom it will open your folder where it has saved your video.

And then in that folder you will see your video.


I hope the above method has helped you in converting your PPT file to Video. If you found any problem then let me know and I will try my best to solve your problem.

Yep! I showed you a easy way to convert your PPt to video but if you buy the PRO version then you will have more features and more facilities and also there will be no watermark in your video.

Thanks and Enjoy.

Please share feedback with me.

LibreOffice 3.6 Review

LibreOffice 3.6 Review

OpenOffice has long been the best known competitor to Microsoft Office, and many free office suites are based on the OpenOffice platform. LibreOffice is no exception. The idea for LibreOffice occurred in 2009 when Oracle acquired Sun Microsystems, the company which had maintained OpenOffice since 1999. While Oracle did eventually donate OpenOffice to the Apache foundation, several former OpenOffice developers founded the Document Foundation, which continued the development of the OpenOffice code under the name LibreOffice.

Like, LibreOffice includes a word processor (Writer), a spreadsheet (Calc), a presentation maker (Impress), a drawing and diagramming program (Draw), and a database manager (Base). Superficially, the two suites appear almost identical, and LibreOffice even carries over its version numbering from the last release. But rest assured this is not just a rebadged OpenOffice; the latest version (3.6) has over 30,000 code changes. The Document Foundation calls LibreOffice the best free office suite ever, so I decided to run it through the paces and see how it stacks up against the most used Office software…Microsoft Office.

LibreOffice is available as multiplatform, meaning there are versions available for Windows, Mac OS, and Linux. The windows installation took a while, mainly because OpenOffice relies on Java and I need to download some Java updates before I went any farther. Once I got past the Java issues, everything went smoothly. (As a side note, if your computer is running Ubuntu, it comes preloaded with LibreOffice.)

One thing I noticed right away is that the toolbar is inconsistent across platforms. I run Windows on my desktop and Ubuntu on my netbook, and the toolbar is definitely different between the two. Not a big deal, but for someone like me who bounces between platforms, it can be a bit frustrating.

Once you have LibreOffice up and running, you will notice that the interface is virtually identical to OpenOffice, or pre-2007 Microsoft Office. If you are someone who hates the MS Office ribbon interface, then odds are you will love the LibreOffice interface. However, if you are like me and prefer the Microsoft ribbon, that you may feel that the interface slows you down. I will say that the menus and boxes are much cleaner and more organized than OpenOffice or MS Office 2003, but I would so much like to have an interface like the Microsoft Ribbon, or perhaps like adobe products.

While using the LibreOffice word processor (writer) I found that for basic documents, word and writer interchanged just fine. However, once you started adding pictures, watermarks, tables, and graphs to the document, formatting got a little troublesome. I also have issues with the spell check; there are numerous words that I use on a daily basis that are not part of the spell check dictionary. Adding the words to the dictionary is easy enough, but it is obvious that the dictionary database is not nearly as extensive as MS Word. The grammar check leaves much to be desired as well.

The Calc spreadsheet program is a pretty good replacement for Excel, and I really couldn’t find any shortcoming of the program. Excel files imported without a hitch, and the input bar for formulas will expand to six lines, which should be enough room for complex equations. I did find that Calc handles some things differently, which may cause some Excel uses headaches.

Impress, which is the equivalent of PowerPoint, did not impress me. It is fine for creating simple slide presentations. PowerPoint files can be imported and opened, but the rendering leaves much to be desired.

Base is also much of a disappointment. Only the windows version can import Access databases; the Mac and Linux versions can’t. So, if you need to use Access files, you are stuck with using Access. While Base is a competent data storage tool, in terms of front-end database UIs it’s no match for Access, which is practically an application platform itself.

Draw is a vector graphics editor like Microsoft Visio. I will start by saying that I only have limited experience with Visio. However, I will say that I think Draw is superior to Visio in many ways. First, I think Draw is easier to learn. Plus, Draw has features that make tasks much easier as compared to Visio. For example, Draw has a grouping feature that allows you to easily group different objects together and then do different actions on the group like moving the group, connecting with other groups etc. In addition to other formats (XML format is the default), you can also export your diagrams as SWF Flash files…a very nice feature.

A final great feature of LibreOffice is the extensions. There are a great number available, and all of those available at the LibreOffice Extensions page are free. There are also tons of templates available as well.

So what do I think of LibreOffice? Of all of the MS Office alternatives I have tested, I believe LibreOffice is the best. For many tasks, it is a great substitute to MS Office. I do wish it had a ribbon interface (or the vertical system used by Adobe) and many of the applications are far behind the Microsoft equivalent. I am using LibreOffice on my netbook for when I am on the go, and for those purposes, it works just fine for me. Since it is a free suite, there is no harm in downloading it ad trying it out for yourself. Give it a try, and I think you will be very happy!

I hope you have enjoyed this article! Please feel free to leave comments below, and be sure to check out some of my other articles! If you are interested in alternatives to MS Office, be sure to check out my article “Free Alternatives to Microsoft Office”.