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What's new in SoftMaker Office 2018? – Part 1

mercredi, 22 novembre 2017 08:00

Dear SoftMaker customers:

Not long ago, we started shipping our new office suite SoftMaker Office 2018 for Windows. To help you keep track of the numerous improvements, we present the most important ones in a multi-part series of articles here in the SoftMaker Blog.

Have fun reading about our new Office!

Part 1: Don't let the ribbon scare you!

If you have participated in the beta test or tried out out the free 30-day trial version of SoftMaker Office 2018, you have probably already noticed: right at the first start of SoftMaker Office 2018, you can choose the user interface you want to work with:

This gives you the choice to work with either with the classic user interface using menus and toolbars, or with modern ribbons.

As an experienced user of SoftMaker Office 2016, you might wonder if you should really take the plunge and go with the new ribbons. We can only give this recommendation: Do it, you won't regret it!

The new ribbon interface

For fans of the tried and tested, there is good news at this point: Even when using our new ribbon interface, you can still use the menu. To ensue a smooth migration, we have added a handy feature for you: the "hamburger menu":

The name "hamburger menu" comes from the icon that is customarily used for such menus: three stripes that symbolize the three major elements of a hamburger.

As you can see, you will find all menu entries from the classic user interface here. If you don't find a certain command in the new ribbons immediately, you can always invoke it via this menu.

But we are sure you'll quickly find things faster in the new ribbons – numerous elements are more easily accessible than ever before.

The best advice we can give: play with the new ribbons to explore them. You will see that you can rely on your intuition: For example, do you want to insert a graphical shape? No problem – under Insert > AutoShape, you will find a catalogue which lets you conveniently insert the shape of your choice in the document:

Once a shape is inserted, you will notice that something is going on at the right edge of the ribbons: depending on the situation, additional "context-sensitive" ribbon tabs become active, which offer options and commands that "make sense" in the given situation. In this case, the context-sensitive ribbon "Object" is displayed as long as the just-inserted AutoShape is selected:

Here you will find the most important options for editing the selected object, all in one place. For example, you can use the control "AutoShape templates" to conveniently select from a catalog of pre-defined formatting options and apply them to the shape object with a click:

When you let the mouse pointer hover over one of the options, a preview of that option will appear in your document. This makes it much easier to choose between different formatting options.

Backstage view? No, thanks!

You may have seen this in the office suite of a major vendor: You click on "File" and expect an ordinary "File" ribbon with file-related commands. But suddenly a confusing new user interface opens up that takes up the entire screen, makes it difficult to access documents on your hard drive and pushes you to use "the cloud" for your documents. We decided against this so-called "backstage view" for file operations. With SoftMaker Office 2018, you get what you expect when you click on "File": an attractively designed and well-conceived File ribbon:

In this ribbon, too, you will quickly notice some practical "little helpers" for your everyday work. You can use the "New" and "Open" controls to display not only the most recently used files and templates, but also to "pin" frequently used files and templates at the top – all you have to do is click on the small "Pin" icon:

Did you know? All the new control elements discussed here can also be found in the classic user interface – for example, you'll see the improved "Open" icon in the Standard toolbar, directly below the Edit menu:

So, in case you decide against ribbons, you will still benefit from the many interface enhancements, even in classic mode with menus and toolbars.

Small but powerful: the group arrows for advanced functions

Although most features are available directly in the ribbons, sometimes there are situations where you want to dig deeper into the matter, in order to make fine adjustments to your document. In these situations, the little "triangles" at the bottom right of the command groups will guide you to advanced options:

For example, if you want to change the color of a paragraph border, simply click on the group arrow marked above. The well-known "Paragraph" dialog box will appear, allowing you to specify all the formatting settings of the paragraph in detail. All you have to do is switch to the "Border" tab and set the details of the desired paragraph border. In our case, simply open the "Color" dropdown and pick a color for the contour line.

Always at your service: the Quick Access toolbar

Some commands must always be at hand, no matter which ribbon is currently active. For this purpose, there is the practical Quick Access toolbar to the left of the document tabs:

In its default state, it contains the following elements:

  • the "hamburger menu" that we already talked about,
  • a button to activate the touch mode with large icons and more generous spacing,
  • the most important file operations (New, Open, Save),
  • "Undo" and "Redo" and
  • Toggle object mode.

Not good enough for you? No problem: You can customize both the quick access toolbar and the ribbons to your liking! Find out more below.

Your wish is its command: customizing the user interface

Are you missing frequently used commands on the "Home" ribbon? Do you want to add or remove commands from the Quick Access toolbar? To do this, simply right-click on any ribbon to open the customization menu:

Choose the Customize ribbon command. A dialog window will appear in which you can customize the user interface to your liking:

All available commands are listed on the left, while the right side shows the commands in the way they are arranged in the user interface.

If you want to put a new command on a ribbon, first select the desired ribbon in the upper right corner under "Customize". Then select the command from the left list and click ">>" to add it to the right list.

Hint: There are two even easier ways to add commands to the Quick Access toolbar:

  • In this dialog window, click an icon and drag it to the Quick Access toolbar.
  • Even simpler: Commands that are already on a ribbon can be dragged to the Quick Access toolbar without going through any dialog boxes. Simply hold down the Alt key and drag the desired icon from the ribbon straight to the Quick Access toolbar.

We hope this article gave you a first overview of our new user interface. This is the initial article in a series, so stay tuned. In the meantime, if you want to find out more about SoftMaker Office 2018, check out the feature list.

Do you want to share your first impressions, comments or suggestions for improvement? Do not hesitate to use the comment function of this blog. We look forward to your feedback!

If you haven't downloaded the trial version of SoftMaker Office 2018 yet, you can find it here.

We hope you enjoy working with SoftMaker Office 2018 as much as we enjoyed creating it!


64 Commentaires

  • SoftMaker Posté par SoftMaker
    vendredi, 26 octobre 2018 07:28

    antoniojmols: Thank you for your suggestion. Supporting academic referencing software like Zotero or Mendeley is already on our wish list for future versions of SoftMaker Office.

  • antoniojmols Posté par antoniojmols
    vendredi, 26 octobre 2018 01:19

    Good software, simple and is very compatible with Microsoft office, but do not have mendeley or endnote compatibility. References are important softmakers :(

  • Clairvaux Posté par Clairvaux
    vendredi, 19 octobre 2018 01:02

    I'm a Microsoft Office 2003 user. I have been looking for an acceptable, non-Microsoft alternative, for years. I had been convinced that none existed (including Libre Office). Then I found Free Office, which, for some reason, almost never gets mentioned anywhere. I must say I'm almost converted.

    In particular, I thought I hated the ribbon. Your implementation of it, however, makes me almost like it. To be honest, I have almost no experience with Microsoft Office's ribbon. Or with current Microsoft Office, for that matter. But I have had other, bad experiences with ribbons, in programs that were not office suites.

    Your program does tend to show that there are good ribbons and bad ribbons. One of the secrets, I think, is not to overload the ribbon with too many commands. And to keep it tidy. (And of course, not to force users to the cloud -- this should go without saying.)

    Another implementation of the ribbon I like very much is that of Phrase Express (a German program, as well). It does not need as many commands as an office suite, so it does not run the risk of overload.

    The aesthetics of Free Office / Soft Maker Office are very nice. It's an important thing when choosing a program over another.

  • Gabriel Posté par Gabriel
    dimanche, 23 septembre 2018 23:48

    + 1 Zotero. I am a Linux User. Love your product. Better than horrible MS Office and substndard LibreOffice. The only thing that deters me to buy your product is Zotero integration. Go for it!!

  • SoftMaker Posté par SoftMaker
    vendredi, 24 août 2018 07:09

    B. Kornberg: Thanks for your suggestion. That's already on our whishlist for future versions of SoftMaker Office.

  • B. Kornberg Posté par B. Kornberg
    mercredi, 22 août 2018 21:13

    Mendeley, please!

  • Daniel Rudas-Burgos Posté par Daniel Rudas-Burgos
    mardi, 17 juillet 2018 22:49

    +1 for Zotero integration. If I’m able to use my Zotero database, I’ll definitely migrate to TextMaker, and promote it among my colleagues.

  • SoftMaker Posté par SoftMaker
    lundi, 18 juin 2018 11:45

    Induchoodan: Due to the implementation of OpenGL and the use of the latest version of the Windows Media API, we can't support any operating system older than Windows 7 any longer. However, users with newer operating systems benefit from this improvements.

  • Induchoodan Posté par Induchoodan
    lundi, 18 juin 2018 11:22

    Unfortunately , SoftMaker FreeOffice 2018 will not work with Windows XP

  • SoftMaker Posté par SoftMaker
    lundi, 18 juin 2018 07:22

    betta: Thank you for your interest in SoftMaker Office. To type Farsi with our applications, you can install the mentioned fonts on your system.

  • betta Posté par betta
    dimanche, 17 juin 2018 08:17

    Hi,Please add Persian (Farsi) language support to your products, you can do this by adding these fonts: "B Nazanin","B Lotus","B Zar","B Badr","B Baran" .thanks

  • SoftMaker Posté par SoftMaker
    jeudi, 17 mai 2018 14:50

    Leigh: Thanks for your comment. Zotero support is already on our wish list for future versions of SoftMaker Office.

  • Leigh Posté par Leigh
    jeudi, 17 mai 2018 11:37

    Zotero please!

    Had a quick look and compatibility with MS looks great, but without Zotero its a no go for me

  • SoftMaker Posté par SoftMaker
    lundi, 19 mars 2018 14:32

    Edgar: Thanks for your comment. Supporting academic referencing software like Zotero is already on our wish list for future versions of SoftMaker Office.

  • Edgar Posté par Edgar
    lundi, 19 mars 2018 14:27

    Missing support for academic referencing software such as zotero or mendeley is a dealbreaker for me. As much as I like softmaker office, I will have to stay with libreoffice.

  • SoftMaker Posté par SoftMaker
    lundi, 15 janvier 2018 08:03

    Ineyo: Thank you. We're glad to hear you're satisfied with our software. Also thanks for your suggestion regarding the support of referencing software which we already forwarded to our product management.

  • Ineyo Posté par Ineyo
    samedi, 13 janvier 2018 19:50

    I have been looking for an MSOffice alternative that I could use in Linux to produce documents that can be shared with MSOffice users. Softmaker is probably the closest to MSOffice (great job!).

    However, a plugin for referencing software (especially the open source Zotero) would be a great plus.

  • SoftMaker Posté par SoftMaker
    jeudi, 30 novembre 2017 08:36

    william: Please find the pricing details at

  • william Posté par william
    mercredi, 29 novembre 2017 18:28

    what is the cost?

  • SoftMaker Posté par SoftMaker
    mardi, 28 novembre 2017 09:56

    brian: We're glad to hear that you like our new user interface. Thank you.

    You can find a complete feature list of the office suite at

    All new features which were added to SoftMaker Office 2018 are tagged with "NEW".

  • SoftMaker Posté par SoftMaker
    mardi, 28 novembre 2017 09:31

    Mario Sanchez: SoftMaker Office 2018 includes the macro language BasicMaker for automation.

  • brian Posté par brian
    lundi, 27 novembre 2017 19:32

    The optional interface is pretty but can we have a one page summary of the functional feature improvements with the latest version?

  • Mario Sanchez Posté par Mario Sanchez
    samedi, 25 novembre 2017 15:41

    Is macros capable?

  • SoftMaker Posté par SoftMaker
    vendredi, 24 novembre 2017 09:18

    Mark_S: Polish is on top of our list of new UI languages we're going to add to future versions of SoftMaker Office. However, please understand that we cannnot provide you with a timeframe yet.

  • SoftMaker Posté par SoftMaker
    vendredi, 24 novembre 2017 09:05

    arun: Yes, with TextMaker 2018, you can also open ODT files.

  • SoftMaker Posté par SoftMaker
    vendredi, 24 novembre 2017 09:03

    David R Manning: Please find the pricing details at

  • Mark_S Posté par Mark_S
    vendredi, 24 novembre 2017 00:54

    3 years later and still no Polish version? I mean: of user interface. :-( Polish UI was promised by SoftMaker staff for SO 2016 - to be included in one of the future updates. Now SO 2018 comes and still no Polish UI. Obviously you don't want millions of potencial customers, not mentioning tens of thousands institutions and schools in Poland to buy & use your suite. Shame.

  • SoftOffice 2012  FreeOffice 2016 user Posté par SoftOffice 2012 FreeOffice 2016 user
    vendredi, 24 novembre 2017 00:31

    Hello Staff

    I'm very glad for that inrodutory article. Maybe after
    10 year of introduction of ribbon I will gfind it usable ;-)
    with your hamburger menu :-)

    Idea of keep them cooperating sounds great.

    I hope that XP supported version still (for some time) will
    be supported or even sold. I 'see in future' faster I will be SO 2016PRO
    user than I change mine OS ;-)

    I hope to see FreeOffice 2018 `charity edition time` working on Linux soon.

    Many thanks for great work with that suite.

    Best Regards
    Home Customer

  • David R Manning Posté par David R Manning
    jeudi, 23 novembre 2017 16:09

    I am using Softmaker 2016. What is the cost of the 2018 version?

  • arun Posté par arun
    jeudi, 23 novembre 2017 15:42

    canit read libreoffice odt files?

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