Ability Office 2001 vs Star Office 5.2

  [DELETED] 19:54 27 Aug 2003

My daughter has a new computer, ready for university. She has MS Word and I've installed Star Office 5.2 (from a freeby CD) for the additional office bits and pieces.

I've also got an Ability Office freeby CD and wonder whether either office suite is any better than the other? - particularly the spreadsheet functions. Will they open/save files in Excel format? Are the presentation and drawing packages as good as Microsoft's? Any reservations or major shortcomings?

I don't see the point in buying Office XP, even at £100 student licence, if the freeby programmes are OK.


  [DELETED] 20:35 27 Aug 2003

Well i am moving to Ability Office come rain or shine at my next change, i have had enough of M$ and the prices they charge. You can get this years Ability Office for £15 OEM. It makes a mockery of what billy boy wants to charge.

  [DELETED] 20:43 27 Aug 2003

StarOffice and OpenOffice (Sun Microsystem's free version of StarOffice) are both very good at reading Word documents, say if your Daughter gets given something to read on the computer in Word format; and they are good at writing in Word format also. They are compatible with many types of word processor.

  [DELETED] 20:48 27 Aug 2003

I would be tempted to find a magazine with a copy of Open Office as it is far superior to either Ability Office or Star Office 5.2, and it's free.

If you have broadband you can download it for free from click here

  Belatucadrus 22:35 27 Aug 2003

I have used both and rate star as being better than Ability, it seemed faster with a better choice of templates and as has been said very good word/excel compatability.

  Audeal 00:23 28 Aug 2003

602 PC Suite is my favorite. Free from here and worth a look.

click here

  [DELETED] 09:10 28 Aug 2003

Thanks for these opinions guys - I'll probably leave things as they are for the moment but keep an eye open for Open Office - DUN only so it'll have to be a cover mount CD. (I actually did install Star Office primarily for its ability to deal with Word documents.)

Don't feel inclined to pay even the £15 OEM cost for Ability Office unless it has something special but thanks for the suggestion.

Will any of these systems open, or save as, Excel files? 602 will but (I guess?) would be a large download and the CD costs $9.95 and probably only available in the States.


  [DELETED] 09:37 28 Aug 2003

Ability Office will be a good choice, but if your daughter needs to do PowerPoint type presentations you will need to install Star/Open Office

  [DELETED] 09:51 28 Aug 2003

I use Office XP but have Ability Office pre installed on my PC no problem opening Word or Excel documents (Computer Active's current mag has a write up on Ability Office).

  Simsy 10:30 28 Aug 2003

a year or so back with various suites, with the specific intention of testing compatibility with MS office....

actually I didn't have StarOffice 5.2 to compare with, but I did try Ability Office, Open Office and Easy Office, (click here)....

They were both about the same with regard to opening most documents, problems only arising with graphics....

However, they were all very similar and coped OK with unchallenging conversions.... OpenOffice,(and the New StarOffice, version 6), have a very good converter which actuallty takes the MS doc and makes a copy in the StarOffice format. I would say that Open Office marginally the best for Spreadsheet conversion, but whether this is better than the spreadshhet in SO5.2 I couldn't say.

Ability Office is simple to use and very similar to MS office in it's interface. The Ability Office suite has a relational database. Though it saves files in it's own format,(.adb), you can choose to save in Access format, (.mdb) If you do this it's files can be opened in Access, and vice versa. Though it's only the "tables" and enclosed data that is opened, (i.e. relationships and queries etc, don't travel with the application), it is the only one of these cheap suits that has an easy to use relational database... and it supports macros, though not VB. I have MSOffice SBE, with doesn't have Access, so I bought AbilityDatabase as a standalone.

Easy Office has an Excellent backup system.... when you save a file for the second time, it creates a version of the first saved file, (like Word and Excel do if you automatically make a backup), and calls it a "father". The process is repeated for the next 2 saves so you have 3 levels of backup. It also has a built in Zip prog and a terrific spell checker.... it will even read back documents to you with a choice of voices!..... And that's just the free version... the paid for version, (at about £30), has even more, but is only available on CD as download is too large. Beware that the link is not obvious to the free version!

I hope this helps,

Good luck to you and your daughter,



  Simsy 10:35 28 Aug 2003

Ability, Easy and Open will all save as *.xls files.



This thread is now locked and can not be replied to.

Elsewhere on IDG sites

Microsoft Surface Book 2 15in review

Illustrator Amy Grimes on how setting up her own eco-brand led to success with clients too

MacBook Pro keyboard issues and other problems

Test : l’enceinte connectée HomePod d’Apple