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Small And Light, But Problematic

  • Sep 24, 2009
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I really wanted to like the new Corel Home Office suite. I don't like the bloat that comes with Microsoft Office (over a gig to install everything) nor do I need all the features within it. What I DO need is a reasonably priced office suite to use for word processing and spreadsheets that is compatible with other programs.

At first, I thought CHO was it. I love the fact that it's delivered on a USB drive, making it easy to install on my Asus EEEPC - it's also relatively small, taking up about 300 meg. But from there, things don't go so well.

To begin with, it's advertised as being compatible with the most recent Word format, .docx files. And while it may open very simple ones, anything complex comes in as a total mess, or worse, completely uneditable. I just tried to open a simple docx file that had a table layout, and was unable to edit any cells whatsoever. Though continuing to try did finally crash Corel. So OK - you can't have it all, but maybe building a document from scratch would be better....

Not so much, primarily because there are no templates included with the product. Now I know that many people like to just do their own design, but at this price point, and considering the market it's aimed at (basic home and small office users) I can't imagine what Corel were thinking when they failed to include any nice looking documents to start out with. Every other product, including the free Open Office and Google Docs have at least SOME templates. Not Corel though.

Then there was the product update I just did - a download of the newest version. Not so bad you think, they're already updating it....well, it didn't fix my docx problems, but did require digging out the serial number to install - for some reason it couldn't see that I had already gone through that and simply updated itself. Not a deal breaker, but a pain.

I've also had multiple crashes while trying various functions, among them converting tables to text, on both my EEEPC AND my very non-bloated quad core box. So there are a few bugs hanging around as well.

The worst part is that I really DID like some parts of it. I liked the interface, and liked that it rearranged button bars to fit my netbook. I liked the lightness, I liked the ease of installation, I liked the easy way to hide and show the main toolbar, netting plenty of extra vertical screen real estate. I loved the ease with which it saved to PDF's.

But I hated the poor compatibility, the lack of ability to open Open Ofice documents, the crashiness, the lack of templates, and the cost - because with Google Docs free for basic stuff, Open Office free for more complex stuff, and now the drop in price of MS Office Home and Student to the same $69 (at least here on amazon.com), I can't see any compelling reason to buy it.

And that's a total drag.

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More Corel Home Office reviews
review by . September 11, 2009
After reading other reviews on this product I can only think one thing: People are comparing Apples to Oranges. Microsoft and Corel both offer a full range of solutions designed to fit many different budgets. People that complain about Microsoft outrageous price are trying to compare the $300 Full Office from Microsoft to the $40 Home Office from Corel. This isn't fair to either product as neither the price nor the features are really comparable.    Corel Home Office comes with …
review by . September 03, 2009
If you need an inexpensive yet powerful suite of Office applications that won't break the bank like the Microsoft Office line, you can't go wrong with Corel Home Office. A 3-in-1 suite that includes word processing (Write), spreadsheets (Calculate), and presentations (Show), these apps do everything that you would expect and are fully compatible with said Microsoft line of software like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.    The software comes on a flash drive as opposed to the usual …
review by . September 02, 2009
For the relatively unsophisticated user, Corel Home Office could be a good choice. It provides stripped down word processing, spreadsheet and presentation programs. The features they lack aren't glaring and they actually have some fairly advanced features, such as saving to PDF format. The programs have a high degree of compatibility with Microsoft Office formats, but that doesn't make Corel Home Office a strong competitor to Microsoft Office.     Corel appears, in fact, attempting …
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Bradford Schmidt ()
Ranked #372
My background is in the arts; I designed and ran a television station in the 80's, was a record producer and independent engineer in the late 80's and early 90's, then formed one of the first online advertising … more
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Specifically designed for your personal and home business word processing, spreadsheet and presentation needs, Corel Home Office makes your at-home work simple. It’s compatible with Microsoft Office files and supports PDF publishing from any application. The sleek and simple interface includes tabbed toolbars that put the features you need right where you need them. It’s similar to the office suites you’ve used before, so it’s easy learn and use. You can switch languages at the click of a button.
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