Review: Symphony Sings As Office Clone

Cool review of Lotus Symphony 1.0 over at CRN:

Symphony opens, as previously mentioned, into a single window with three icons — to create a document, spreadsheet, or presentation. An existing file can be opened from this main window. Each file is its own tab. The application opened quickly with minimum of fuss. The interface is blue-gray with intuitive menus and icons. Text Properties and other options appear within a narrow frame along the right-hand edge of the screen. The properties sidebar changes the options depending on whether the highlighted object is text, image, or other page elements. The sidebar never gets crowded, unlike the oft-maligned ribbon in Office 2007.

The suite was stable, with none of the crashes or freezes that plagued the first beta, and quick, opening without hogging up memory or CPU resources. Large and detailed PowerPoint presentations were opened in Symphony without difficulty, although the flash conversion plugin didn’t work as well for complex files. Animations are not supported — Symphony harks back to the older PowerPoint look and feel. Footnotes, endnotes and table formatting in Word files all came across perfectly. Formulas in Excel spreadsheets were not lost, but it was harder to get all the chart options. Image files could be dragged and inserted directly into open documents and presentations.


IBM has said that Symphony 2.0 will update the base code engine and also include more OpenOffice.org features, such as an equation editor, database software, and a drawing program.


The Test Center found Symphony a snap to use, and switching to Symphony after years of using Microsoft Office was painless. While Open Office was a nice alternative, Symphony looks and works much more elegantly while keeping the free price tag.

Link – Review: Symphony Sings As Office Clone

Stuart McIntyre is a Senior Strategist at Fostering Community Limited. He curates a number of product-focused news sites, is a lapsed podcaster, founded the Social Connections user group and regularly speaks at conferences and events. This blog represents his own slightly-eccentric and usually-controversial opinions!