WCM plugin for Lotus Symphony screenshot

New plugin for IBM Lotus Symphony – Lotus Web Content Management 7.0

Now this is a neat plugin for Symphony, and one that really will improve productivity for those using Lotus Web Content Management (WCM):

IBM Lotus Symphony Plugin for Lotus Web Content Management 7.0

The IBM Lotus Symphony Plugin for Lotus Web Content Management helps customers simplify the process of authoring Web Content managed and delivered by IBM Lotus Web Content Management (WCM). By introducing the concept of “profiles”, content authors can create, edit and publish rich documents from within Lotus Symphony to Lotus Web Content Management as native web content just as easily and simply just as if they were authoring local documents as normal. 

WCM plugin for Lotus Symphony screenshot

In order to install and use the IBM Lotus Symphony Plugin for Lotus Web Content Management, the following steps must be completed. 
1. The IT administrator deploys the WCM Rest Service on the WCM server (Part 1 ) and then creates and sets up the Public Profiles (Part 2);
2. The content author installs the Lotus Symphony Plugin for Lotus Web Content Management (Part 3), creates servers (Part 4) and private profiles (Part 5).
3. After the server and profile have been created correctly, the content author can use Lotus Symphony to create and publish (Part 6) and edit (Part 7 and Part 8) the content. 

There is a read me file included in the installation package, please download the package and follow the read me document step by step to install and use the plug-in. This plug-in does not support dragging to install directly from the web page.

Download here.

LotusLIve Symphony to offer online document editing and collaboration

This was one of my favourite announcements at today’s Lotusphere (#ls11) OGS – the planned release of LotusLive Symphony, a production version of IBM’s Project Concord research project.

Ed kicks us off:

Today IBM announced LotusLive Symphony, a revolution in online collaborative document editing.  With a preview release later this quarter and final release later this year, LotusLive Symphony delivers word processing, spreadsheets, and presentations for users looking to improve efficiency and collaboration during the content authoring process.  Like all of the LotusLive story, one of the unique differentiators for LotusLive Symphony is its ability to provide that value to interactions with customers, suppliers, and business partners in addition to colleagues within an organization.

In our mind, document editing is about more than cell formulas, formatting, and animation.  LotusLive Symphony offers capabilities such as real-time or private co-editing, live sections, author presence awareness, contextual commenting, assignment and notifications, and task and attention management cues.  Initially designed for use with LotusLive, we are also exploring ways to deliver these capabilities in an on-premises environment through an initial customer partnership.

We announced LotusLive Symphony a year ago as Project “Concord”, and now have made significant progress and are ready for Technical Preview release 2.  That will go live on Greenhouse.lotus.com after Lotusphere.

eWeek covered the announcement well:

LotusLive Symphony in the Cloud complements its on-premise, free of charge, office productivity suite, IBM Lotus Symphony. IBM has seen more than 50 million downloads of Lotus Symphony, and recently introduced updates including tighter integrations with the desktop to LotusLive allowing users to click to the cloud to get, save, share and collaborate on documents.  

National Bank TRUST is a social business using Symphony to collaborate on documents and transform their business processes, IBM officials said in its press release.

“The collaborative editing support and productivity gains make Symphony unique in the productivity suites market,” said Sergey Chikov, director, NB TRUST’s Board of information and banking technologies for remote sale of credit products, in a statement.

Meanwhile ComputerWorld sounded a note of caution:

With this release, IBM is joining an increasingly crowded field of Web office productivity suites. In December, Oracle launched the first version of itsown hosted office service, called Cloud Office. That version is based on OpenOffice as well. Microsoft offers consumers some basic online office document editing capability through its Office Web Apps service. It also has plans to roll this service into its enterprise-focused BPOS (Business Productivity Online Suite) set of hosted services as well.

Still, very interesting announcement – I look forward to hearing more during the week…

Using Lotus Symphony? Do you need Smartsuite compatibility?

Lars Berntrop-Bos raises a request via Ed’s blog:

… Keep in mind [that when you replace the Symphony 1.x embedded in the Notes client with Symphony 3.x] you then LOSE the SmartSuite compatibility. A major oversight imho. I regret having to reverse, I rather liked Symphony 3.0.

@Ed: Please, please please, I would like to ask you to reconsider. To make Symphony more universally useful I would like to be able to at least read/view/import all the file formats Symphony 1.x supports. Can you respond and/or forward this request to the appropriate person(s)?

So, dear Symphony users, is Lotus Smartsuite compatibility a requirement for you or your organisation?

Do you have lots of old Word Pro documents, 1-2-3 spreadsheets and Freelance presentations stored on file servers that you still need to be able to read and update? I’d love to know how important this requirement is…

What’s new in IBM Lotus Symphony 3 videos

These are useful overviews – I didn’t know that many of these new features were in Lotus Symphony 3:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v_HOYgBST9A?rel=0&w=749&h=592] [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=40fnxcl-uQY?rel=0&w=749&h=592] [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zrpH7G6afXE?rel=0&w=750&h=592] [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mO0u42a0gqs?rel=0&w=749&h=592]

Lotus Symphony 3 Splash Screen

Whats new in Lotus Symphony 3?

Lotus Symphony 3 Splash ScreenThe list of what’s changed between Lotus Symphony 1.3 and Lotus Symphony 3 is probably better articulated as ‘what hasn’t changed’ – it really is a complete line-by-line rewrite to take in the changes in the OpenOffice 3 code.

However, there is a detailed list in the Release Notes for Symphony 3 – here are the changes to the overall suite:

New Features
      •        VBA scripts support
      •        ODF 1.2 standard support
      •        Office 2007 OLE support
      •        Brand new sidebars containing enriched property sections and panels across different editors, with support of sidebar panel management to show or hide sidebar panels
      •        Ability to customize toolbar content and layout
      •        Ability to create new business cards and labels
      •        Ability to insert OLE, audio and video files
      •        Master document support
      •        Support of Live Text
      •        Enabled file encryption and password protection with Microsoft Word and Excel files
      •        Support for “Open in new window”. Users can use Command+~ on Mac OS and Alt + Tab on XP/Vista to switch windows
      •        New clip art gallery
      •        More template files
      •        Support of VML images in OOXML files
      •        Support of more parameters for protecting spreadsheet files and sheets in VBA API
      •        Support of separate downloads of spell check dictionary addons for 22 languages for Windows OS users
      •        Support of same build re-installation in silent mode on Windows
      •        Support of online check of new product updates

      •        Better graphic object rendering through improved anti-aliasing
      •        Refined main menu and toolbar design for better usability and consistency across editors
      •        Ability to open a file by dragging and dropping it to a tab or empty workbench
      •        Better usability during the operation of dragging graphic objects
      •        Enhanced the usability in manipulating color property with new color picker controls
      •        Enabled new progress bar to launch and load/save files
      •        Enabled memorizing user file paths when inserting objects into file
      •        Added one click link to LotusLive website on homepage
      •        Improved accessibility support for graphic objects in files and help
      •        Various additional user experience enhancements
      •        Significant enhancement in online help content and structure

Impressive, huh?

For the rest of the list, check below the fold, or else the Release Notes themselves.

Still with us? Here’s the rest of the list:

Document editor
New Features
      •        Enabled native nested tables support.
      •        Enabled multi-page view layout support.
      •        Support of Auto Text
      •        More fields support
      •        Custom properties
      •        Outline levels within paragraph

      •        Enhanced PDF export support.
      •        Improved document notes function.
      •        Enhancements in supporting much more types of fields in documents.
      •        Ability to select rectangle region of text in document editor.
      •        Ability to set bullets and numbering in multiple table cells at a time.
      •        Document header and footer function enhancements and usability improvements
      •        Enhanced the interoperability with MS Word documents that contains page grid layout content

Spreadsheet editor
New Features

      •        Extended maximum number of columns from 256 to 1024.
      •        Sheet specific zoom support.
      •        Text to column value convert support.
      •        Detective function.
      •        Solve equations and solver.
      •        “What if” function.
      •        Inline array constants in formulas.
      •        Dynamic ranges in validation lists.
      •        More formulas.

      •        Improved sort and formula performance.
      •        Enhancement in moving rows or columns easily through dragging column headers.
      •        Ability to select multiple sheets.
      •        Formula hot hints.
      •        Flexible source range selection
      •        Enabled multiple calculation in one sheet of the Lotus Spreadsheet editor, including mixed sort and filter, as well as multiple sort areas.
      •        Enabled sorting instant filters in Lotus Spreadsheet
      •        Enhanced functionality and usability in “import data from external file” function
      •        Enhanced the support of auto selection in files with built-in database ranges

Presentation editor
New Features

      •        Multi-monitor display support.
      •        More presentation animation effects.
      •        More page layouts.
      •        More drawing objects.
      •        More fontwork.
      •        Support of copy and paste pages or objects together with animation effects.

      •        Significantly improved user experience in managing and using templates.
      •        Enhancement in slide show effect through hardware acceleration for graphics.
      •        Improved crop feature.
      •        Support of switching between four different views in presentation by clicking tabs at the bottom of the screen.
      •        Disabled Autosave during Lotus Presentation slide show to avoid the unexpected interruption
      •        Enhanced the Presentation text objects undo and redo function

New Features

      •        Significantly improved chart experience through new chart engine.

      •        New chart creation wizard.
      •        Many newly added formatting options.
      •        More chart types: Column and Line, Cylinder, Cone, Pyramid…

Symphony 1.3 features disabled in Symphony 3 releases
      •        Ability to import SmartSuite files.
      •        Freehand table.
      •        Presentation print preview.
      •        Ability to create new XForm document
      •        Connector support in document editor

Key Bug Fixes
Symphony Forum

      •        The animation effects including wipe, appear, motion path in Microsoft Powerpoint sample file don’t work properly when opening the sample file with Lotus Symphony.
      •        Creating a document containing the empty “Numbering style” by Lotus Symphony 3, when opening the file with Lotus Symphony 1.3, it crashes.
      •        Absolute references in conditional formatting are not adjusted when the cell is moved.
      •        When selecting one column, click the instant filter and then choose a value, all the lines which contain the value are displayed. But when all the lines are selected and the values are changed, the values in other lines are also changed unexpectedly.

      •        Some OLE objects can not be displayed properly on Mac OS.
      •        Hidden files and hidden directories are displayed in File-Open dialog in Lotus Symphony.
Language Related Fixes

      •        When copying part of the spreadsheet as DDE link and pasting it to Lotus Symphony Document, Hebrew characters will be lost.
Lotus Symphony Document

      •        Open some MS Word 2007 files in Lotus Symphony, the size of the bullet indents in table and the text indents in footer are bigger than the size in MS Office 2007.
      •        Open some MS Word 2003 file in Lotus Symphony, the pictures and logs in header and footer are lost.
      •        Opening the sample file in Lotus Symphony, compared the result with Microsoft Word, the position of tables has been moved to the left.
      •        The texts on the left side of a table are truncated when saving Lotus Symphony Document sample file as MS Word file and open it with Lotus Symphony again.
      •        Hyperlinks targeted in the same document don’t work well.
Lotus Symphony Presentation

      •        Can not export all slides as JPG graphic format in Lotus Symphony.
      •        If a Presentation sample file is created by Lotus Symphony 1.3 and it contains the drawing objects, open the sample file and save it in Symphony 3 Beta 4, the connectors will be messed up.
      •        Duplicate formatting does not work in Lotus Symphony Presentation in some scenarios.
      •        Lotus Symphony Presentation freezes when loading the sample files which contain thousands of hyperlinks.
      •        Open sample file in Lotus Symphony Presentation, the texts in table can not be replaced through the Find and Replace dialog.
      •        Lotus Symphony 1.3 hang when opening a presentation file which contains more than 9 level of outlines.
      •        When importing the template *.otp file to the template organizer, the appearance becomes untidy.
      •        Connector will not be moved along with the grouped shapes in Lotus Symphony Presentation.
      •        In Lotus Symphony Presentation, new three shapes in one slide, and group two of them. Create a connector to connect them, the grouped shapes are the start point. Copy or duplicate the slide. In the second slide, move the grouped shapes, the connector is detached from the grouped shapes.
Lotus Symphony Spreadsheet

      •        When changing the value of a cell in the filtered column, value of the unfiltered rows are also affected.
      •        Resizing the grouped objects can not change the pointers of callout objects as expected.
      •        Open MS Excel file with Lotus Symphony, the result of calculation will be “#div/0!” if the referenced cells are strings.
      •        The output of COUNTIF formula in Lotus Symphony is different from the output in Microsoft Excel.
      •        Lotus Symphony prompts err:508 instead of the actual output when opening the Microsoft Excel sample file.
      •        Open a Microsoft Excel sample file with Lotus Symphony, users will get “General Error” when double-clicking an OLE object.
General usage

      •        After deleting multiple cells in Lotus Symphony spreadsheet, not all of them can be recovered by using the undo function.
      •        If a file is locked by OpenOffice, this file is in read-only mode when opening with Lotus Symphony.
      •        Sometimes when Lotus Symphony crashes, restart it for the first time, a blank recovery dialog is popped up.
      •        It took several minutes to complete spell check for a sample file.
      •        Inserting graphic as a link to one file and export the file as PDF format, the linked graphics are not exported to the PDF file.
      •        Cannot copy/paste pictures from Paint.NET to Lotus Symphony.

IBM Lotus Symphony

Lotus Symphony 3 now available for download

IBM Lotus Symphony

As promised, the new release of Lotus Symphony is up on the site and available for download today.  

Based on the OpenOffice version 3 code, this is a massive step forward for Symphony, with much improved UI, increased fidelity with both OpenOffice and Microsoft Office formats, read support for Office 2007/2010 documents and much more.  Symphony 3 is available for Windows XP/Vista/7, Mac OS X 10.6, and SUSE/RedHat/Ubuntu Linux.

Download it now

Lotus Symphony 3 discussed on This Week in Lotus podcast

Two members of IBM’s Lotus Symphony team joined Darren Duke and I on the This Week in Lotus podcast this week to discuss the latest news regarding the upcoming Lotus Symphony 3 release:

David Pearson
(twitter | email) is a senior architect in the IBM Software Services for Lotus Centre of Excellence, and is also IBM’s worldwide services leader for Symphony. He has been at Lotus / IBM for 14 years.
Eric Otchet (
email) is currently the Product Manager for Lotus Symphony.  He has been with IBM for over 22 years and has held both technical and sales positions during that time.

Topics included:

Symphony 3 launch:

  • What is IBM Lotus Symphony ?
  • How did Symphony come about?
  • What is IBM’s strategy ?
  • Can you describe the Symphony roadmap ?
  • What is the relationship with the OpenOffice community ? What does IBM do with OpenOffice Code ?
  • Will split in OO movement help or hinder (LibreOffice)? Does IBM feed back into OO code?
  • What are the key differences between OpenOffice and Symphony ? Is there round-trip compatibility?
  • How Does Symphony link into the rest of the Lotus portfolio ?
  • When will Symphony v3 be available ?
  • What are the key new things in Symphony v3 to get excited about ?
  • Once Symphony 3 ships, can we integrate it into (and over) the current Lotus Notes Symphony install?
  • What is Project Concord and how does that integrate with Symphony ?
  • Any plans to extend Symphony to include Draw and give us a real Visio replacement?  Or a database?
  • When will be able to save as docx, xlsx and pptx?
  • Quickr connectors? Coming? Dates?
  • Get more information from symphony.lotus.com

Link: This Week in Lotus 022 – Symphony 3 – Free, Free, Free!!

Lotus Symphony 3 Beta 4 now available

Lotus Symphony 3 Beta 4 is now available! Give it a try. Tell us what you think.

Lotus Symphony 3 Beta represents a major new advancement for our Lotus Symphony users. Based on current OpenOffice.org 3 code stream. Lotus Symphony 3 Beta offers loads of new features and capabilities and improved file fidelity. The Lotus Symphony team is excited to get it out to you and get your feedback.

Lotus Symphony 3 Beta 4 adds some exciting new enhancements. We’ve focused on performance. In addition we’ve enabled the support for adding additional spell check dictionaries into the product and added support for VML images.

We’ve done some additional work around installation to support a silent installation option for Windows. We’ve added some enhancements to the user experience like remembering file paths when you insert objects and some enhancements to the import data functions.

This is our last planned Beta so your feedback is really important to us.

So, download Lotus Symphony 3 Beta 4 today and try it out.

We do caution you though, as with all betas, there are still some kinks to work out before we’re finished. So, please treat this as beta code and not production code. And, please take care to choose the right forum for support and feedback.

More >

Lotus Symphony 3 Beta 3 is now available

A little late with this news, something about real life getting in the way of blogging – terrible 😉

Anyway, the latest beta of Lotus Symphony version 3 (based on OpenOffice 3 code) is now available.  IBM EMEA sales leader Darren Adams does a good job of passing on the news:

I’ve been using Symphony 3 on Windows and Mac since the release of beta 2 back in February. It’s a huge improvement over version 1.x – but beta 3 is another leap forward. The Symphony web site lists a few things new to beta 3… ability to customise the toolbars, instant export to PDF, and a new plug-in to make your LotusLive files directly available.

But there’s something else that I love about Symphony, and it’s improved in beta 3. In all aspects Symphony shows a panel on the right-hand side which gives quick and easy context-sensitive access to properties for whatever you’ve selected. It’s an approach that’s so much better than endlessly going in and out of dialog boxes, and makes Symphony very easy to use.

The Symphony Beta site fills in some of the details:

Lotus Symphony 3 Beta 3 is now available! Give it a try. Tell us what you think.

Lotus Symphony 3 Beta represents a major new advancement for our Lotus Symphony users. Based on current OpenOffice.org 3 code stream. Lotus Symphony 3 Beta offers loads of new features and capabilities and improved file fidelity. The Lotus Symphony team is excited to get it out to you and get your feedback.

Lotus Symphony 3 Beta 3 adds some exciting new enhancements. You can now customize the toolbars and arrange them as you like. We’ve added a one click export to PDF icon that you can add to your toolbar. You now have the option to create toolbars to support your individual work style.

We’ve continued to enhance the user interface and added more features to the sidebar panels in all three applications. We’ve added additional animations options to give you more choices and moved frequently used functions to the sidebars so you don’t have to search for them. We’re also connecting Lotus Symphony to the cloud with a new LotusLive plugin. You will be able to store and retrieve content directly from within the Symphony application to our LotusLive service. Make sure to get the plugin from the Symphony plugin page and sign up for the free 30 day trial of LotusLive.

So, download Lotus Symphony 3 Beta 3 today and try it out.

As a big LotusLive user I’m loving the integration that is being added to all the Lotus client software – Symphony is the latest to add this functionality.  I also get the impression that Beta 3 is a good deal faster than the earlier Betas, so give Beta 3 a try today!


PCMech review: Lotus Symphony 3 Beta 2

The Lotus Symphony 3 Beta code has been out for a few months now, and it is beginning to gain some traction (even against the news of the Office 2010 launch and the Google IO conference).

PCMech.com prides itself on no-nonsense tech news to “Help Normal People Get Their Geek On”, and have published a very positive review of the Symphony 3 Beta suite.  Here’s some hightlights:

Lotus Symphony is an office suite by IBM. It’s free.


Yes, free. From IBM. And yes, I know, “IBM” and “free” never appear in the same sentence, but this time it does. And wouldn’t you know it, it’s available for Windows, Ubuntu, Red Hat Linux, SUSE Linux and Mac OS X.

Why it is free?

Because it’s based on OpenOffice.

I will state up from this is not a Microsoft Office replacement. If you use MSO now, you probably wouldn’t switch to this. However, you probably would use this over OpenOffice.

Let’s get into why that is.

I’d disagree on not replacing Microsoft Office with Symphony – plenty of organisations have already done so.


The splash screen on startup. I’ll be honest – I felt like I stole this software when I saw this, even though I know it’s free. IBM goes to great lengths even in their free products to achieve a look that is polished and professional. I see the IBM and Lotus, and think, “Whoa.. IBM product. Big deal here.”

An interesting perspective – I personally wish both IBM and Lotus had a greater hold as brands in the consumer space, but it’s clear from this author that he views the IBM/Lotus brands in a very positive, reassuring way.

I really dig the fact that modifying text properties is just so darned easy in Symphony. Just about everything you would want to do with text is here.

The properties side bar tends to divide opinion with users that are used to using other Office suites, but clearly it has made a positive impact here.

It’s all about the tabs.

Symphony for all intents and purposes acts like a web browser with the way it does tabs. In fact it even has its own web browser!

Home, Document, Spreadsheet – all in tabs side by side. No ridiculous separate windows. It’s all contained and you can switch back and forth at whim.

That’s just so beautiful it gets me misty. Someone give me a tissue (sniff)..

Kidding aside, this is a darned convenient way of switching back and forth between open docs, spreadsheets, presentations and web sites.

Also know that most software titles that tries to do the all-in-one thing usually fail miserably at it. Symphony doesn’t and it gets it right the first time.

And finally, in summary:

What’s the best part about Symphony?

What I liked best is that there’s almost no learning curve to Symphony at all. It feels familiar from the moment you start using it. Things are laid out in a way that just make sense. It can be used by anyone from the novice to the experienced power user.

I think that’s quite an accolade.

Is it time you took a look at the
Lotus Symphony 3 Beta?

Tom’s Hardware reviews Lotus Symphony

It’s always good to see a fair balanced review of a product, and Tom’s Hardware seem to be one of the better sites at group tests.  This week they’ve taken a look at Linux-based Office applications, including Lotus Symphony 1.3.  This summary concludes their review, entitled ‘A Different Kind of Office Suite’:

Overall, Symphony is visually appealing and unmistakably modern. Unfortunately, while the color scheme appeals to the eyes, text within the document body, toolbars, and menus are downright unpleasant to behold, mostly due to heavy pixelization. The icons in the toolbars appear to be of different sizes, creating an overall “choppy” look. Also, Symphony treats tooltips and drop-down menus in the body and sidebars as windows, with all of the associated desktop effects for windows. As you can imagine, this can become annoying very quickly. Using any 3D effect animations for windows will cause tooltips and drop down boxes in Symphony to use those animations as well. That won’t be a problem if you disable desktop effects, or simply choose conservative animations for your windows. IBM has assured me that this bug is being addressed. They have also said they are evaluating the possibility of adding 64-bit deb/rpm support sometime in the future.

Symphony definitely takes a new approach to the age-old office suite. If IBM can smooth out the rough edges, this app could easily replace the basic productivity suites currently pre-installed on most distros, maybe even Corel or MS Works on Windows machines. However, being so unfamiliar could potentially discourage users simply looking for an easy MS Office replacement. At the very least, IBM’s Lotus Symphony is an application worth watching.

More >

Computerworld: Stay away from OpenOffice.org, analyst says (but Lotus Symphony is fine)

Now this is an interesting article on ComputerWorld:

Stay away from OpenOffice.org until Oracle shows commitment, analyst says

Oracle must invest in the open-source suite, says Software Improvement Group

A European IT consulting firm is warning large enterprises and government entities not to deploy OpenOffice.org until Oracle Corp. shows proof that it will invest as heavily in the development of the open-source productivity suite as project champion Sun Microsystems Inc. did.

According to a 12-page report published earlier this week by Amsterdam-based Software Improvement Group, the main risk is that OpenOffice.org’s code may get buggier if Oracle pulls personnel and resources from OpenOffice.org after finalizing its acquisition of Sun.

Although Sun spun the productivity suite out to the open-source community in 2000, OpenOffice.org’s development and marketing still relies heavily on paid Sun employees, such as OpenOffice.org community manager (and overall boss) Louis Saurez-Potts.

He said the other risk is that Oracle, in its zeal to beat Microsoft Corp., could divert resources for OpenOffice.org toward a commercial version (see PDF) of the software or to a “fork” aimed at challenging Microsoft Office in the enterprise market.

“It all hangs in the balance, depending on what Larry Ellison and Oracle do with OpenOffice.org,” he said.

He continues:

Kuipers said a move to OpenOffice.org would be riskiest for large organizations, because the cost of switching would be high. Individuals and small businesses are less vulnerable, he said. He also noted that the risks do not apply to companies adopting Lotus Symphony, an IBM-led fork of OpenOffice.org, because it comes with IBM’s backing.

Whilst I’m not sure I agree with the perceived risk from Oracle’s lack of commitment, it’s interesting to see analysts now taking Lotus Symphony very seriously as a competitor to MS Office.

Network World – Lotus to set road map for free productivity suite

Useful preview of Symphony announcements at Lotusphere 2010 by John Fontana in Network World:

IBM/Lotus will ship the next version of its free Symphony productivity suite, code-named Vienna, before the end of June and then follow it up with two more versions by March 2011 that include a laundry list of news features.

A beta of Vienna will be made available at next week’s Lotusphere conference. During the next 12 months IBM/Lotus will release two more new versions, code-named Amsterdam and Berlin.

Vienna will move the suite onto the OpenOffice.org 3.x code base and will include support for the Open Document Format 1.2, support for OLE objects and VBA macros, and signed plug-ins.

In addition Lotus will provide an add-on installer for Notes, enhance existing import features in Symphony for Office 2007, add new charts capabilities, graphic objects rendering, and richer Java and LotusScript APIs. Vienna also continues support for the .docx format that was at the heart of the i4i patent infringement suit against Microsoft.

Vienna, which will officially be called Symphony 2.0 when it ships, also will feature nested tables and multi-page display in the Documents application, an increase to 1,024 in the maximum number of columns allowed for the Spreadsheet program, and multi-monitor support and audio/video support in the Presentation application. Those three applications make up the Symphony suite, which Lotus touts as a cost-effective alternative to Microsoft Office and Google Docs.

IBM/Lotus plans to follow-up Vienna with a “feature enablement and maintenance” update code-named Amsterdam by the end of September. The release will further refine VBA macros and Office 2007 support and include document filters for the HTML file format. The release also will include enhancements to APIs for presentation and documents, templates for business content, and central management tweaks centered on preference, policy and deployment.

In the first half of 2011, IBM/Lotus will again update the Symphony suite with more VB macro enhancements, improve links to other Lotus software such as Foundations and Connections, and add more API enhancements.

Lots to look forward to this week!

Get IBM Lotus Symphony on a Keepod

Lotus Symphony goes mobile

Interesting Lotus Symphony news on the wire today…

IBM, VMware and Keepod products family manufacturer NSEC, today announced that they have partnered to offer IBM’s Lotus Symphony productivity software suite on Keepod devices for the first time.

IBM’s Lotus Symphony software suite helps users create, edit and share documents, spreadsheets and presentations. Based on an open, secure platform, the intuitive business productivity offering is easy-to-use and free of charge. With today’s news, for the first time, users can access the information they need anytime, anywhere securely via the Keepod.

This portable version of the software, packaged using VMware ThinApp™ and made possible through an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) agreement between IBM and NSEC, can be launched directly from any Keepod device, without installing anything on the PC and without leaving a footprint on the system. Launching Lotus Symphony directly from Keepod means that users won’t leave any trace of their work, which may be confidential in nature.

Get IBM Lotus Symphony on a Keepod

Keepod is the world’s slimmest USB secure portable device. Sized as a credit card and equipped with robust enterprise class encryption, Keepod provides a complete offering for business users. With up to 16GB of secure storage, Keepod stores all the user’s files and run applications on the go.

“With this Keepod offering, we are able to extend Symphony benefits to many new users,” said Kevin Cavanaugh, vice president, Messaging and Collaboration, IBM Lotus. “Our goal with Lotus Symphony software is to provide a fully capable alternative to Microsoft Office, giving business and consumers alike real choice and cost savings.”

VMware ThinApp is an enterprise-proven, agentless application virtualization solution with the lowest total cost of ownership. ThinApp seamlessly fits into any environment, streamlines application deployments by packaging an entire application including its settings into a single executable that is isolated from the OS, ensures compatibility and portability, and reduces costly regression testing and application conflicts.

VMware ThinApp application virtualization software enables IBM to deliver the complete Lotus Symphony suite on Keepod devices to enable maximum mobility to end users and allow them to work securely anywhere.

“The combined solution of Keepod, VMware ThinApp and Lotus Symphony allows for greater mobility of office automation software and provides secured access to corporate applications on the road or from home,” said Patrick Harr, vice president of Enterprise Desktop Marketing, Desktop Business Unit, VMware.  
The Keepod-compatible version of the software is being offered free of charge, exclusively via the Keepod Online Store (store.mykeepod.com). Visitors can download the virtualized Lotus Symphony on their Keepod after a fast registration process. The solution is available for current Keepod customers as well as new users who can download and test the software after registration.

“A free of charge professional office productivity suite, that is available to use at any-time, in a secure way, on any PC regardless of internet or network connectivity, sounded like a very good idea,” said Nissan Bahar, CEO of NSEC. ”Delivering applications on the Keepod platform provides a real added value to businesses in terms of mobility, IT flexibility, security and cutting costs. Partnering with IBM and VMware created a solution that is a safe choice for IT managers in businesses of any size.”

NSEC recently launched its Online Software Market, which leverages the VMware platform, and began providing virtualized open-source software that Keepod users can freely download and use on their Keepod devices.

Thanks to Lotus Symphony software, businesses can control software acquisition and upgrade costs, provide compatibility with Microsoft Office file formats, protect future access to documents with support for Open Document Format, and support a global workforce with Lotus Symphony’s native language support for more than 28 languages.

In fact, it looks as though Lotus Symphony has already hit the Keepod store for free download:

Keepod, the easiest way to protect your data.

It’s the first time I’ve seen the Keepod devices – very cool!

IBM states that all corporate PCs must have Lotus Symphony installed, all documents in ODF by end of 2009

The H blog reports that IBM is switching wholesale from Microsoft Office to Lotus Symphony – most of us knew that IBM was heading in this direction, but it is good to see it confirmed in such emphatic fashion:

American IT giant IBM plans to have its staff abandon Microsoft office software. According to a report in German daily Handelsblatt, the some 360,000 employees of the firm are to switch from the MS Office Suite to IBM’s own Lotus Symphony. The paper’s report (German link), is based on leaked internal IBM correspondence from upper management. IBM’s internal move away from Micrsoft Office began in June 2008 with early pilots. By the end of the year, IBM documents are to be created in the ODF format, which is license-free for everyone.

Microsoft Office will then only be installed at IBM with prior approval. The instructions from the end of August stipulate that Symphony has to be installed on all company computers within ten workdays. 330,000 employees have reportedly already switched. The goal is apparently not to save money. Rather, IBM wants to make sure that all information will remain available on all IT platforms and on the internet.

IBM apparently plans to use only open formats, but not necessarily open source; Lotus Symphony is based on the old version 1.x of OpenOffice and supports Documents, Spreadsheets and Presentations. Although the OpenOffice code was open source, the license at the time allowed companies not to release their changes; IBM made use of this and Symphony source code changes have not been open sourced, although Lotus Symphony is free of charge, requiring only user registration. IBM developers have changed the office suite in some crucial areas too. For instance, IBM’s office suite has its own interface, and three programs have been left out: Drawing, Formula, and Database. The most recent version was Lotus Symphony 1.3 which was released in June.

Now that’s a great show of support for their own product and technologies!

Network World: No alternative to Microsoft Office? IBM begs to differ

Great coverage of the latest Lotus Symphony announcements from Network World:

IBM Thursday announced upgrades to and a roadmap for its 15-month-old Lotus Symphony suite of productivity tools, emphasizing it indeed offers an alternative to Microsoft Office.

The move comes after Microsoft recently said that a court order to remove Office from store shelves next month could leave consumers and businesses “stranded without an alternative set of software.”

Microsoft is battling a patent infringement case brought by Toronto-based i4i over XML file formats. The 2007 case resulted in a $290 million judgment against Microsoft and an injunction that bars it from selling Word 2003 and Word 2007 after Oct. 10 unless the offending technology is removed.

“What we are trying to do with Symphony is establish that there is an option in the market and companies don’t have to spend the money they spend for productivity suites,” says
Ed Brill, director of product management for Lotus Software.

The article covers the roadmap for Symphony (2.0 due in 2010, based on the latest OpenOffice code) and some new exciting new widget packages:

But for now IBM, which offers Symphony as a free download and the default productivity software in Notes/Domino 8, is adding a new set of drag-and-drop widgets that include integration with popular Microsoft backend software such as the SharePoint Server. The software also integrates with Google Gadgets and Lotus’s own Sametime and Connections platforms.
Part of the widget package is the OrgChart Widget, which integrates with profiles in Lotus Connections so users can be added into meetings that convene online with a single click.

Other widgets include the Learning Widget, which combines local and Web-based information; a Team Workspace Widget that provides access to documents stored in Lotus Quickr or Microsoft SharePoint; the Symphony 2 Wiki Widgets provide conversion of documents for publishing on wikis; the Treasure Box Widget keeps a “favorites list” inside Symphony of frequently used documents, graphics and applications; and the Export Graphic Widget supports export of common formats such as .gif, .jpeg, .png, .bmp.

In addition, the ChartShare Widget provides screen sharing for up to 20 people with support for co-creation and editing of presentations. It also supports integration with Lotus Sametime Unyte Live’s meeting capability. The ChartShare Widget also gives presence information on every contributor to the presentation and a link to instant messaging.

Impressive stuff.

Link: Network World – No alternative to Microsoft Office? IBM begs to differ

Lotus Symphony 1.3 education offerings

It’s been a while since I checked out the Lotus Symphony Wiki, but I have to say, a lot of impressive new content has been added recently.  

This includes some excellent training material for end users that would be chargeable for most vendor’s products – IBM is providing an amazing resource providing it at no charge:




Getting Started

New features overview – IBM Lotus Symphony 1.3



Getting Started with IBM Lotus Symphony Spreadsheets Tour



Getting Started with IBM Lotus Symphony Spreadsheets Tutorial



Getting Started with IBM Lotus Symphony Documents Tour



Getting Started with IBM Lotus Symphony Documents Tutorial



Getting Started with IBM Lotus Symphony Presentations Tour  



Getting Started with IBM Lotus Symphony Presentations Tutorial





On-line courses

Introduction to IBM Lotus Symphony 1.3



Getting Started with IBM Lotus Symphony Documents 1.3



Getting Started with IBM Lotus Symphony Spreadsheets 1.3



Formatting and Protecting a Spreadsheet in IBM Lotus Symphony Spreadsheets



Working with Advanced Calculation Tools in IBM Lotus Symphony Spreadsheets



DataPilot Tutorial



Getting Started with IBM Lotus Symphony Presentations 1.3



Working with Pages and Views in IBM Lotus Symphony Presentations



Modifying Text and Graphics In IBM Lotus Symphony Presentations



Delivering Screen Shows Using Templates and Transitions in IBM Lotus Symphony Presentations



Working with Charts, Flow Charts, and Tables in IBM Lotus Symphony Presentations



Lotus Symphony 1.3 – Seamless Customization &
Integration via Symphony Toolkit  


Web Seminar – For Developers



Reference Cards

Migrating from Microsoft Word

Moving from Microsoft Word: Toolbar Reference Card


Reference Card

Moving from Microsoft Word : Keyboard Reference Card


Reference Card

Migrating from Microsoft PowerPoint

Moving from Microsoft Power Point: Toolbar Reference Card


Reference Card

Moving from Microsoft Power Point:  Keyboard Reference Card        


Reference Card

Migrating from Microsoft Excel

Moving from Microsoft Excel: Toolbar Reference Card


Reference Card

Moving from Microsoft Excel: Keyboard Reference Card


Reference Card



Short Show Me Videos

Show me: Lotus Symphony Documents

IBM Lotus Symphony – Adding graphics



Changing preferences for a document



Creating a frame on a page



Creating a table of contents for a document



Creating charts



Creating lists



Creating tables



Formatting text, graphics, and shapes



Installing plug-ins in Lotus Symphony  



Tracking document changes



Uninstalling plug-ins in Lotus Symphony



Using keyboard navigation (accessibillity) in IBM Lotus Symphony Documents



Show me: Lotus Symphony Spreadsheets

IBM Lotus Symphony – Adding graphics



Adding graphics and a title to a spreadsheet



Changing preferences for a spreadsheet



Copying Notes view data into a Symphony spreadsheet



Copying data from existing spreadsheets to a new spreadsheet



Formatting text, graphics, and shapes



Importing and exporting a spreadsheet



Installing plug-ins in Lotus Symphony



Modifying a spreadsheet



Uninstalling plug-ins in Lotus Symphony



Using keyboard navigation (accessibillity
) in IBM Lotus Symphony Spreadsheets



Using the Navigator to find a sheet in a spreadsheet



Show me: Lotus Symphony Presentations

Adding a graphic to a presentation



IBM Lotus Symphony – Adding graphics



Building a flow diagram with Symphony Presentations



Changing a page layout for a presentation



Changing preferences for a presentation



Creating a basic presentation from a template



Formatting text, graphics, and shapes



Main features of IBM Lotus Presentations



Running a presentation as a screen show



Installing plug-ins in Lotus Symphony



Uninstalling plug-ins in Lotus Symphony



Using keyboard navigation (accessibillity) in IBM Lotus Symphony Presentations



Using views when building a presentation



Working With Graphics in IBM Lotus Symphony Presentations



Working With Templates and Master Pages in IBM Lotus Symphony Presentations






Courseware for Facilitators

•        Lesson Planner: Lotus Symphony Spreadsheets Basics
•        Lesson Planner: Lotus Symphony Presentations Basics
•        Lesson Planner: Lotus Symphony Documents Basics
•        Lesson Planner: Lotus Symphony Spreadsheets Beyond Basics
•        Lesson Planner: Lotus Symphony Presentations Beyond Basics
•        Lesson Planner: Lotus Symphony Documents Beyond Basics
•        Lesson Planner:
Lotus Symphony Spreadsheets Power User
•        Lesson Planner: Lotus Symphony Presentations Power User
•        Lesson Planner: Lotus Symphony Documents Power User


Courseware materials

Training Kit: Lotus Symphony


Courseware materials

I have provided a full list here, just because I’m so impressed with the scope of the material, but would encourage you to head over to the Lotus Symphony Wiki to check out the up-to-date content and add it to your bookmarks for the future…

Link: Lotus Symphony Wiki – Lotus Symphony 1.3 education offerings

Lotus Symphony logo

What’s new in Lotus Symphony 1.3?

From the Lotus Symphony 1.3 release notes:

Lotus Symphony logoWhat’s New in Symphony 1.3?

Functional enhancements:

* Enabled Microsoft Office 2007 files import support.
* Significant enhancements in DataPilot in spreadsheets, including show/hide field items panel, drill down to details, DataPilot cache support, and default styles.

* Numbering enhancement in documents to improve interoperability with Microsoft Word.

* Enabled Microsoft Office and IBM Lotus SmartSuite password protection support for spreadsheets.

* Enabled network URI access and hyperlink support that allows you to create network connection hyperlinks for URI protocols including FTP, MailTo, and SMB.

* Enabled envelope support which allows you to create an envelope, set envelope properties, and set printing options.

* Enabled Widgets Catalog server support.

* Improved print performance.

* Enabled Sumproduct’s ForceArray formula support in spreadsheets.

* Significant start-up performance improvement on Mac OS X.

Usability enhancements:

* In presentations, page layout is more visible by locating the Properties sidebar in the right panel.
* Provided better animation effects interoperability with Microsoft PowerPoint on font-relative effects, fade-exit effects, and multiple motion paths; and enabled the animation play at automatic page transitions.

* Provided an automatic cursor in presentation screen shows as a default option.

* Presentation pages can be deleted continuously without any prompt.

* Provided new graphic bullets and clip art.

* Provided enhanced color pallette in color picker.

* Enhancements in live text.

* Enabled support that allows you to open a file by dragging and dropping a file to the home page or the New.

* A continuous improvement in mail merge in documents.

* Default font is changed to Arial in presentations and documents.

* Enlarged the pull-down list length upper limit to 20 items to make more options visible.

* Enabled Ctrl+left Shift and Ctrl+right Shift hotkey support to switch BIDI layout.

* Enhanced toolbar and main menu usability.

Programmability enhancements:

* Provided rich Lotus Symphony document model APIs for Spreadsheets and Documents.

Online help enhancements:

* Enhanced help content for spreadsheets, common, and preferences topics.

Web site:

* Added drag-to-install function in the Plug-ins section.
* Added support for multiple downloads and enabled Atom feeds for clip art and templates in the Gallery section.

* Expanded search function for the Forum.

* Rotated announcements on the Home page.

There is also an excellent video demonstrating some of the new features.

Lotus Symphony

Lotus Symphony 1.3 is here!

Lotus Symphony

The Lotus Symphony 1.3 press release states:

IBM Unleashes New Symphony for Millions of Microsoft Office Customers

IBM (NYSE: IBM) is offering millions of companies and consumers the chance to save hundreds of dollars on each of their Microsoft Office licenses by providing support for Microsoft Office 2007 with the newest version of Lotus Symphony, IBM’s free of charge productivity software suite. This could translate into millions of dollars in savings at many large companies that are looking for financial relief in the current economy.

The ability to import Microsoft Office 2007 files into Symphony means that Microsoft Office customers can save on licensing costs by switching to Symphony while retaining access to, and easy use of, the contents of their Office files. Lotus Symphony version 1.3 is now available free of charge on the Web at http://www-01.ibm.com/software/lotus/products/symphony/. In addition, Symphony is shipped with every copy of Lotus Notes and Lotus Foundations software. View the Symphony video.

IBM’s alternative to Microsoft Office 2007 makes cost-free document software a legitimate option for many companies around the business world which want to realize cost-efficiencies in the current economic climate but require assurance of the quality and reliability of the technology.

In addition to adding support for Microsoft Office 2007 file formats, Lotus Symphony 1.3 offers DataPilot Table improvements that make it easy to drill down and analyze data. It also enhances mail merge and envelope printing for organizations that need simple, efficient ways to communicate with their customers. Symphony 1.3 also provides animation to add sizzle to presentations and interoperate with Microsoft PowerPoint presentations.

The new version of Symphony allows users to drag-and-drop plug-ins, extending its use to other business applications. For example, a new learning plug-in can be installed on the right sidebar to help people learn new Symphony capabilities in real-time use.

“IBM is delivering on its commitment to free businesses and consumers from having to pay licensing fees over and over just to access their own personal or company information,” said Kevin Cavanaugh, VP of Lotus Software. “Now, it will be much harder to justify paying Office licensing fees when you can preserve and access your Office documents for free using Lotus Symphony.”

Reducing fixed costs in challenging times is important to Cluttons, a partnership of chartered surveyors, founded in 1765. Through a network of offices in the U.K., Europe, Middle East, South Africa and the Caribbean, Cluttons offer a very wide range of professional property management, agency and consultancy services across the commercial and residential sectors, for both investors and occupiers. In recent years, Cluttons delivered Microsoft Windows desktop, including Microsoft Office, IBM Lotus Notes and business applications to its users via a virtualized environment based on Citrix. Now it plans to switch from Office to Symphony, used with Lotus Notes 8.5.

Mark Clemence, Cluttons IT Director, stated, “The opportunity to use fully supported office productivity tools as part of the deployment of Lotus Notes 8.5 was too good an opportunity to be missed. We plan to use the cost saving to further invest in Lotus productivity tool sets.”

Another Symphony customer, The John Lewis Partnership (JLP), owns the leading U.K. retail businesses Waitrose, John Lewis and Greenbee. All 69,000 of its permanent staff are partners who own 27 John Lewis department stores, 210 Waitrose supermarkets (www.waitrose.com), an online and catalogue business, johnlewis.com (www.johnlewis.com), a direct services company, Greenbee (www.greenbee.com), a production unit and a farm with nearly 6.9GBP billion in revenue in 2008.

JLP was determined to control costs within a competitive retail environment to deliver first-class service and products to John Lewis customers. It plans to deploy Symphony to approximately 8,000 employees. Providing Microsoft Office to all staff in John Lewis Department Stores was evaluated, but determined to be cost-prohibitive.

Recently Italian food distributor Gruppo Amadori began converting its 6,000 employees to Symphony on Linux desktops from an Office and Windows environment as part of a cost-control strategy. The IBM Linux desktop includes Lotus Notes, Lotus Sametime and Lotus Quickr in addition to Symphony.

New businesses are forming around the rising demand to migrate from Microsoft Office to Symphony. For example, Indellient (www.indellient.com), based in Montreal, Canada offers migration services such as Asset Conversion Inspector and Notes Integration Inspector which can help larger organizations understand their Microsoft Office dependencies. Indellient is also providing products specifically for the small-medium business market and the Lotus business partner channel with Web-based Document Conversion Services and Personalized Template Packs. These services allow SMB business partners to offer their customers an easy and cost-effective set of business automated templates, for an efficient and professional look and feel to their communications.

Download Symphony 1.3 from symphony.lotus.com.