Ashampoo Office 2012 Review
Update 2013/06/17: Save up to 75% off on Ashampoo Office 2012! This is the best price we've ever posted to-date, and is limited time (deal expires July 1st, 2013). Proceeds support our website and staff of writers. Thanks for your support! You can click here to go straight to the discount offer; otherwise, please enjoy our review, below.
Question: what's better than Microsoft Office, but costs only a fraction of price?
Answer: Ashampoo Office 2012.
Next to web browsing, office suites and word processing are arguably the most widely used software tools for every computer user.
In fact, it's almost certainly the application that people are most likely to use every day, and handles the widest variety of tasks usually done on a computer.
That's why it's important to select the right office suite among all the available choices: the one that feels most intuitive, best suits your way of working, and offers ready access to the capabilities you need to accomplish your work.
Measured against all these criteria, Ashampoo Office 2012 is a great choice for most users.
Ashampoo Office Versus Microsoft Office
Ashampoo Office is very similar to Microsoft Office, except it's a fraction of the price. It also uses a fraction of resources to operate, which means it runs great even on older PCs.
In fact, Ashampoo Office 2012 is 100% compatible with MS Office files, so if you're using MS Office at work, you can still use Ashampoo Office at home.
It's also portable, which means you can store the entire suite on a USB memory drive (for example) and use it on any computer -- even in a remote location, such as a hotel or library.
Ashampoo Office 2012: Features
Here's a quick run-down of what's available in version 2012:
- TextMaker 2012 (similar to MS Word): the suite's full-function word processor for everything from flyers and postcards to white papers and long, complex documents, complete with automatic envelope printing and a comprehensive spell-checker,
- PlanMaker 2012 (similar to MS Excel): a very capable spreadsheet program with more than 330 built-in calculation functions and an easy-to-use, powerful chart-maker,
- Presentations 2012 (similar to MS PowerPoint): a heavily featured slideshow creation system that's great for both printing and displaying "decks" of graphic-intensive slides, offering a range of professionally designed templates and full palettes of both animations and slide-to-slide transitions.
The most important thing is the fact that reading and writing in the original Word, Excel and PowerPoint files [cause no loss of] content ... in terms of formatting [when using Ashampoo Office]. ~ Softsea.com
Office Suite Comparison: MS Office, Open Source, Ashampoo
The biggest problem in finding the best office suite for your needs and preferences is that today's software market offers a "barbell" of choices: one that is heavily weighted at both ends, with almost nothing in the middle.
The range of available office suite packages is divided into two very diverse types, neither of which is really what most people want or need.
Comparing: Microsoft Office
At one end of the "barbell" is the 600 pound gorilla of office suites: Microsoft Office. Microsoft Office is so complex that there's probably only a handful of computer users who understand and know all its capabilities, and even fewer on this planet that actually needs them all.
What's more, MS Office is extremely expensive. Even the cheapest, "no-box" version of this office suite starts at $120, and the standard "Home and Business" edition costs significantly more.
That's a lot of money to pay for way more capability than you will ever use.
Comparing: Open Source Office Suites
At the other end of the "barbell" of choices are the free "open source" office suites.
Open source office suites certainly seem like a bargain, based on their price. However, each one of them comes with some hidden drawbacks that make them extremely pricey in terms of your time and effort.
For example, if you're using a free office suite and you need help figuring out how to perform a particular task, oftentimes the built-in help is either inadequate or confusing, or both. The result is that you spend way too much time looking for instructions, or even a hint as to the answer.
Another big drawback with open source office suites is that when something goes wrong with the software, or when you come across a bug or a glitch, you can't really complain to anyone in charge, nor can you expect any help in getting it fixed because there is extremely limited or no support.
Ashampoo Office 2012: The Happy Medium
Ashampoo Office 2012 fills this huge gap between the two "barbell" extremes by providing the same kind of capabilities, performance, and support you expect from Microsoft Office, but at a price that's much closer to the open source systems.
While Ashampoo Office 2012 is not, and does not claim to be, totally equal to Microsoft Office, experts and reviewers suggest that if it came any closer to Microsoft Office, the good people at Ashampoo would almost certainly face a lawsuit from the software giant!
Ashampoo Office 2012: 100% Compatible with MS Office
Ashampoo Office 2012 is 100% capable of using data files in industry-standard formats, including: documents (.DOC, .DOCX files), spreadsheets (.XLS, .XLSX files), and slideshows (.PPT, .PPTX, files, etc).
In fact, you can forget incompatibilities or confusing file conversions -- Ashampoo Office 2012 can open any Microsoft Office document, make changes, and save it again without any incompatibilities or extra steps.
This 100% file compatibility is extremely important, because it means you can share documents, spreadsheets, and slideshows with people using any other office suite, totally confident they can read and write your data files, and you can read and write theirs.
Of course, if you ever have any trouble with Ashampoo Office 2012, you can get all the help you want and need, quickly, easily, and courteously, from Ashampoo's highly trained support team.
If OpenOffice is too big and runs too slowly and you don't want to pay the full price for Microsoft Office, you might be the perfect candidate for Ashampoo Office. ~ TechRepublic
What Makes Ashampoo Office 2012 Better Than The Rest
As you use this new office suite you'll begin to recognize several areas in which Ashampoo Office 2012 is clearly superior to Microsoft Office.
For example, Ashampoo TextMaker 2012 offers a simplified "master page" function, allowing you to enter text or graphics in a single location, and have it appear on every page of your document.
You'll also enjoy the "quick navigation" bar and the "zoom" function, which make it easy to skip through even the longest documents and put in the most detailed changes in record time.
In PlanMaker 2012, innovative "data consolidation" functions provide you with statistical analyses of your data instantly, as soon as they're loaded.
Presentations 2012 allows for both sophisticated and simple visual effects, and also lets you easily add both music and video at any point, then save your presentation as a slideshow, HTML file (viewable online the Internet via web browser), or even a video!
Ashampoo Office 2012 doesn't compromise on capability or power, yet it's small enough to fit on to a USB memory stick, and can even run directly from one, without ever being installed on the computer.
Whether you're in a library or cybercafe, at your friend's or relative's house, or in a hotel's business center, Ashampoo Office 2012 allows you to work anywhere, and even on a computer that's not your own.
Microsoft Office may have more features, and open source office suites may cost you nothing. But when you want a reliable, well-supported, full featured office suite at an affordable price, Ashampoo Office 2012 is clearly the best choice, and offers the greatest value in today's software market.
Special Offer for Infopackets Readers
Thanks to the great feedback we've had from Infopackets readers on our previous reviews of Ashampoo products, the firm has agreed to make available to our subscribers a special limited-time offer on its entire Office package.
Normally the package retails at $59.99, which, to be frank, is a bargain in itself. For a limited time, Infopackets readers can get Ashampoo Office 2012 for 50% off (full version), or 75% for upgrades - details below.
To take advantage of this offer, simply click on one of the two links below.