Suppose you’ve been looking for an alternative to Microsoft Office and the group of office apps from Google (Sheets, Docs, etc.). In that case, WPS Office is up with these top office tools. But is WPS office safe? How does it compare to the tools mentioned above?
I decided to write this review from the WPS Office’s Writer tool to see how the software works first-hand. And here’s my take.
What Is WPS Office?
WPS Office (formerly Kingsoft Office or KSOffice) is an office suite for Apple iOS, Windows, MacOS, Android, and Linux. It is developed by Zhuhai-based Kingsoft Corporation and distributed under a proprietary license.
The office suite was released in 1988 as WPS Office and continued to be known in China. The first release was Kingsoft Office 1995. Moreover, There is a community-maintained Linux version.
WPS Office is available for Windows in a free and premium subscription version. In addition, the program is available in a time-unlimited free “Personal Edition.” This does not support VBA macros but is otherwise not functionally restricted. Versions before 2016 watermarked printed documents after the test phase. This limitation was removed with version 2016.
A chargeable upgrade to the full “Business Edition” is possible anytime within the program interface. With the renaming to WPS Office, a subscription version for the business variant was introduced in the license model. The Office version can be licensed annually in the “Business Edition.” Alternatively, a permanent license can be purchased.
Is WPS Office Safe?
However, since a Chinese company publishes it, users are worried about data protection on the platform. But if you still can’t trust the app, a good option would be to disable internet access to and from WPS while using it. To do this, simply disable its background data.
In the Lkong literature forum, the author Mitu accused the company of censoring a million-word novel manuscript and preventing her from further editing. She mentioned how the company was “spying on and locking my draft.” The incident attracted attention on the social network Weibo, so people started asking, “is WPS Office safe?”
WPS statement on privacy issues
Concerning the accusation from Mitu, WPS responded in a statement issued on Weibo. It denies that the program would lock users out of their documents but said, “all platforms that provide online information services are responsible for reviewing the content disseminated through their platforms by obligation in China.”
First, regarding the “delete user’s local files” posted on the Internet, we reiterate that WPS will not conduct any operations such as auditing, locking or deleting the user’s local files.
Second, according to relevant laws and regulations such as the Cybersecurity Law, the Measures for the Administration of Internet Information Services, and the Provisions on the Ecological Governance of Online Information Content, all platforms that provide online information services are responsible for reviewing the content disseminated through their platforms by obligation.
When we audit according to the law, we will take strict encryption and desensitization measures to protect the security of user information. At the same time, we also provide users with customer service complaint channels and document retrieval paths.
WPS also mentioned that the accusation that “WPS deletes user’s local files” and “infringement of user privacy” on the Internet are “all false information,” saying “we will take legal measures to safeguard legal rights for the loss of goodwill caused to the company.”
So this means users in China are subject to this “censorship.” Of course, not many users in China can complain about this because it’s a state affair. But I think users’ data in other parts of the world are exempted from this censorship, and no reports say otherwise.
Next, we’ll learn more about this program to know how safe it is and how much you can trust it.
What Are the Main Features of WPS?
WPS Office provides free access to powerful and versatile tools for editing text, presentations, spreadsheets, and other handy utilities. The file formats used are fully compatible with those of the Microsoft Office suite: Word, Powerpoint, and Excel.
The product has its PDF converter, uses MDI mode to display multiple open documents, has high compatibility with the Microsoft Office suite, and has a small file size for the installation package.
On the other hand, the internationally standardized OpenDocument standard (file extensions: *.odt, *.ods, etc.) is not supported as a file format. The graphical user interface of WPS Office 10 offers the option of choosing between control via menus and toolbar – similar to Microsoft Office 2003 – and operation with ribbons- identical to Microsoft Office from version 2007 – with a black and a light blue ribbon theme to choose from.
The main applications of WPS Office are:
WPS Office Writer
WPS Office Writer is a word processor with advanced layout features. It is a must-have desktop software for writers who want to write and format well-presented documents.
Footnotes, fonts, personalization of paragraphs, insertion of tables, graphic elements, or even hypertext links, everything is there! As a bonus, it allows reading and writing of doc, dot, docx, dotx, docm, dotm, rtf, wps, and wpt files.
WPS Office Spreadsheets
WPS Office Spreadsheet is an Excel-compatible spreadsheet. Spreadsheets will allow you to use spreadsheets in xls, xlsx, xlsm, xlt, csv, .et, and ett formats. In addition, it perfectly integrates formulas and calculations.
A little less flexible in terms of duplication and automatic adaptation of cells than Excel, it is nonetheless relevant for managing, filtering, and sorting information, creating forms, and drawing personalized graphics from them.
WPS Office Presentation
WPS Office Presentation will allow you to work on ppt, pptx, pps, ppsx, pot, dps, and dpt files. Simple and easy to learn, with its interface, users will be able to quickly create new slides and apply transition effects, animations, infographics, etc.
WPS Office PDF
Just like Adobe PDF, this is for viewing PDF files. Its functionality is, however, limited. For example, you can only make office file to PDF conversions, split a PDF file into multiple files, and combine multiple PDF files into one.
In this free version, you will not be able to edit PDF or convert PDF to an office document. To do this, you must acquire a paid Premium renewable license each year.
WPS Office – Free Office Suite for Word, PDF, Excel
Always keep your desktop applications at your fingertips with the mobile version for smartphones and tablets. With WPS Office – Free Office Suite, you will not only be able to create new documents but also convert them to PDF and scan your images to PDF.
A cloud-based version has been available for some time, compared to Microsoft Office 365 and Google Docs in terms of structure and function.
Documents from the word processor, the spreadsheets, and the presentation software can be saved online and accessed from any device. The “Document Roaming” function also gives you access to older versions of your documents.
However, note that this cloud version is less well endowed with features than its PC or mobile version.
How Popular Is WPS Office?
In 2019, WPS Office had over 310 million monthly active users. It is seen by many as a lighter and easier-to-use alternative to Microsoft Office.
In 2020, 62 of the 65 organs of the State Council used the WPS Office. Also, 90 of the 97 “central state enterprises” (i.e., state enterprises under the control of the State Property Control and Administration Commission) used it.
In addition, 133 of the 153 commercial banks, 33 of the 34 provincial governments, and the administrations of all prefecture-level cities also used it.
Why use WPS Office?
One of the things I like with WPS Office (especially its word processor) is that it’s faster for typing. You can easily highlight without double tapping or double clicking. In addition, most of the features you need are overlaid for easy access.
The software suite offers an interface similar to that of Microsoft and common tools: free document templates, numerous editing parameters, spell checker.
The strength of the WPS Office interface lies in its opening of files by tabs. This feature makes it easier to work on several documents simultaneously. Besides this practical detail, new users will not be surprised and quickly find their habits of competing office suites.
But unlike the latter, where each application can be launched separately, the WPS user can open a single window. From there, they can choose which document they wish to create or which recent document they wish to open.
To create a new document, nothing could be simpler, click on “New” in the left menu and then select the type of document you wish to make. Several templates are available to facilitate your layout. Attention, in the free version, only a few models (Templates) are available for free. For the others, you must have a paid license to use them.
Click on “blank” to create a blank document. You will notice that the documents open in tabs, even if it is a spreadsheet or a presentation. This is very practical when juggling from one office document to another, even if they can be edited with different applications.
The appearance of WPS Office can be customized in the global settings of the main application interface. In addition, you can opt for different themes and colors, particularly the dark theme, which is similar to Dark Mode and has the advantage of less eye strain.
Which OS is WPS Office compatible with?
You can download WPS Office for computers with Windows 7/8/10/11 and Mac OS X 10.12 or higher with 64-bit architecture.
For Linux, WPS Office is compatible, among others, with Fedora, OpenSUSE, Ubuntu, CentOS, Mint, and Knoppix distributions, in 32 and 64-bit architecture.
You can download apps for Android and iOS directly from the Play Store or App Store.
WPS Pros and Cons
- Easy to use ribbon menu style with tabbed interface
- Common and advanced formatting styles
- Automatic spell check
- Created documents accessible from any device
- Supports popular file formats like those found in Microsoft Office
- Free templates
- Small download size
- Must download the entire office suite to get Writer or Spreadsheet
- The free version has limited features
- Published by a Chinese company
Is WPS Office Free?
WPS Office is offered free of charge in the Standard version. However, full Microsoft Office compatibility, PDF support, encryption, and advanced tools are unavailable until you pay for the software. The Linux, Apple iOS, and Android versions are free and available under WPS Office.
An overview of the extent to which the WPS Office standard differs from the paid Premium Edition can be found on the Publisher’s website. However, for those still not sure it’s an app they can or cannot use, the premium version comes with a 7-day free trial, which means if you don’t like it, you can cancel the subscription before the 8th day.
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What are the best alternatives to WPS Office?
If you still don’t have enough reasons to trust WPS Office, many office suites are available for download. And all offer a word processing editor, a spreadsheet, and a presentation editing tool.
Some offer more features but are paid, while others remain free. The key is to know how to identify these services’ strengths and weaknesses and take advantage of them according to your needs.
Microsoft Office 365
First, the paid reference of Microsoft Office 365 office suites offers more functionalities.
Access provides database management tools. Marketing document creation is possible with Publisher, and there’s Outlook for e-mail creation.
The major advantage lies in the online use of its services and mobile applications (these two versions are free!). You can find all your files from any device.
Open source and free programs
LibreOffice and OpenOffice are top among open source and free office suites. Users can take advantage of all Microsoft Office 365-like features without paying a subscription. But, of course, you won’t have an online service or cloud storage. Everything happens locally, and the management of collaborative documents is limited.
Google Office apps
If you want a 100% cloud solution, consider the range of Google apps, with Google Docs for word processing, Google Sheets for spreadsheets, and Google Slides for PowerPoint-type presentations. You only need a Google account and an internet connection to use them. Everything happens online. The generated documents are automatically saved in the Google Drive online storage space.
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