Office suites like Google Docs and Zoho Office have been busy adding offline access to let you access and edit spreadsheets, text, and presentation documents in a web browser whether you're connected to the internet or not. But paying ThinkFree customers have had this ability since last year.
That's because ThinkFree offers two products: an online, web-based office suite and a Microsoft Office-compatible suite for the desktop. Users can synchronize data between the web service and their desktops. But up until this week, users had to pay $50 for access to the desktop software. Now, as expected, ThinkFree has launched a free version of its desktop software.
Now, here's the interesting thing. You don't even need to sign up for an account to download the desktop software. So if you have no need for an online office suit, synchronization, or 1GB of free online storage space for your office documents, you can just treat ThinkFree Office as a free alternative to Microsoft Office, OpenOffice.org, or whatever you've been using. But you will need to sign up for an account since ThinkFree will only save files if you have an account. Files will also automatically be saved to a ThinkFree folder for synchronizing with the web service. If you don't want to synchronize your files with the server, just never login again.
The applications can open and save documents in a variety of formats including Office 97 - 2007, PDF, RTF, and CSV. ThinkFree Write, Calc, and Show also do a great job of opening documents we've created using other applications, recognizing features like notes in our spreadsheets that other free tools like Gnumeric miss.
Labels: Freeware, internet, Linux, Macintosh, Office, web 2.0, Web services, windows