WPS For Linux – First Impressions

What a find

Talk about finding a hidden treasure… the WPS Office Suite for Linux is an amazing find. Although considerably well known for the Android app, WPS Office (aka Kingsoft Office) is not as well adopted by desktop users, more specifically non-Chinese desktop users. That’s because WPS Office is offered in Chinese by default and to find and download the app, you need to make use of Google Translate to find your away around the WPS for Linux website.

I installed WPS Office in Elementary OS Luna. When you launch the office suite for the first time, there’s no escaping the acknowledgement that the app borrow’s most of its design aspects from Microsoft Office 2007 and 2010, but if you’re like me and are rather comfortable in that environment, then this will be a welcomed realisation. Unlike MS Office running under Wine, WPS Office is a native app which makes itself comfortable amongst other Ubuntu/Elementary apps.

WPS Office apps in the elementary Luna dock

WPS Office apps in the elementary Luna dock

Kingsoft Spreadsheet in elementary OS luna

Kingsoft Spreadsheet in elementary OS luna

Ah, I arranged the icons SWP :-/ too bad.. Anyway, as you’ve just noticed, WPS Office offers 3 apps; Kingsoft Writer, Kingsoft Presentation and Kingsoft Spreadsheet. From my initial inspection, all 3 apps are fully equipped with the features I most commonly use in MS Office and LibreOffice. Obviously I have not yet put the suite to a full-on test, so I cannot really say whether there are any bugs of sort. I found that WPS does not read open document formats, which is not such a big issue as one can easily save to .docx (etc) in Libre/OpenOffice. However, in compensation for that, WPS does a brilliant job in opening documents/spreadsheets and presentations created in MS Office. From the documents I’ve opened, everything was well preserved .

WPS Office boasts an awesome splash screen, a familiar UI and the ability to tweak the UI theme. If you’re used to the LibreOffice, non-ribbon style UI, it’s also possible to change the UI to that style with one click.

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UI options in Kingsoft Writer

UI options in Kingsoft Writer

Another great feature in WPS, which MS Office even lacks, is the ability to open and work on multiple documents side by side, switching between them using tabs.

Tab Switcher in WPS

Tab Switcher in WPS

WPS Office apps also offer a wide range of templates and design tools that are similar to those found in MS Office. The downside is that the apps aren’t 100% translated into English, but it certainly doesn’t hinder productivity. All the core features are available in English and if not, the menu icons are familiar enough to understand.

How to install WPS Office for Linux in Ubuntu/Linux Mint/Elemenatry

Download the .deb file from http://community.wps.cn/download/ [Alternate versions are also available for other Linux distros]

Install the package either through Software Centre or whatever deb package manager you use.

Open Kingsoft Writer. You will be prompted with a form asking for your name and some stuff. The form is in Chinese. Fill in anything. After filling out the form, the app will open in full Chinese. To change the app to English, close the app and then run the following code in a terminal window:

cd /opt/kingsoft/wps-office/office6/2052

sudo rm qt.qm wps.qm wpp.qm et.qm

Open any Kingsoft app again and it should display in English.
Enjoy!