Friday, January 24, 2014

[Guide] How to install Kingsoft Office for Linux Alpha 12 on Elementary OS

There are several popular desktop office suites for Linux:
Missing from Linux until recently was Kingsoft Office. It's been my favorite alternative to Microsoft Office on Windows for a number of years. So I was excited to find an Alpha version developed by the Kingsoft WPS Community that is not only free; it also comes with the latest interface (2013) and runs great on Elementary OS. Plus, if you've installed Elementary Tweaks like I showed you, you can run these apps full-screen (hidden plank and status bar).

Here are screenshots from my device :

Spreadsheets (KingSoft Alpha 12) on the HP Chromebook 14

Writer (KingSoft Alpha 12) on the HP Chromebook 14

Presentation (KingSoft Alpha 12) on the HP Chromebook 14

What I like about KingSoft

  • Latest Alpha 12 Patch 3 is actually quite stable
  • Blazing fast on HP Chromebook 14 / Elementary OS
  • Writer, Spreadsheets and Presentation included
  • Free
  • Switch between Ribbon interface (2013/2010) and classic (2003)
  • Multiple tabs (this is something Microsoft Office should have done 10 years ago)
  • Save in XLSX, DOCX formats
  • Export documents to PDF
  • Support for Pivot tables and color filters in Spreadsheets
  • So far, no compatibility bugs or visible formatting errors between Office and KingSoft

On the HP Chromebook 14, KingSoft has become the main reason I switch to Linux at all : word processing, spreadsheets and presentations in a real desktop environment. I still love Google Drive, but there are times when I need to work on other people's documents and maintain compatibility with Office. If you're in the same boat, here's how to install it on Elementary OS (should also work for any Ubuntu 12.04 variant).

What you should know before installing

  • It's still an alpha
  • On Elementary OS, you'll need to manually install some fonts from Windows in order to display some advanced formulas : Symbols, Wingdings and Dingbats (if you rarely work with algebra or formulas within a document, then you can dismiss the error like I did).

Let's do it !

1. Install 32-bit binaries for Ubuntu 12.04 with the following command in Terminal :

sudo apt-get install ia32-libs

Then :


2. Download the latest alpha package from the WPS Community website (look for i386 .deb package)

3. Unpack with Elementary's GDebi Package Installer or Software Center.

OPTION B  (hosted by NoobsLabs)

cd && wget -O kingsoft-office-NoobsLab.deb
sudo dpkg -i kingsoft-office.deb
rm kingsoft-office.deb

That's it !