New Tool for Writing and Editing: WPS Writer

Apples to apples

by C.K. MacLeod

Are you unhappy that Microsoft Word 2013 is available only through subscription? Consider this alternative: WPS Writer* (formerly Kingsoft Office).

A New Tool for Editing?

Until now, Microsoft Word has been the best tool for editing, but I'd like to suggest that WPS Writer is a close contender. The lite version is free and loaded with features, and it's part of an office suite that includes a word processor, spreadsheet program, and presentation software (also free). The Office Suite Pro version is reasonably priced at $69.95 USD, and it has some additional features—including the ability to run macros—that you'll want for your self-editing toolkit.

If you're happy to forego using macros in your writing process, the lite version will provide you with most of the writing and self-editing features you'll need. Don't hold out on macros for too long, though. Macros can help you to pinpoint difficulties in your writing, so you can fix them.

Tablet App

WPS Writer is also available for iOS and Android tablets (free)—for authors who like to edit on-the-go. If you use Dropbox to store your files, moving back and forth between the desktop app and the tablet app is relatively seamless.

WPS Writer and Word: A Comparison

Below is a table that compares Word 2010—the last non-subscription version of Word—with WPS Writer. I've listed all of the features typically used by authors and editors. If I've missed a feature, be sure to let me know in the comments below.

Note: The table was created in WPS Writer using Table tools.

WPS Writer also comes with a comprehensive user manual. Pretty impressive, huh? So if you haven't been one of the lucky editor-sorts to scoop up one of the remaining copies of Word 2010, WPS Writer may well be worth a look.

A special thank you to Adam Santo for inspiring me to look into this software further.

*For those who are curious: WPS stands for Writer, Presentation, and Spreadsheets—the three components of WPS Office.

Image by Harald Hoyer

8 thoughts on “New Tool for Writing and Editing: WPS Writer”

  1. I have used Kingsoft office for about two years. I had it on Android first. I love the android tablet version as it has these fluid ribbons for the tools. I then put the Windows version on my laptop. Originally it was the same layout and functionality of word 2003. But the updated version in 2013 is more like office 2007 and 2010. It can open and edit and save in office formats or save in the .et native format. If you can use MS Office, you can use Kingsoft office or WPS office. A great free option that syncs with dropbox for seamless transition between your tablet and Windows computer.

    1. Thanks for your comments, Kizzy. You're right about the Android tablet version of WPS Writer. Kingsoft recently improved the app's user interface, and I decided to give the app another try (it had been languishing on my Android tablet unused). The app has surprisingly good track changes and comments features, and you can now sync with Evernote as well.

      The desktop version is clean and uncluttered, things are where you expect them to be (if you're a Word 2010 user), and if you're a writer or an editor, it has all the features you'll need (editors who use macros may want to upgrade to the Pro version). What's nice is that if you prefer the classic menu to the ribbon, you can switch views easily.

  2. Just wanted to add two more details. For one, WPS is also available as a native Linux version. This is functionally a little behind, but more than suitable for the needs of an everyday user.

    Secondly, WPS not only integrates nicely with Dropbox, but also with any kind of WEBDAV account. Very convenient when it comes to flipping files back and forth from your desktop, tablet and smart-phone!

    The compatibility in reading and writing MS office formats is outstanding. In my opinion on Linux the far better choice as compared to LibreOffice (or OpenOffice). I have to say though that my personal use doesn't require any macro facility, so that I don't miss anything in this respect.

    1. Thanks for your comments! You're quite right: WPS Office is available for Linux and Windows.

      I'm glad to hear that WPS Office works with a variety of cloud storage options. And I agree with you: I now prefer this newer version of WPS Office over LibreOffice.

  3. Great post, C.K. Thanks for always bringing the newest and best to us. I'll be checking out WPS Writer. BTW, the link in your newsletter heads to the post on the comparison of split screens in Word and Scrivener.

    1. Thanks for your comment.

      I had been checking out LibreOffice when I stumbled upon the newest version of WPS Office. LibreOffice will allow you to use macros as well (see my posts on macros for self-editing), but macros that you run in Word can't be run in LibreOffice. This fact sort of tipped the scales in favour of WPS Office for me, as I have a number of Word-ready macros that I can just copy and paste to WPS Office. Having said that, some people quite like LibreOffice, and it may well be worth looking into.

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