Interoperability with various document standards and a host of new capabilities around PDF files are among the drivers in WordPerfect Office X4, the latest version of the office suite recently released by Ottawa’s Corel Corp.
It’s actually the 14th edition of the long-running office suite; the naming structure was changed with the last edition, WordPerfect X3, to avoid cultural superstitions around the number 14 as well as reflect a new generation of capabilities says Corel’s Greg Wood, senior communications manager for WordPerfect Office.
And while WordPerfect has supported export to PDF for sometime, the vendor is touting a range of new PDF capabilities in X4, dubbing it the word’s first PDF office suite. The suite is designed for users to import, edit and export PDF documents.
“It’s not like we woke-up in the middle of the night and decided to do PDF,” said Wood.
The PDF functionality is particularly appealing to WordPerfect’s strong base in the government and legal markets, says Wood, as are the new capabilities around document archival and redaction.
“Customers are telling us they want to use PDF within an office suite, and right now to do this with Microsoft Office or an older version of WordPerfect you’ve got to get add-on software,” said Wood.
“This is somewhere we’re really differentiating by adding this right into the suite.”
Another major area of investment for Corel in X4 is interoperability, says Wood. The suite now works with Microsoft Office 2007 files (OOXML) as well as the Open Document Format (ODF) used by programs such as OpenOffice.
“That’s where we’re seeing demand,” said Wood. “We’d rather be out creating new features, but if you want to be able to deliver customers the compatibility they need you’ve got to focus on the un-sexy but completely necessary compatibility issues.”
Also new with X4 is integration with WordPerfect Lightning, a free online note-taking application, as well as Corel Visual Intelligence, a data visualization tool.
“We’re trying to deliver tools that allow you to express yourself creatively, do it really easily, and give you good value. WordPerfect remains a big part of that,” said Wood. “We’re going gangbusters on the digital media market. If you look across our portfolio we’ve got the broadest range of content creation tools in the market.”
Kevin Restivo, a senior research analyst with IDC Canada, said Corel has about three per cent of the global market.
Restivo says Corel has been trying to find a better-defined niche for WordPerfect, outside its traditional legal and government strongholds.