Tesco Complete Office - PC

Tesco shoppers have long been able to buy a PC, or even a notebook, along with their weekly shop, so it was only a matter of time before the shopping giant brought out its own range of software.

Tesco Complete Office is exactly what it sets out to be - an affordable substitute for Microsoft Office but at a cut down price. True, there is any number of cheap/free rival packages but how does this one stack up?

For starters, you’ll find the standard array of tools. There is Write, Spreadsheet, Database, Presentation, PhotoAlbum and Draw.

You’ll even find a Tesco launcher bar, which sits on the desktop and allows you to instantly launch programs. Write looks and feels like a simplified Word. So much so, anyone who has used any of the older Word packages will think they’ve gone back in time. The standard features are all present and correct and there is even a spell checker, which is a bit slow but many free tools don’t support this feature, so it’s good to have.

It’s a quick install and only takes up 60MB of hard drive space so isn’t going to clog up your PC with too many unwanted files. There is no product key for the CD but you’ll need to register the product online to stop the reminder message from popping up each time you launch the program and well as to qualify for support.

The main question you’re likely to ask yourself is, for £20 how compatible is it likely to be with Microsoft Office?

The answer at best is varied. Yes, it’s compatible, the same way many of the free packages are, which means you can save to Word, for instance, only in as far as Word 95 or Word 6, which as you’ll no doubt know, aren’t the latest versions, so you’ll lose a degree of formatting when you try and open the files in MS Word. Our tip is to save everything off in basic format, so limiting compatibility issues.

When it comes to the other tools, you’ll find they again have a clean and simply look and are all compatible with earlier versions of MS Office. Presentation works with PowerPoint and generally acts in the same way as the version bundled with MS Office 95, it’s that close. Draw is compatible with adobe, so you can save off designs as a PDF.

For the home user, perhaps PhotoAlbum will be another key tool, as it allows you to manage your image library easily. You can’t edit images, other than the standard orientate but it makes sorting them a lot easier thanks to the Tree directory on the left-hand side of the screen and the image viewer filling the rest of the screen, which allows for slideshow and editing functions.

Verdict

We weren’t expecting too much from Tesco Complete Office and while there are no surprises, it’s a well put together package.

You wouldn’t want to run your business off it as it’s a little too primitive but at £20 there is simply no getting away from the fact this is a great package.

If you don’t need to worry about sharing files with other people on too regular a basis, you can forget Microsoft has its own product as this will more than deal with any homes needs.