Ability Office is an office suite developed by Ability Plus Software and distributed and marketed by Ability Software International and which consists of a word processor, spreadsheet, database, modules for presentation and photo or image editing, plus a photo/image organiser and vector line drawing application. The current version (V6) offers a level of compatibility with Microsoft Office, allowing users to create, load from and save both to Microsoft Office 2010 (*.docx etc.) and earlier (*.doc etc.) file formats. In the same way, the photo and image editing application will create, load from and save to Adobe Photoshop (*.psd) file formats, together with other mainstream graphical file types.

Not only can version 6 be downloaded from the Ability website, older versions are also available for download. The most recent version is version 7.

Development history

Development began in 1992 following a decision to replace Ability Plus, an existing DOS based integrated package, and a first release was made in 1995 called Ability for Windows and consisted of modules for word processing, spreadsheet, database and communications (a terminal program).

A second version was released in 1998 called Ability Office 98. The framework for the entire suite was changed from Borland's Object Windows Library to Microsoft Foundation Class Library resulting in better performance and the database was re-written to use the Microsoft Jet Database Engine.

Since then, modules have been added (an image editing module in 2000 and a presentation module in 2004) but the architecture has broadly remained the same with the step to a fully Unicode version being made in 2008. Ability Office is 100% C++, entirely 32-bit and uses the Microsoft Visual C++ 2005 compiler.

New version 7 Word Processor, Spreadsheet, Presentation, Database, Photo-editor. Microsoft Office 2013 style interface ,Switch interfaces between traditional toolbar mode and ribbon style ,Support for 4k/hi-res displays ,Unlimited installs for personal (non-commercial) use ,OOXML import/export — native support for docx, xlsx, pptx Windows 10 compatible — and all Windows versions back to XP. Built with Microsoft Visual Studio 2015 .

OEM versions

In October 2006, Tesco launched a range of own-brand software [2] that included Tesco Complete Office, a Tesco branded version of Ability Office.

Corel (Home) Office, Corel Home Suite are based on Ability Office 5.[3]

Version summary[4]

Product versionYear (latest update)Notes
Ability Office 62012 (March 2013)OOXML import/export, Microsoft Office 2010 style ribbon interface
Ability Office 52008 (Apr 2010)Unicode throughout
Ability Office 42004 (Jun 2006)Presentation module added
Ability Office 20022002 (Dec 2003)Save to PDF added
Ability Office 20002000 (Mar 2001)Image editing module (Photopaint) added
Ability Office 981998 (Nov 1999)MFC based, Communication module dropped
Ability for Windows1995 (Sept 1996)Write, Spreadsheet, Database and Communication modules

See also