Macworld Expo attendees got a chance to view the Beta 2 version of IBM's free Lotus Symphony 3 for Mac, an office suite that the company released earlier this month. Lotus Symphony is based on the Open Office suite, but with additional features unique to IBM. Version 3 includes support for VBA Macros, a feature of Microsoft Office for Windows, but which Microsoft removed from Office 2008 for Mac. (Office 2011 will return macros to Office for Mac.) The Symphony 3 Beta 2 includes support for ODF 1.2 for greater file compatibility with other office suites. Symphony can also open Microsoft Office files.
A major addition to the Open Office code base is a Properties sidebar that appears in all of the suite's applications. Edits to documents made from the Properties sidebar include
Other new features include:
- Embedded audio/video that can add audio and movies directly to slides, word processing documents and spreadsheets
- OLE Objects
- Digital signatures
- Nested tables
Lotus Symphony is available for Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux. IBM also offers a developers toolkit to enable developers and sites to customize the suite. IBM includes Lotus Symphony with Lotus Notes.