Ability Office

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Ability Office
Developer(s)Ability Software International
Initial releaseSeptember 1996; 27 years ago (1996-09)
Stable release
11[1] Edit this on Wikidata / February 2022
Operating systemMicrosoft Windows
TypeOffice suite

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 11.

Development history[edit]

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 OWL to Microsoft MFC resulting in better performance and the database was re-written to use the 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 8, released September 2018, includes Word Processor, Spreadsheet, Presentation, Database, Photo-editor, has a Microsoft Office 2016 style interface, is compatible with Windows 10 and all Windows versions back to XP, supports ODF import/export, allows switching interfaces between traditional toolbar mode and ribbon style, supports for 4k/hi-res displays, supports OOXML import/export — native support for docx, xlsx, pptx, and is free for personal (non-commercial) use.[2]

OEM versions[edit]

In October 2006, Tesco launched a range of own-brand software[3] that included Tesco Complete Office, a Tesco-branded version of Ability Office.

Corel (Home) Office, Corel Home Suite are based on Ability Office 5.[4]

Version summary[edit]


Product version Year (latest update) Notes
Ability Office 8 2018 (Sep 2018) support ODF import/export and Microsoft Office 2016 style interface
Ability Office 7 2017 (Jun 2017) support for hi-resolution (4k) displays and sports a Microsoft Office 2013 style interface
Ability Office 6 2012 (Mar 2013) OOXML import/export, Microsoft Office 2010 style ribbon interface
Ability Office 5 2008 (Apr 2010) Unicode throughout
Ability Office 4 2004 (Jun 2006) Presentation module added
Ability Office 2002 2002 (Dec 2003) Save to PDF added
Ability Office 2000 2000 (Mar 2001) Image editing module (Photopaint) added
Ability Office 98 1998 (Nov 1999) MFC based, Communication module dropped
Ability for Windows 1995 (Sep 1996) Write, Spreadsheet, Database and Communication modules

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Ability Office Ability Office History". Retrieved 7 January 2024.
  2. ^ Peter, John. "Microsoft Office". Retrieved 18 November 2022.
  3. ^ "Tesco moves into software market". news.bbc.co.uk. 1 October 2006. Retrieved 10 October 2021.
  4. ^ Corel Home Office By Edward Mendelson
  5. ^ "Product History". ability.com. Archived from the original on 31 January 2019. Retrieved 10 October 2021.

External links[edit]