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Free Lotus software from IBM for Windows and Linux

General FAQs

The following FAQs deal with the three IBM® Lotus® Symphony™ productivity tools: IBM Lotus Symphony Documents, IBM Lotus Symphony Spreadsheets, and IBM Lotus Symphony Presentations.

How is Lotus Symphony different?

You’re in charge! Lotus Symphony is based on the Open Document Format (ODF) standard-which means you’re not locked into proprietary file formats, software licensing agreements and upgrades. Finally, free tools and freedom of choice!

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Can Lotus Symphony handle my existing files?

With Lotus Symphony, you can import, edit, and save a variety of file formats including Microsoft® Office® files. You can even export your documents to Adobe® Portable Document Format (PDF). The tools work with computers running both Microsoft Windows® and Linux® environments, with support for Apple® Macintosh® to come. Lotus Symphony supports Microsoft Office 97/XP/2000, Microsoft Office 2003 XML, and Microsoft Rich Text Format but does not support the OOXML format used by Microsoft Office 2007.

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What’s the difference between the Lotus Productivity Tools included in Lotus Notes 8 and Lotus Symphony?

The software is based on the same code so they are functionally equivalent to each other. We plan to update the name currently used in IBM Lotus Notes® 8 to reflect the new Lotus Symphony name. In addition, Lotus Notes 8 users have IBM support for the editors as part of the Lotus Notes client support. Lotus Symphony users have support through our moderated web site forums. Lotus Notes customers are invited to actively participate in our online community for Lotus Symphony and take advantage of the gallery for templates and clipart.

  • IBM Lotus Symphony was IBM Productivity Tools
  • Lotus Symphony Documents was Lotus Documents
  • Lotus Symphony Spreadsheets was Lotus Spreadsheets
  • Lotus Symphony Presentations was Lotus Presentations

The Lotus Symphony web site can be reached at

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Which file formats does Lotus Symphony support?

Lotus Symphony can save documents, spreadsheets, and presentations in a variety of file formats. Lotus Symphony cannot save any of the Lotus SmartSuite file types, it only allows you open them. You would need to save the SmartSuite file as another file type such as one of the ODF or Lotus Symphony native formats. In addition, Lotus Symphony can also convert documents, spreadsheets, and presentations types into Adobe® Portable Document Format (PDF) files.

Note: The following file formats are supported by the three IBM Lotus Symphony applications. OASIS (Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards) specifies the ODF (Open Document Format) file standards:

  • Lotus Symphony Documents supports .doc (Microsoft), .dot (Microsoft template), .odt (ODF), .ott (ODF template), .sxw (IBM Lotus Symphony native format), .stw (IBM Lotus Symphony native format template), .lwp (IBM Lotus SmartSuite®), .mwp (IBM Lotus SmartSuite template), .rtf, and .txt formats
  • Lotus Symphony Spreadsheets supports .xls (Microsoft), .xlt (Microsoft template), .ods (ODF), .ots (ODF template), .sxc (IBM Lotus Symphony native format), .stc (IBM Lotus Symphony native format template), .123 (IBM Lotus Smartsuite), .12m (IBM Lotus Smartsuite template), .xml, and .csv formats
  • Lotus Symphony Presentations supports .ppt (Microsoft), .pot (Microsoft template), .odp (ODF), .otp (ODF template), .prz (IBM Lotus Smartsuite), .mas (IBM Lotus Smartsuite look template), .smc (IBM Lotus Smartsuite content template), .sxi (IBM Lotus Symphony native format), and .sti (IBM Lotus Symphony native format template)

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What are the client system requirements?

Lotus Symphony supports platforms for Microsoft Windows and Linux.

Note: Be sure your system meets these client system requirements:

  • Supported Windows® platforms: Windows XP, Windows Vista
  • Supported Linux platforms: SLED 10, RHEL 5
  • At least 750MB of free disk space on Linux and at least 540MB of free disk space on Windows
  • At least 512MB RAM memory
  • Windows installer does not support AMD64 CPU with XP/Vista 64 bit platforms installed

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Why is IBM releasing stand alone IBM Lotus Symphony?

Lotus Symphony is a set of applications for creating, editing, and sharing word processing documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. Designed to handle the majority of tasks that end users perform, Lotus Symphony supports the Open Document Format (ODF) giving organizations the ability to access, use, and maintain their documents over the long term without concern about end of life uncertainties or ongoing software licensing and royalty fees.

Note: For many end users and organizations, Lotus Symphony is a viable alternative to purchasing, deploying, and managing typical vendor-proprietary productivity suites.

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What are the benefits of ODF?

ODF is important and valuable because it provides choice, cost effectiveness, and control over the use of your documents and the intellectual property they contain. ODF enables efficient interchange of information between various parts of an organization and between organizations. By using tools that support ODF, customers are not locked into one particular vendor for their IBM Lotus Symphony. ODF helps provide interoperability and flexibility. Adopting ODF-supporting applications in your business or service means you are not required to purchase an application from a single vendor in order to share and communicate your document data.

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Will all Microsoft Office documents convert exactly?

Not entirely. Some advanced features such as embedded macros are not supported. There may be other conversion issues. Please report any issues in the Issues and Troubleshooting forums at Support Forum

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Do I need any other licenses to use these with my Office documents or to create a PDF?

Lotus Symphony can convert documents, spreadsheets, and presentations types into Adobe® Portable Document Format (PDF) files. No additional licenses are required.

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Can I use macros?

Users can create macros for repeating tasks used when creating or editing IBM Lotus Symphony files. These macros are not exportable to Microsoft Office and Microsoft Office macros cannot be imported into Lotus Symphony.

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Can I open a document encrypted by Microsoft Office in Lotus Symphony?

Currently Lotus Symphony and Microsoft Office use different algorithms for document encryption and decryption. In Microsoft Office XP/2003, some additional encryption algorithms are provided based on CryptoAPI. Lotus Symphony does not support opening or saving encrypted Microsoft Office documents.

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How do I manage templates?

To create, update, and manage templates, choose File > Template Organizer > Launch.. On the Template Organizer dialog box that displays, you can import or remove libraries, create, edit, and delete folders, and import or export templates by choosing the appropriate option from the Actions drop-down menu.

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Can I work with encrypted Open Document Format and Lotus Symphony files?

No. In Lotus Symphony Beta release, you cannot open or save encrypted files, nor can you edit or save encrypted macro libraries.

Free Lotus software from IBM for Windows and Linux