Ooops, IBM Lotus Symphony 3, to give it its correct branding. Anyway, you all know the story with Symphony… spreadsheets, word processing and presentations, compatible with Microsoft Office and the Open Document Formats, it comes with IBM Lotus Notes 8.x (free support for maintained users) and Symphony can be downloaded separately and used free-of-charge.

I’ve been using Symphony 3 on Windows and Mac since the release of beta 2 back in February. It’s a huge improvement over version 1.x – but beta 3 is another leap forward. The Symphony web site lists a few things new to beta 3… ability to customise the toolbars, instant export to PDF, and a new plug-in to make your LotusLive files directly available.

But there’s something else that I love about Symphony, and it’s improved in beta 3. In all aspects Symphony shows a panel on the right-hand side which gives quick and easy context-sensitive access to properties for whatever you’ve selected. It’s an approach that’s so much better than endlessly going in and out of dialog boxes, and makes Symphony very easy to use.

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