Petals Office begun as a side project aiming for the development of a more efficient and simpler user interface. It took its name and form slowly, over a long period of time, as a modern approach to an Office suite, which uses an all-in-one tabbed interface that allows to edit text and spreadsheet documents, as well as to display PDFs, side by side. The program will be free, with a commercial version to ensure its future.

Currently the project is on crowdfunding on Indiegogo hoping to raise the appropriate funds which will ensure its development, estimating that a first stable version can probably be released by the end of 2014.

The first version of this suite will include a document and a spreadsheet editor, alongside of a simple PDF viewer. Support for presentations and database capabilities will be added in later versions.

Creating a new suite

Working with various office suites throughout the years, I always felt there was a need for change on their interface. Being forced to change windows from spreadsheet to document editor, is a typical annoyance, even on modern computers where there is enough screen space to display both windows side by side. No matter which type of document you are working on, many of the editing options are difficult to find, hidden on sub menus and dialogs, or are missing altogether on some suites.

The aim of Petals Office is to solve all such problems through a simple adaptive interface, easy to learn and friendly to the user.

Supported Platforms

The platforms which will be supported are Linux, major distributions such as Debian Fedora and openSUSE plus derivatives, Windows, from XP and up, and finally OS X. The suite will have identical features on those operating systems, there will only be slight customization on its appearance. Support for tablets, such as Android, will start after the completion of the first stable desktop version.

The current code is implemented on C++ and Python, using the wxWidgets toolkit. The objective is to create a slick versatile and fast application suite, whilst keeping the look and feel of each OS. ODFpy is used for the manipulation of OpenDocument files. It has been considered releasing it as open source, but such a decision will only be taken with concern for the future of the program.

Design

The design, although it can't be considered unique these days, is optimized for touch screens, and is build around ease of use, under the KISS principle.

Since newest computers use wide screens, the toolbar was moved to the side, to take advantage of unused space and free the most useful screen real estate, its height. In comparison the Ribbon toolbar, on the latest Microsoft Office layout, is located at the top of your window at expense of your documents.

Having all office applications in the same interface, through different tabs, helps concentrate all -and on- your work. You can view multiple documents of all supported types (text, spreadsheet, pdf etc) side by side, or in a top bottom split layout. On a 24-inch desktop screen, it is possible to view two full A4 pages side by side, while on editing mode.

It also makes cooperation possible, between what would otherwise be different applications. For example you can insert a table in a document, view it in spreadsheet mode, create and edit a chart and move it back into the document, in no time.

The adaptive foldable toolbar comprises of task specific groups of buttons. This interface resembles that of smart-phones and tablets, and helps users with touch screens do their work faster and easier. The grouping helps you find the task quickly and will also be customizable to the user's needs. The groups and their contents adapt, depending on the type of the document you are focused on, so you always have exactly what you need at your disposal.

╬Łot just another Office Suite

What we are trying to accomplish, is not simply to change how your office looks, but to enhance how it works as well. For example special attention has been given on the planning of the spreadsheet part of the program. Adding to what current applications can do, we want to incorporate OpenCL/GPGPU functions, where applicable. Such features are above MS Office compatibility and will probably only run on Petals Office.

Advanced Features

Adaptive toolbar, all the tools you need, available when you need them.
Tabbed Interface, work on different types of documents at the same time.
Cloud integration, save and share your documents (Google Drive, Dropbox ...)
Equation Library, to support students and scientists, both for spreadsheet and documents.

Free with Commercial spin off

As a crowd funded project, Petals office will always be a fully working free program for everyone. No ads, no spying, no locked features will ever be incorporated in it. A spin off commercial version with advanced business features is being planned, in order to ensure its long term viability. Such features include integrated Cloud storage (1 to 5GB per license) with sharing, team projects and speech to text. According to the perk you choose, you will get a respective number of lifetime licenses for the commercial version.

Who are we?

Currently there is only one person behind Petals Office, Gregory Papadopoulos.

Contact Us

Feel free to contact us on Facebook or Twitter, for any question or suggestion.

FAQ / You asked

Q1. Will the program be compatible with doc/docx/xls/xlsx files?
A1. Yes, we will always try to achieve the best compatibility with all major Office suites.

Q2. Will there be a tablet version?
A2. Yes it is planned, after the first release of the main program, since development for tablets differ. It will have a similar interface, adapted to the unique characteristics of each operating system.

Q3. Why a $10,000 perk?
A3. It is common practice for big companies to support projects that have a public benefit. If you own Google, for example, you may want to fund a project that helps both your interests and that of your users.

Q4. When will a beta version be available for download?
A4. Although this is clearly an estimate and depending on the funding, a beta download can be produced within 6-7 months.