Re: SoftMaker FreeOffice 2021 - I am looking for some willing accessibility testers

David Goldfield

It's been some time since installing FreeOffice and so I can't comment on this latest release. However, I can tell you that the LibreOffice installer is completely accessible. Writer offers adequate support with NVDA for word processing as does Calc for composing and reading spreadsheets. I believe some people have reported issues where using NVDA's Read All feature doesn't always read the entire document and in the past the spell checker wasn't providing the level of feedback that would be considered ideal. However, while I have a very current version of LibreOffice installed I haven't checked on the status of these issues in quite a while.

David Goldfield,
Blindness Assistive Technology Specialist
JAWS Certified, 2019
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-----Original Message-----
From: <> On Behalf Of Tyler Spivey via
Sent: Thursday, November 25, 2021 8:16 PM
Subject: Re: [chat] SoftMaker FreeOffice 2021 - I am looking for some willing accessibility testers

This app isn't worth bothering with.
Started TextMaker, and the dialog for choosing the user interface is inaccessible. It reads what's in it, but doesn't read when I tab through it.
So I mouse clicked what I needed to, and that seemed to work.
Again an inaccessible info setting dialog. Got out of that, and was in the text field. NVDA reads it, but using the display model.
This means that there's no specific support in NVDA for the control, and it just screen scrapes. So say all doesn't work, and reading is weird.
For example, the W in Welcome to TextMaker turns into a space when moving by character.
Also all of the dialogs are like that, not just the initial ones.

PlanMaker didn't read at all.

LibreOffice might be better than this. I think NVDA has support for it, but haven't tried it in a long time.

On 11/25/2021 4:54 PM, Brian Vogel wrote:
For a number of years now, I have been recommending SoftMaker
FreeOffice (or the paid version) to those who want to walk away from
Microsoft Office or who just don't want to go Microsoft 365.  Up until
recently, the latest version had been FreeOffice 2018, and prior
testing among the cohort showed pretty quickly that there were
significant accessibility problems.

SoftMaker FreeOffice 2021
vN2FnhoUmAWlHykFDFpxZN%2FKU32IORJo%3D&amp;reserved=0> has just recently been released, and there seem to be some accessibility improvements, but I still suspec there will be some deal breakers, and I don't find those nearly as rapidly as those who are trying to use TextMaker (equivalent of Word), PlanMaker (equivalent of Excel), or Presentations (equivalent of PowerPoint) do.

You still have to choose the classic menu controls layout during
installation for there to be any accessibility, as their ribbons just
don't work and, if anything, may be even worse.  If the choice between
ribbons and classic menu controls remains inaccessible during the
install, that would be unfortunate, too, but I installed this weeks
ago without thinking about having NVDA on at the time, and right now I
don't want to uninstall/reinstall.

If there are any willing "quick and dirty" accessibility testers for
2021 version of SoftMaker FreeOffie, let me know what you're
encountering, good or bad.  I suspect that the final verdict will be
"still inaccessible," but I can't come to that conclusion from my own
quick and dirty testing.

Brian -Windows 10, 64-Bit, Version 21H1, Build 19043

The stoical scheme of supplying our wants by lopping off our desires
is like cutting off our feet when we want shoes.

         ~ Jonathan Swift (1667-1745)

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