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Tesco Complete Office review

Buy one, get one free? Well, every little bit helps

Combining words and pictures is a breeze in Tesco Write, while a full range of toolbars is available, as shown

Our Verdict

A complete cracker at the price


  • Fantastic value for money


  • There has to be one, only we can't find it

TechRadar Verdict

A complete cracker at the price


  • +

    Fantastic value for money


  • -

    There has to be one, only we can't find it

Yes, indeed, it really is 'buy one, get one free', because this office software suite comes with two licenses. This means that you can install the same copy on, for example, your desktop PC and laptop with impunity.

More amazingly, while you normally have to shell out big money for a full office suite, this high-value Tesco item costs just £20. So what exactly do you get for your cash?

There are six separate programs in the suite, kicking off with Write - a word processor that claims full compatibility with Microsoft Word files. Similarly, the spreadsheet, presentation and database applications are each compatible with Microsoft Excel, PowerPoint and Access files, while the remaining two programs include photo album and drawing packages.

As if that doesn't already sound too good to be true, given the purchase price, there's also free online technical support. Surely, there must be a catch? Most of us spend more time in the word-processing element of an office suite than anywhere else, so that's where we'll begin.

After a quick and easy installation, which doesn't even require software registration, Tesco Write launches into an instantly familiar working window, complete with standard and formatting toolbars.

Other toolbars are available on request by right-clicking the main toolbar area, in time-honoured fashion. If you've used almost any modern word-processing program, there's little or no learning involved for all the basic operations.

While the interface is easy, obvious and intuitive, it would be a mistake to think that Tesco Write is lacking in features. As well as a full range of formatting options that include justification options, line spacing, bullet point lists and so on, you can create tables, complete with the ability to merge cells, insert pictures and create borders and shading effects.

On top of this, you get an as-you-type spelling checker, a grammar checker, thesaurus, auto-correct tool and even label creation and a form designer. You can also define and modify paragraph styles and the undo/redo facility is especially impressive, which comes complete with a detailed redo dialog for choosing which exact actions you want to reinstate.

Think of a number

Turning to the spreadsheet, there's a similarly impressive range of features on offer. These include the kind of civilised tools we've come to expect from Excel, such as splitting and freezing ranges of cells, autosum for ranges of cells and so on. Whereas sorting and filtering columns, rows and entire spreadsheets is completely painless, there are some neat additional tricks on offer.

There's also a neat range of data entry validation tools to try and ensure that you put the right facts and figures into your spreadsheets, as well as good graphing and charting options to make your data look its best.

While the photo album and draw programs are really a minor addition to the suite, the Presentation and Database applications are surprisingly powerful and flexible. For example, Presentation comes with a good selection of templates, autoshapes and transition effects, as well as the ability to save files as self-running PowerPoint presentations.

Meanwhile, Database includes single-click form filling and reporting, and even VB macro scripts. On top of that, you can save any of your documents in either the equivalent Microsoft Office file format or as Adobe PDF files for universal consumption. Overall, Tesco Complete Office is something of a miracle at the price.