Lotus 1-2-3 is an exciting product and is very different than its competitors, but definitely one of the best spreadsheet software programs and the  winner of our TopTenREVIEWS Silver Award.

Lotus 1-2-3 is part of IBM Lotus SmartSuite, with Lotus 1-2-3 being the spreadsheet program that "started it all". The Lotus 1-2-3 interface is refreshing since it’s different than all of the other interfaces.  IBM Lotus SmartSuite is composed of: Lotus 1-2-3; Word Pro, the word processor; Lotus Organizer, a personal information manager; Freelance Graphics; and Approach, a relational database. IBM Lotus 1-2-3 and IBM Lotus Organizer are stand-alone products.

Compatibility
Compare
8.8/10
Excel
Lotus 1-2-3
Ability Office
PlanMaker
Calculate
Resolver One
10
8.8
9
8.8
8.8
7

Lotus 1-2-3 is definitely compatible with Excel products since we had no problems saving spreadsheets in Excel formats nor did we have trouble opening Excel spreadsheets with Lotus 1-2-3. We understand it has taken IBM Lotus a while to make that compatibility available, but they’re definitely available now.

Our concern with compatibility came about when we tried to access the Help section when using Lotus 1-2-3. The link kept taking us to a Windows screen that stated that Lotus 1-2-3 was the problem and said that the resolution was to download a certain piece of software from Microsoft's website. We downloaded it but to no avail. But don't worry. There was so much help for Lotus 1-2-3 on the IBM Lotus website and most of the things you wanted to do in the workspace was exceptionally intuitive.

Features
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10/10
Excel
Lotus 1-2-3
Ability Office
PlanMaker
Calculate
Resolver One
10
10
10
9.8
7.5
2.5

If you’re looking for spreadsheet software, you really need to stop and take a look at IBM Lotus’ SmartLabels. They have made it really easy for those of us who aren’t totally proficient in writing formulae. Instead of having to write the mathematical expressions out, you can simply type in the word “Total” for the sum of a column of numbers. And Total isn’t the only one. There are over a dozen to choose from.

We just loved the fact that the user was able to find such an ample choice of templates to choose from when Lotus 1-2-3 was first accessed. There may be other products that have templates, but Lotus 1-2-3 is a tool that won't force you to look through every nook and cranny of the product to find something that is needed right away.

What we really liked is that Lotus 1-2-3 offers SmartMaster templates that are speech-enabled and voice-activated. This is a feature many users will want to take advantage of.

Lotus 1-2-3 gives users access to tons of @Functions that are a way to program the spreadsheet to give them the information they want calculated. @Functions may take a little while to master, but users who persevere will be able to work miracles with Lotus 1-2-3.

Lotus 1-2-3 has a large number of extremely usable templates to choose from. They were nice-looking and they offered the kind of templates people use on a daily basis. Examples of what they offer for templates are: amortizing a loan, calculating loan payments, creating an expense report, creating an invoice, and filling out a time sheet. No matter what your needs are for using a spreadsheet program, you’ll find yourself using the templates offered by Lotus 1-2-3.

Lotus 1-2-3 makes moving data and entire worksheets very easy. Data can be moved by simply clicking a button. The data will be moved and will show up in the correct cell on the corresponding worksheet. In addition, entire worksheets can also be moved. We found this feature to be intuitive and very effective.

As more and more of our work becomes international, users will greatly enjoy the support for other country’s currencies available with Lotus 1-2-3. The list of countries that have their currency supported goes on and on and we're sure you'll be able to find the currency you need for our spreadsheet conversions.

Formulae
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8.3/10
Excel
Lotus 1-2-3
Ability Office
PlanMaker
Calculate
Resolver One
8.8
8.3
7.5
10
7
10

Even though there were no formula hints, we found Lotus 1-2-3 much easier to use than the other spreadsheet programs. In fact, with their SmartLabels, there was no reason to get formula hints. This is just one reason Lotus 1-2-3 really is better than the other products which all seemed to follow the Excel line of thinking. SmartLabels that are plain English made so much more sense than the complex and confusing formulae the other spreadsheet programs used. You'll really like the options like: Total, Subtotal, Maximum, Average, and a whole lot more plain language commands that will get you the sum, product, or whatever you're looking for.

We also liked the fact that Lotus 1-2-3 enables users to employ Active-X, but most of all, we were impressed with the ability for users to access LotusScript commands. You won't need to be a programmer to write code in Lotus 1-2-3. And each of the LotusScript commands comes with lots of explanation on how to use them.

Rest assured, if you need complex formulae, you'll be able to produce accurate and detailed spreadsheets with Lotus 1-2-3.

Printing and Publishing
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6.3/10
Excel
Lotus 1-2-3
Ability Office
PlanMaker
Calculate
Resolver One
7.5
6.3
10
7.5
7
2.5

We were unable to find evidence that PDFs could be produced with Lotus 1-2-3. Nor did we find any ability to add text art or animations.

Support
Compare
8.8/10
Excel
Lotus 1-2-3
Ability Office
PlanMaker
Calculate
Resolver One
8.8
8.8
5
5
7.5
10

Lotus 1-2-3 is by far the product that is the easiest to get the information you’ll need. Whether you’re looking for help information, extra templates, or information on the latest updates, Lotus 1-2-3 has tons of opportunities to stay updated on the latest. IBM Lotus offers forums, RSS feeds, blogs, and e-mail updates. In addition, IBM offers the IBM Support Assistant and handbooks that are easily accessible from their website.

We also were really impressed by their forum, which was active and used by very many people. The help information we found online was more than adequate, especially since we couldn't even access the help in the product because of the issue with Microsoft.

Lotus 1-2-3 Summary:
8.4/10

If you aren't already an IBM Lotus fan, you will be after purchasing Lotus 1-2-3 and Lotus SmartSuite. The capabilities will blow you away and you'll like the way the product will let you maneuver through crafting complex algorithms, producing nice-looking spreadsheets with templates, and dragging and dropping worksheets, columns, rows and more.

Give Lotus 1-2-3 a chance and you'll become a Lotus aficionado.

 

Lotus 1-2-3 Release 9.8

TopTenREVIEWS no longer updates this category and keeps it here for archiving purposes only. It was last updated in June 2013.