Lotus Symphony

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Lotus Symphony refers to two integrated program packages . The first was developed 1985–1992 for DOS , the second 2007–2012 based on OpenOffice.org for Windows , Linux and macOS . The developer was Lotus , now a division of IBM . In its comparable components, it corresponds to the office applications of other competitors at the time.

On January 27, 2012, IBM announced that it would discontinue the further development of Lotus Symphony and instead support the OpenOffice project .


Lotus Symphony for DOS

Lotus Symphony

Lotus Symphony German.png
Lotus Symphony 2.0 for DOS, functional area BLATT
Basic data

developer Lotus Development Corporation
Current  version 3.0
operating system DOS
programming language C ++
category Office package
License commercially
German speaking Yes
Others Developed between 1985 and 1992, Lotus Jazz was released for the MacintoshTemplate: Infobox software / maintenance / other

The software for DOS, which previously appeared under this name, contained a spreadsheet (derived from Lotus 1-2-3 ) as well as word processing , data transfer and database functions .

Program application and requirements

One goal of this development was for the company Lotus in the 1980s to bring an integrated software package, comparable with AppleWorks , but for the DOS operating system to the market and to add an integrated word processor to the spreadsheet program Lotus 1-2-3, which was well received by the market expand.

Symphony is a DOS program. With the function key Alt + F10 it is possible to switch between the following five so-called "functional areas":

  • BLATT: Spreadsheet
  • TEXT: Word processing
  • MASKE: Database management
  • KOMM: Communication (data transfer with other computers)
  • GRAPH: Graphics (create, display, print business graphics)

Even before Windows, it was possible to split the screen and work side by side in the respective halves of the screen with different functional areas. Changes had an effect on the one hand, e.g. B. the database, right on the other side, z. B. word processing, from. That was one of the interesting things about the software.

The data storage within the program takes place entirely in a spreadsheet-like cell format (file extension: * .wr1). The other modules access it, only the display and the editing functions offered differ from those of a spreadsheet.

Symphony is designed to be able to run completely in the available main memory of a 286 processor of 640  KB , plus the extended memory above 640 KB configured by the driver as expanded memory .

Comparable products

Similar and comparable programs were SmartWare , Microsoft Works , Context MBA , Ashton-Tates Framework , Enable and Ability Office . Lotus Jazz was the parallel development by Lotus for the Apple Macintosh .

Module performance

The program core of the spreadsheet was completely the same as that in Lotus 1-2-3.

Compared to the commonly used word processing programs of that time, such as WordStar 3.3 from Micropro , WordPerfect 4.2 or Microsoft Word 2.0, Symphony's word processor was less versatile, but easier and faster to learn and use.

Compared to the common packages such as Ashton-Tates dBase III , MDBS Knowledgeman and Borland's Paradox 2.0 or Reflex 1.0 databases, the database part was not very powerful and lacked the sophisticated query options of Reflex or the pseudo-relational capabilities of dBase III. However, the database was fast and could be used within the spreadsheet and easily queried (e.g. with VLOOKUP).

In addition, Symphony, like its predecessor Lotus 1-2-3, contained a sufficiently powerful programming language (a so-called macro language ). The decisive factor, however, was the integration of macros: They could be used from the various program modules (word processing, spreadsheet, etc.).

In its time it was one of the few programs that allowed data transmission, e.g. B. from stock exchange data to the PC and subsequent evaluation according to already predetermined or interactively entered criteria allowed and these could be displayed in a spreadsheet, calculated, shown in a business graphic and printed. This was also possible in the unattended batch mode at specified days and times.


Program version Year of publication New function
1.0 1984 from MS-DOS 2.0, 320 KB
1.1 1985 Support for EMS
1.2 1986
2.0 1989 VT100 terminal emulation
2.2 1990 File Linking
Allways technology
3.0 1992

IBM Lotus Symphony

IBM Lotus Symphony
Basic data

developer IBM
Current  version 3.0.1
(January 18, 2012)
operating system Windows , Linux , Mac OS X
programming language C ++
category Office package
License Freeware
(registration optional)
German speaking Yes
Others Development stoppedTemplate: Infobox software / maintenance / other
Lotus Symphony Germany

1995 IBM took over the company Lotus and the program Lotus 1-2-3 became part of Lotus SmartSuite .

The version announced by IBM for 2007 and presented in 2008 is based on OpenOffice.

A beta version has been available since September 18, 2007. In May 2008, IBM introduced a new version of Lotus Symphony. The product is based on OpenOffice.org 1.x, Eclipse RCP , Lotus Expeditor and uses OpenDocument as the standard format . It contains the word processing Documents , the presentation program Presentations and the spreadsheets spreadsheet as sub-applications . IBM Lotus Symphony also uses tabs so that several, even different, documents can be displayed in one window. IBM Lotus Symphony has a contemporary, context-sensitive user interface. Another difference is the file filters for Lotus SmartSuite, which can be used to open and edit documents created with Lotus WordPro , Lotus 1-2-3 , etc. Version 1.1 was released on August 30, 2008, with security updates. Version 1.3, released in June 2009, offers a. Import functions for the file formats from Microsoft Office 2007 .

In October 2010, Lotus Symphony 3.0 appeared, which is based on the OpenOffice.org 3.2 program code and contains the respective extensions from IBM. Lotus Symphony 3.x supports VBA scripts, the specifications of the open document standard ODF 1.2 and the Windows OLE interface. The file filters for the Lotus SmartSuite have been removed.

The software is available free of charge for the Windows , macOS and Linux operating systems.


Program version Beta 1 Beta 2 Beta 3 Beta 4 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 3 beta 1 3 beta 2 3 beta 3 3 beta 4 3.0 3.0.1
Published on Sep 2007 Nov 2007 Dec 2007 Feb 2008 May 2008 Aug 2008 Nov 2008 Jun 2009 Feb 2010 Feb 2010 Jun 2010 Aug 2010 Oct 2010 Jan 2012

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. heise.de: IBM relies on OpenOffice. January 27, 2012, accessed March 7, 2013.
  2. Symphony 2.0 Reference Manual, pp. 2–27; Symphony 2.0 Users Manual, page x (Preface)
  3. heise.de: Lotus' second symphony: A free office package from IBM. September 18, 2007.
  4. symphony.lotus.com: Lotus Symphony Overview ( Memento of the original from December 28, 2008 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / symphony.lotus.com
  5. symphony.lotus.com: IBM Lotus Symphony Release Notes ( Memento of the original from July 10, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / symphony.lotus.com