* Prices may differ from that shown
During my working day, well, maybe not everyday in fact but on several occasions I have to show some form of presentation to people, be it in front of a room full of suited well spoken people or a few individuals who have asked for my opinion or advice, (I know...????)
Anyway, for years I have been using the most popular piece of software to prepare such presentations on, ready for them to be shown with a certain style and charisma that will not just show my wares but also keep the audience enthralled as to what they are watching.
This most popular piece of software is from a little computer firm called Microsoft, you may have heard of them, with the software I have always relied on being the Microsoft Office which has what is known as 'powerpoint' presentation software built in.
Unfortunately Microsoft don't exactly give this software away, although they do add it to some PC's at a lower than normal price and that then whacks up the cost of the PC. But if you get a PC without the MS office software pre-installed then you're going to have to dig deep into your pocket and find at least £80 for the bog standard software, or, if you want the lot then you're talking spending a few hundred quid for the privilege, and that's after spending all your money on that PC.
So, if you need to give presentation using a powerpoint system then you're pretty much stuck with having to find a PC with MS office installed or buying the software separately.
Or so Microsoft would have you think that anyway...
But they are wrong.
Because these days there are other pieces of software on the market which cost a lot less than the hundreds of pounds than MS steal from you, in fact there are a few pieces of software that are actually giving there wares away... yes, for nothing, asking you to pay absolutely zero for a very similar piece of software to MS office which will help you with not just powerpoint presentation, but spreadsheets, writing. Drawing and more, all for nothing, zero, gratis, free.
This piece of software goes by the name of OpenOffice.org and can be downloaded straight from the web in a matter of minutes, then, with a few clicks of your mouse, and a little bit of patience, you'll have a completely free piece of software that can really give MS a wake up call.
To get this program you simply download it from online, (where else), which takes a few minutes with it being about 150MB in size, although the time it takes depends on download speeds of course.
Once downloaded you then have to install it onto your hard drive, which again take a matter of minutes, but once on and installed you're ready to get going, and all without the hefty cost that MS office demands.
And don't worry, it works with most modern MS OS, from XP and upwards, including also a MAC version.
So, once installed you simply click on the program and are presented with the opening page. This page is different on each version of Open Office but they are all basically the same.
The opening page you are presented with gives you these option...
* Text document... which is MS word/works and lets you write what ever you want ot write in more or less the same methods as MS, allowing you to change text size, colour, formation and more.
* Spreadsheet... is a standard spreadsheet formation, which is on par with MS excel and works spreadsheet, letting you organise such things as your finances and more.
* Presentation... this is the one that rivals MS office powerpoint, allowing you to make splendid presentation with almost the same style as on MS.
* Drawing... lets you make some rather interesting drawings, including some simple 3D images
* Database... lets you create and save data base, either online or on your PC
* Formula... lets you make some rather interesting, and for me some very confusing formula, which could come in handy for scientist and school teacher maybe.
Note: the last three on the list are not things I use that often but have tried, although I couldn't get my head around the Formula one which I will have to get back on and figure it out.
The first three options I tend to use quite a bit, especially the presentation option which really does offer almost as much as MS powerpoint and will work along side powerpoint as well, which is great for using on PC's with MS office and those running Open Office.
I won't go into how each option works as this would take up too much space and you would soon become bored with what I'm saying, plus the fact I'd get a bit confused in actually trying to explain what's what as I find it easier to actually get stuck into such programs rather that trying to explain how they work.
But I will say that, for anyone that has previously used one of the Microsoft Office programs, Open Office is pretty much as easy to run as MS, once you've got used to how it looks and what goes where. Although you initially have to do the figuring out with MS programs too.
The Spreadsheet method works the same way. Input the formulas such as numbers into one place, the odd = in other places, making all your figures comes together to give you the correct formula at the end, making your answers look good. Together with the usual options of being able to print off a graph of many kinds, such as pie charts, to show off what you can do.
And there's the main one I use most often, which is the presentation
In fact, when in a presentation mode, or any of the mode come to think of it, you'd never know that you'd created this using the free, and openly available Open Office instead of the costly Microsoft Office.
What more can I say about this cracking free software?
Well, it's one of those things that you need to give it a go so you can understand why this free software is becoming more and more popular. But get it now as one day they may start charging for it... as they do with most things these days. The more popular the more they charge.
A few people I know that have tried this say it does take a bit of getting used too, which I totally agree with, but once I'd done a few test pieces on it I realised that it is in fact as easy to use as the expensive one, even if it doesn't quite have everything that the MS one has. But as Open Office cost nothing to run I think I can live with missing a few "none essential" tools that MS offers compared to this free bit of software.
In all, if you want to get across a presentation, maybe create a fine looking spreadsheet, or even just want to use MS office equipment without paying MS office prices, then this is a cert to look at.
Give it a try. You won't regret it.
And if you don't like it what have you got to lose? Nothing apart from a bit of time you spent trying it out.
If you do want to uninstall it you simply do so as it isn't one of those nasty programs that are so hard to get off your PC that it is easier to re-set it to the factory setting. This un-installs as easy as it installed. Without taking anything else of your PC as it goes.
Although once you've used it you probably won't want to un-install it.
When I bought my laptop it came with a free trial of Microsoft Office. When the trial was over I grudged the thought of paying money to purchase a licence key. So on the advice of a friend I decided to give OpenOffice.org a try.
OpenOffice.org 3 is free open-source office software suite which comes with word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, graphics, databases and more. It is available in a variety of languages and works on most operating systems.
Installation is simple and you can also download a variety of extensions giving you loads more features to play around with, inc the ability to create PDF files.
The interface is similar to Microsoft Office 2003 so is easy to get used to. It supports many different file types including Microsoft Word and Excel, so you don't need to worry about opening Microsoft files (excl Publisher files).
One of the benifits of open source software is the fact that anyone can suggest improvements and bug fixes. This helps strengthen the stability of the software.
And it's free, what more do you want?
Please note that this office suite is practically five products in one, so this review is likely to be quite long. For that reason I'll be adopting more of a structured review style, you could say. I just thought I'd give you a heads-up about the headings...
If you write reviews, type up essays for work or school (or enjoyment...), or occasionally send out one of those long emails to far-away relatives, then the chances are that you use either Microsoft Office or OpenOffice.org (AKA OOo - ooooh!). If at this point you're thinking to yourself, 'No, I use Notepad', then I'm very sorry for you. Your pain need last no longer. If you're just thinking, 'yes, I use Microsoft Office, what are you trying to say?', then I'm trying to say that there's an alternative out there! Not your everyday alternative either; it's got it all (pretty much), it's well and truly professional, and the main selling point: well, that's just it, they're not selling it - they're giving it away for free. Open for all, it's Open Office everybody!
OOo claims to be the leading open-source (free) office software suite. It's not just your core suite either; could say it comes with its own en suite if anything. As well as software for word processing, spreadsheets and presentations, it also includes programmes for graphics and databases. It's completely free: within the package you get all the individual programmes with absolutely no limitations or any type of trial period. The most that OpenOffice will ever do is ask you to donate upon downloading, which is a more than reasonable request considering what they're offering. Interested? Best check you fit the bill first.
OpenOffice is superb in the respect that it is so widely available and open for all users. To be able to fulfil this statement of equality they must cater for all major operating systems; they do. Windows, Mac and Linux are all supported, as well as Solaris. You should check the version requirements before attempting to install (or bothering to download), as in some cases it is only the newer versions that are covered. Saying that, I was surprised to see that Windows 7 is not yet supported, and whilst I'm sure that this is a working progress it was still an unpleasant surprise. Java is also required, but if you've not got it or are outdated then Open Office will do the honours of setting it up for you. You'll need to give up 650mb for default install on a Windows machine, though after installation and removal of temporary files this should go down to about 450mb. Mac users will be pleased to see that they require much less all together, having to sacrifice just 400mb. Yeah, yeah, congratulations. Anyway, hopefully it's good news so far, so on with installation! That is, hopefully.
//Downloading and Installation//
Before you can install you will have get a chunky 150mb installation file on your computer. You can download this directly from the OpenOffice website, which will take a good few minutes depending on your Internet connection. Alternatively, you can get a CD from one of Open Office's external distributors. This will however, set you back about £6 including delivery; so if you can afford to wait for the download, then you needn't afford the cost of that CD.
Installation is simple but takes, understandably, a bit longer than your everyday piece of freeware. You'll notice that OpenOffice will ask where it can unpack its contents; that's basically put its toolbox somewhere whilst it's setting up for you. You'll be able to delete (or remove, as it were) this afterwards. Unpacking takes about thirty seconds - there's lots of tools, you see. You'll be asked for a user name, but apart from that it's all rather similar to any other installation. The set-up process itself takes about a minute, perhaps slightly longer depending on your machine. Upon completion you'll be met with a friendly online 'thank you' from OpenOffice, and a very brief introduction to the service as a whole. That's nice, isn't it? Back to the set-up wizard and it's just a case of hitting 'finish', upon which the programme will not automatically run. OpenOffice will, however, kindly put an icon on your desktop without an option. I'm picky, so this annoys me, though if they're not going to launch automatically from finish then I suppose this is useful for getting you on your way. So, on your way!
Opening the OpenOffice link will take you to the 'Home Page' of the suite if you like, allowing you to easily choose from any of the six programmes as well as being able to access other options. You may find that initial load-up is quite slow; I say slow, rather just not quite as quick as Microsoft Office. Whilst this again, depends on your machine, I do find Office to be quicker at loading from 'dead' (first load-up). The layout of this main interface is kept simple, which is good, as I really would be put off if they were to try to go too crazy with the colour scheme or graphics. As it is, you'll be met with a pleasant white/blue colour scheme, and a rather elaborate office-style graphic.
By default you'll also have a 'Quickstarter' that launches upon your computer's load-up. This speeds up the loading process, though will undoubtedly slow down start-up speeds for your computer overall, so it's up to you whether you stick with it. I don't, personally. If you'd like to stop OpenOffice from inviting itself in to your computer on load-up then you can right-click on the icon in your system tray, and untick the 'Load OpenOffice.org 3.2 Quickstarter'. Alternatively, head into the options within the programme itself.
So you're in, let's see just what you've got in this package of wonders!
Ah, it's good to be back in OOo; I had to use Wordpad whilst I reinstalled OOo for this review! It's nice to be home. Why? Simply, because it is such quality. Now, if we're to compare it to Microsoft Word for instance, then there really is very little in it, apart from one very noticeable difference. OpenOffice looks like Word 2003; very much not like 2007, let alone the wonders that are probably forthcoming in the new 2010 version. It's a grey/silver design, and it's just not attractive. If you can see through this, however, then you'll notice very little that's lacking.
I won't run through the features because all that you'd expect to find in a good word processor is present. It's more a case of accustoming yourself to the perhaps unfamiliar design and layout, as some features may be tidied away differently to Microsoft Word. Icons along the toolbars are clear and very user-friendly, illustrating what they are used for, with supporting mouse-over text immediately displayed if you're unsure. You also have easily customisable page viewing settings towards the bottom right, with page form and a zoom scroller both effective tools.
It's those extras that make the difference though, and that's what you miss out on here. Image formatting is minimal in terms of effects, whilst ClipArt is non-existent. The usability factor is also something that lacks somewhat in OOo, with basic accessibility frustrating at times. For example, heading into the 'Gallery' of repulsive and useless graphics, you want to close it quickly before throwing up. However, there's no close button! It's ridiculous; you have head back into Tools, and select 'Gallery' once more to bid it good riddance. Annoying, to say the least.
It's quite a customisable product though, with toolbar adjustment readily available to users. It's a relatively easy process, simply requiring you to pick the toolbar to customise, then the feature you wish to add. The features are categorised and some can take a while to find. I managed to add 'Word Count' (it's not in screen by default, as with Word) within about a minute of searching - it's a bit of trial and error really, as the categories aren't all that clear. Needless to say, customisability is certainly a plus.
This is your 'Excel' (Microsoft Office's equivalent) of OpenOffice. Does it excel? Yes. Yes it does. In case you don't know, Calc/Excel is basically spreadsheet software in which you can record data in various means and use formulae to calculate things that no human brain could ever possibly dream about working out.
Once again lacking the cutting edge finish and design that Excel boasts, Calc still looks the part with its array of features filed along the top toolbar, and clear main body. It works even more similarly to Excel than Writer does against Word. It's incredibly easy to get to grips with for users that have used spreadsheets before, whilst the Help section is a good reference for those that may be unfamiliar with its layout.
You may be thinking that this is completely pointless for you as you hate Maths, don't go to school and simply have no need for this sort of software. There's loads of potential though, from managing finances to making sure you're getting paid correctly at work! Using basic formulae I was easily able to keep a record of the hours I was doing at work to calculate how much I should be getting paid against how much I was getting paid. Let me say now, this software has actually earned me money! I didn't even pay for it. Splendid.
Does it really match up to Excel though? On the most part, yes. All your standard features are there, including freeze panes for easier navigation through worksheets, all your basic text and cell formatting; everything you'd expect to be present is indeed, in attendance. The graphs aren't that bad either. Of course, they don't quite meet the standard of Microsoft's glossy and expansive charts that can actually sometimes be mistaken for works of art. However, they represent the data clearly and as you would like it to, so you really can't complain.
No actually, this isn't a badly worded conclusion. Not just yet, anyway. This is the presentation programme. Unfortunately, this is where the lack of a cost becomes somewhat more noticeable.
Before you can do anything you run into a wizard, who is here to help you. Unfortunately he has little to offer, and you'd be forgiven for doing your best to completely disregard him in every way. Firstly, you'll be asked how you wish to create your presentation; you choose from an empty presentation, or making one from template. Should you head into templates you may get confused. That is because there are two templates to choose from. Looking at them (briefly, very briefly), I'd say he'd have been just as effective asking you if you were male or female. There is hope, however! A quick Google search should find you an online templates saviour, and I found I was quickly able to download and put a selected template into place. Phew.
Next step is backgrounds. Do not view them, and select next - trust me on this one. Thirdly and finally we have something beneficial, which is slide transition settings. From here you can quickly set up effects to happen when slides advance, as well as sorting out timings. I can't complain about the effects, there's plenty available and there's only a certain amount of eccentricity that you can add to a transition. Not that they'd go that far anyway.
Hit 'Create' and you'll be met with a much finer looking interface. It's to be admired, actually. Your right-hand sidebar provides convenient access to slide layouts, table designs, as well as editing slide transitions and setting up custom animation for your slide elements. These animation options are versatile and have a good range available, showing that OOo are certainly keeping up with PowerPoint (that's Microsoft's version) in some respects.
I have to say that if you manage to sort out those templates from the off then there's little you can go wrong with using this programme. You might not have thought it initially, but you may actually impress with Impress! Sorry. Moving on...
For me, this is where it gets a little confusing. I don't use this feature, but had a mess around with it and did a little research into what exactly it offered. I've found that it's basically offering what Word incorporate into their programme anyway; that's development of things like flow charts and diagrams, and editing of graphics. OpenOffice actually claim that 'a Draw image is worth a thousand words'. Wow.
However, maybe I shouldn't have been so assumptive. It's got some useful tools laid out for you, but I think it's just a case of experimenting until you get the hand of it. There's no wizard present here (he must have got upset with me for rejecting him earlier...), so you're on your own. You can develop some useful diagrams though, with a range of tools on toolbars at the top and bottom of the interface to get you on your way.
You can also edit graphics to a certain degree, but by no means should it be treated like a photo manager. I did come across a couple of interesting effects though, including 'convert to polygon', which resulted in quite an impressive finished product.
Whilst I'd liked to have seen some of these features more readily available within the 'Writer', it's still a useful little programme, and anything you do develop can be easily passed across to your other documents, since it's all in the same package. Can't beat convenience.
I'm really not an avid user of this part of product, since I simply have no use for it at all. I've used Microsoft's 'Access' before though, so I know the sort of standard that is being set. Once again, it's good news!
Our wizard is back, but he must still be upset because he's not actually very useful at all to begin with, providing you with just a couple of options that weren't much help at all, merely starters. He does pop back whilst you're using the programme though, and is significantly more assisting in guiding you on your way.
The programme itself provides all the key features to database software, and rivals Access well right up until you get to what can be quite important - the forms. The designs are inevitably awful and also rather limited. I did a quick search on Google once more, in hope that another blessed person had kindly uploaded something more easy on the eye. However, these templates seem a little harder to get hold of.
My advice is that if you need this software for databasing then go for it. However; if you need to produce some professional looking reports from these databases, then certainly don't count on Base to do it for you.
//Other bits and bobs//
As if those five programmes weren't enough, OOo offers yet more services within its package of good will. One other programme on offer is 'Math'. This may initially look like a dream piece of software for anyone looking to offload their ridiculously complex equations to a piece of software that can do it for you. Unfortunately it is not that. Rather, it is used as an equation editor for documents, a useful feature if you happen to be in this department. On trying it out however, I found it difficult to actually transfer the finished formula to a document, again highlighting some of the usability issues within this package.
Other useful features included in the package include the ability to create labels and business cards. These use similar tools to those in the 'Draw' programme, and whilst being rather simple, still act as a useful tool for simple and quick development. There are also a growing number of extensions being developed for OOo, which you should look into depending on what it is you use software like this for.
//Saving and File Formats//
You may be sceptical to venture into this new office suite because you already have so many documents developed in Microsoft Word or Excel etc., that you still need to access on a regular basis. This isn't a problem though, as OOo handles formats well, especially since the release of its latest version. As well as supporting the latest Microsoft file formats (such as docx, xlsx etc.), it also caters for other recognised formats such as being able to export to PDF and HTML. Being constructed differently however, you may find that files developed in Microsoft Office that include templates and graphics don't transfer over quite so smoothly as documents which simply include text. This is understandable, but still something that I think could do with being worked on.
By default Open Office will save files in its own format, ODT. I don't use this format unless I need to password protect files (which can only be done in ODT), and opt to keep to the classic Microsoft Office format for now (doc, xls etc.). You can easily alter the default by heading into the options, from which you can change other defaults such as the font. Got to love Tahoma.
Being such a big package you wouldn't be surprised to hear that this likes to eat up your memory for fun. You would be surprised however, to be informed that it doesn't. Indeed, it doesn't. Most of the time the memory usage should be limited to below 50k, but it really does depend on usage. I'm currently peaking 100k (that is, OOo is peaking 100k - I've not suddenly started climbing a big mountain, don't worry), but that is largely down to the fact that I've been using each element of this package in the space of about three hours!
In terms of updating, OOo will check by default on a weekly basis for any updates. You'll see a download icon towards the top right-hand corner of the interface when any updates are available. I've found that when trying to update manually however, it quite often fails, so perhaps it's better to leave it to do it its own way.
Overall, I think this package is quite remarkable really. You might be shocked reading that statement after I've slated it so much, but you really do have to consider the fact that this is absolutely free. Microsoft's core package alone will set you back in the region of £50, and there's only 3 or 4 products within that. Of course, you pay extra for quality in most cases and indeed, that is clearly evident in some aspects of OpenOffice. However, you can't help but admire the quality of this suite a lot of the time. It's full of, at the very least, the basic elements that will get you on your way with any document. Each programme within the package seems capable of supporting another in some shape or form, and they generally coincide well. This is a package that continues to impress me, and I really do recommend you to give it a try-out, especially if you're considering a purchase of Microsoft Office. To put it simply: never has an open-source product been of such depth, and such quality.
Why would you spend so much money on Microsoft Word when there's this alternative? You get almost as good a programme for absolutely free. Although it is not quite as good as the expensive Microsoft alternative, as it does not have all the features, it is definitely worth it due to the price. It has everything I need to do schoolwork, so unless you're very serious about the quality of your document programmes, OpenOffice is definitely a good choice. You can even save your files as Microsoft document (except Publisher), so you can open them on Microsoft. You also get all the Microsoft fonts. The only problems I have had are that on the Powerpoint alternative, when I crop a picture and try to save it, the bits I have cropped off come back, and also you cannot save Drawing files as Publisher, but besides these slight problems, it's so much better value for money! It is slightly different, but once you get the hang of it, it's fantastic.
OpenOffice, or Open Office.org as the patent company will have you call it, is a microsoft Office alternative, however I expect most of you already know that. The stand out feature, and likely the only reason you will ever choose this over MS's product, is the simple fact of the software being free.
But how does it compaare to MS office? Well it offers all the same program functionality, all be it with different names, 'Writer' does the same job as MS Word, Calc is OpenOffice's version of Excel, and there are substitutes for all of MS's products, including Powerpoint, Access, and even Paint, however there is no e-mail program to contend with 'outlook' however there are seperate e-mail programs which can rival this.
Ok so it has that, but does it can't possibly do them aswell as Microsoft surely? Well that can be a matter of opinion, In my use of Openoffice, I have found very little problems with it, it seems to do everything that office does, infact I would say that Openoffice have taken just about everything from office and put it into their product.
That is what this program boils down to though, a copy of MS office, however when considering that to purchase a home version of office is usually around the £50 mark, one must ask yourself what is the advantage of forking out your cash when you can get this free alternative? Where does openoffice go wrong?
Well The first thing you notice when usng OO for the first time is that it doesn't have that modern, almost artistic look to it that MS has with their product, however you're not going to hand over £50 to MS purely because the menu's look prettier are you? And using open office does make you have the nostalgic feeling of being back in the nineties, if you like that feeling.
So why is it that we're not all showing where MS to shove our hard earned cash? Well it's the same reason you still cling to that 20 year old wool sweater, it's comfortable, your used to it and you may even have grown fond of it. The idea of switching out the MS product you've been writing your documents and creating your presentations on for years, to something new just to save a quick buck may make you seem uneasy or even insecure. And even though Openoffice does try it's level best to make the transition as simple as possible, it keeps the menu layout the same as MS, and has the same toolbars set as default, not everything can be the same, and for legal reasons I assume, it has to use different names for some of the options, which makes it all the more confusing.
Minor quibbles when compared to the money saved however, especially if you are nothing more than a casual user, but even if you are using it for your small business I would recommend using it, as it just doesn't seem to be worth the money purchasing office for what little more you get from it. Of particular importance to note if you run a small business where you have more than one person using it at the same time, as then you have to buy several licenses which racks the cost up even more.
So please follow the example set by the Singapore MoD and the French Gendarmes and start using Openoffice(.org) in your home/business.
if your computer or laptop does not come with microsoft office already installed then i bet you will be a bit angry about paying £50 just to get it, then get open office, a completley free application that is simulation of office, you can still write presentations and do your usual stuff and print your work off.
there are some simularaties between the two but i would still say the official office is better but for absolutley nothing this is really good value for money, well value for nothing really.
you can even free draw on it with the draw feature which can be fun.
i use it for work, presentations and just typing something up, and it easily does the job at ease.
just type it in on google and im sure it will be the top one that appears and then you can install it off of that page.
great free product
I'm a miserable sod, so when I found out my laptop didn't come with any of the Microsoft Office or Microsoft Works (yeah what an oxymoron) suites I decided to do a quick ask around for free alternatives. Open Office got more than it's share of votes, so it seemed like the most popular, if not the out out best choice. So googled "Open Office" and finally found the link to download it from OpenOffice.Suite-org.com and had a very brisk play about on the things I wouldn't use much of. The spreadsheets, databases and presentation software seemed easy enough to work when remembering how it worked on powerpoint, though these 3 programs appeal to me as much as a night in with Susan Boyle (that poor woman's gonna be the butt of so many cheap shots like that one). It was really the word processing software I needed (originally to do a CV).
So with that being said you could consider this more of a review of the Open Office Word Processor (and as that's what most normal folk will be using anyway...). The layout (as actually with all the programs in the package) looks similar to the Windows equivalent, the same same range of things at the top for alignment, bold etc, and the same drop downs from file, edit, view and the rest. It was almost like it was Microsoft Word, it was the same but different, it's hard to put your finger on how it's different but it is different.
Whilst writing you're work (as you would do on a word processor) you have no problems at all messing about and manipulating words on the whole, though there has been a few weird moments. Such as when trying to type "NWO" and pressing space it turned it into "now". The NWO was a wrestling thing from a game I was writing about so this was slightly annoying especially as it won't auto-correct things like "wrestlign" which would actually be helpful. I think it can be set to turn them into the real words but it's too much hassle to find out when it's so easy to correct. The other annoying feature (and one in word too) is it wants to reformat things with numbers in a list (such as ingredients) and indent them. Why do they even bother?
However other than them 2 things the program worked brilliantly, it as swift to react, easy to use and had seemingly all the usual functions needed of a word processor. Though some folk will look deeper and perhaps say it's missing this or that at some advanced level and in fact that's probably true through the whole open office experience, though the thing is, it's hard to really care about functions I personally don't use being absent from a free alternative.
So for you students needing some thing to do work one, or for you budding writers to use because notepads not that good, or for some one with a business who's cutting costs, Open Office is ideal, in fact for anyone using any of the "office" applications, this will just as good, and save you a bundle. This in fact makes it difficult to see why, other than the name, people keep going back to Microsoft with enough money to spend on a day out to upgrade every few years.
Open Office is a free alternative produced by Sun Microsystems to rival the Microsoft Office package.
The Open Office package is available in 119 different languages and is currently on version 3.1.1. The Open Office package offers 6 different programs, the 2 most used are Base (i.e a database package) and Writer (a word processing program).
It is available to download for free at www.openoffice.org
My personal experience of Open Office is relatively good, the layout of the Writer is fairly similar to that of Word '97 and there is everything included which you would expect there to be. One bonus I do find is that when it comes to saving your work, you can choose how the file is saved, for example you can save as a word '97 document if the person you are trying to show it / present it to only has Microsoft Word '97 or can choose to send it as a word '07 file if they have the newer version. It is also possible to save the documents as pdf files for presentations and coursework submissions (I find this one especially useful being a uni student).
I don't have that much first hand experience with the other software programs but I do know some people who have used the others, most common is the Database program, who have again nothing but praise for it. In that it is also possible to save in Microsoft Access format so you can send or load it up on a Work computer.
Overall considering this is free I would deffinately have this over paying for the Microsoft Office package as it has all the same features and can save in lots of different formatss.
The layout and formatting of documents can sometimes be a bit frustrating and it has lost my work a few times but I think this is more bad luck than anything else.
OpenOffice lets us do what we have been doing all along - getting our word processing software for free - only this time it is legal and we don't have to mess around with crack programs and worry about viruses.
The programs themselves that come in the package perform the same functions as those in the Microsoft suite, but are trimmed down and are easier to use.
The writing tool especially, which I use every day, mirrors the Microsoft Word of 1998 when it was easy to use and didn't make files like .docx which no one without the newest software can use.
The only thing with open office is that it always prefers its own file format - the .odt. What you need to do when working with other people is make sure that you change the file format to .doc, so they can read it. If you work in a job where you have to make many different document files each day, this can be tedious, but otherwise it is good.
One of the best things about Open Office is that it is open source and we know lots of people are always looking at the code and fixing it up. This makes me feel safe in saying that it is very reliable. I know that my work will always be there when I need it.
If you switch to OpenOffice, make sure you familiarize yourself with it before doing away with the other software, because as we all know - things can and do go wrong with computers...
Review: Open Office:
1) brief description:
Open Office is a free version and offers the same features like Microsoft Office 2007.The latest version of Open Office can be downloaded at www.openoffice.org and the installation package supports nearly every operating system.You also find additional Information and Tutorials for Open Office on their website.
1.1.) Open Office Writer:
Open Office Writer offers exactly the equal functions like Microsoft Office Word.You can create texts in all possible fonts, sizes and variations, you can insert tables and pictures and much more. This program also offers spell checking and you can also print your documents directly.Besides that you are able to safe your document in the Microsoft Word format (.doc), if you want to send it to one of your friends.
1.2.) Open Office Calc:
Open Office Calc is the Excel Program of the Open Office Suite. The design and functions are similar to the Microsoft excel.You can create all kind of tables like assembly and disassemble costs and you are also able to format already created tables.When you safe your project you can choose to safe it in the Open Office format or you can choose the Microsoft Excel format (.xls)
1.3.) Open Office Impress:
Open Office Impress is the presentation software of the Open Office Suit.It has the same design and also offers the same functions like the Power Point version of Microsoft Office.You can create texts , pictures, tables, graphics and diagrams for your presentation. You also can add some effects to your sideshow.Once your presentation is finished you can show it to your friends on the computer or you can present it on an overhead projector.
1.4.) Open Office Draw and Math:
These are to other great programs of the Open Office Suit. Open Office Draw is a drawing program like paint and with Open Office Math you can create formulas.
2.) personal opinion:
Open Office is a marvelous replacement for expensive Microsoft Office package. It offers the same achievements and functions and is just as easy to use as the Microsoft Office Suite.Since you are able to save your documents in the same format like the Microsoft Office documents you are also able to use them on a other computer. Great Product and I highly recommend it.
Some time ago I found the need to acquire an "office suite" of software for my personal computer. Yes, Microsoft Windows bundles some necessities in such as WordPad, Calculator and Paint but these applications offer little by the way of functionality to the end user. Their use is very simple and does not boast a significant amount of creativity or control when wanting or needing to use a certain function. I was at a standstill and browsed the Internet for what could be at my disposal. The first choice for the majority of Microsoft Windows users would be the native "Microsoft Office" package which includes different applications under different titles. I was after a complete "Professional" package but wasn't inclined to spend in excess of £100.00 for it. That is when I found OpenOffice.
OpenOffice is a complete and fully functional office suite package which includes a word processor ("Writer"), database software ("Base"), spreadsheet software ("Calc"), presentation software ("Impress"), a mathematics tool ("Math") and a graphics manipulation tool ("Draw"). It is comparable to the "Microsoft Office Professional" package and boasts a similar layout to the aforementioned software. One definite "selling" feature of this suite is that it is compatible with any of Microsoft's programs; for example, a presentation completed in Microsoft PowerPoint would be readable and editable under OpenOffice Impress and vice versa.
I find OpenOffice to be a very user friendly product. As stated before, the layout is very similar to the Microsoft Office suite and those familiar with it would be able to operate OpenOffice with ease. There are some obvious differences but these are only minor wording issues that are quickly worked around as and when required; "WordArt" in Microsoft Word is known as "Fontwork" in OpenOffice's Writer to name an example. The basic functionality of the software is identical and shows nothing by the way of requiring a learning curve to adapt to the package.
OpenOffice is frequently updated with new features and additions. Access to these updates, however, is difficult and requires the user to download the full package when making an upgrade to a newer version. For those with an internet service imposed download limit, the package weighs in at 127.00 MB and it may not be wise to frequently update the software. At the time of writing this, I used version 2.4.0 (April 2008) and the current version is 3.0.1 so I'm a bit out of date. Generally speaking, though, an office suite isn't something which requires frequent updating unless one chooses to do so for making use of the latest features and functions.
I find reliability of the product to be flawless and shows nothing by the way of requiring any further tweaking beyond what is continually updated to the package. I have successfully been able to transfer word processed documents from OpenOffice Writer to Microsoft Word with error less ease. OpenOffice does show some signs of requiring a more recent computer for smooth operation as there is a longer loading time when opening applications in version 2.4.0, but this is only a minor flaw and may have been corrected as of the more recent versions.
Installation is a simple graphical interface and executes perfectly each time. The installer does leave behind traces of "installation files" in a similarly marked folder which can simply be deleted by the user after a successful installation of the office suite.
There is little to criticize in OpenOffice and it's harder still to complain when the price tag is zero. For something that is fully compatible with the Microsoft equivalents, I see no reason in my near future why I will be purchasing a software suite.
I am always in favor of open source applications. First of all they allow users (programmers) to learn about all types of programming languages, software design, project management, etc.
Secondly, these projects allow users with very low resources to have access to quality software free of charge.
finally, it helps the market since it introduces a low cost product with good capabilities and forces proprietary software makers to exceed themselves.
Now on to a more detailed review on open office. Open office is a office productivity suite which includes a word processing software (writer), a spreadsheet application (calc), a database application (Base), a slideshow application amongst other applications.
Generally, the applications are quite good. writer allows users to create most common day documents without hassle and with good quality. Nonetheless, writer does not include some options that most Microsoft word users take for granted, such as wordart and smartart.
Calc is also quite decent. It is almost a carbon copy of Microsoft excel hence almost all excel users should feel comfortable with calc.
Base uses a HSQL database engine to manage the database. Rumors are that the next version shall contain a MySQL engine instead, which wold be very usefull since it should increase performance.
Overall, all applications are decent replacements of their microsoft office counterparts. More advanced users might notice the absence of one or two features but this should not be the case of most.
One area in which I noticed that openoffice was seriously lacking is the integration between applications. I notices this when trying to interact between base and calc, hence users that require high interactivity between applications should investigate this matter in depth before making the change.
Once again, congrats to the openoffice team for such a great application. Hope to see many new features in the next version
Whatever operating system you are running, you are faced with one truth - Microsoft Office is the industry standard for word processing, spreadsheets and presentations. It's a truth - and, in my opinion, a sad one.
The reasons for my view are twofold. Firstly, it is massively expensive and that means that ordinary real people will stretch themselves to get it. Secondly, it really is not all that good.
Don't get me wrong, it's not bad but, by the same token, it's not great and it is certainly questionable whether Microsoft Office offers particularly good value for money.
But, given that it is the standard, you do not have any choice, do you? Well, you do!
Open Office is a great triumph of open source software. It is visually remarkably similar to MS Office. It can deal with the same documents and files. It is stable. It works. Oh and it's free.
There very is little point in telling you too much about Open Office - if you have used MS Office, you will be so familiar with it that you will be amazed at how close it is. Nothing will surprise you about its operation.
You can buy versions of Open Office that come on CD/DVD media but it is pretty unnecessary as you can download it for free. Like MS Office, it comes with various component parts that allow you to create documents, presentations and spreadsheets but, unlike the MS version, it does not come with all the same features.
Now, that may seem like a big drawback but when you consider that you use a tiny percentage of the functionality of MS Office, you will soon find that it does not matter - in fact, you will not notice.
There really is no downside to this piece of software. It works so well and is free. I keep coming back to that - it's free. It is good and free. Why would you not try it?
Open Office (www.openoffice.org) is an excellent general office suite that will work with most Microsoft Office files and is completely free!
All the features you're used to from Word/Excel etc. are there, in addition to some extras for the pro users.
I haven't had any problems opening Microsoft documents using this program, although I should note that once Open Office has edited an existing Word document, there can be some compatability issues when sending the file back to the machine using the Microsoft software. This is only an occasional problem in my experience, but should be mentioned.
Also (as mentioned by a previous poster), the program can be fairly slow to load. I don't have the fastest machine (2.0 Ghz dual core and 1 Gb RAM) and it's awfully sluggish at times. My advice would be the same for fixing this and for anyone trying to optmise their computing experience in general: clean up your hard drive, defragment it, check for spam/viruses and only use the programs that you need to - any computer will run slower with 4-5 programs running than when you're using one.
Updates are also free and I look forward to continuing to use this product in future.
Openoffice v. 3, the latest incarnation of the biggest opensource office suite.
If you want a fully M$ Office compatible office suite, then look no further than 'Openoffice'. Version 3 of this office suite is a ground-up re-build of the popular Ooo office suite. So, what does it actually consist off?.
To start with, there's 'Writer', this 'MS Word' compatible word processor This goes beyond the simple 'write a letter' wordprocessing of other office apps, and includes the ability to save as HTML & PDF as well as a whole host of other formats.
New to Ooo 3 Writer is the ability to import & edit PDF files directly via the 'unPDF' plugin (another new feature of '3'), other new features include the inserting of 'Movies & Sounds' and 'Formulas', create envelopes, and even labels.. The first of these comes in handy when creating a webpage, whilst the 2nd allows the use of spreadsheet style functionality to tables.
Next on the list is 'Calc'. This is 90% compatible with 'Excel', but there are some minor differences in the way certain commands work (all the spreadsheets I tried to use from Excel worked perfectly, but theres no garantee that more complex ones will).
Anyone who uses Excel on a regular basis will soon learn what works and what is different, and with a built-in help guide, will soon be able to learn what the differences are.
For presentations, theres 'Impress', and, just like 'Powerpoint', you cane make-up a presentation consisting of text, audio, video & still images. In Ooo 3 you do have a greater range of templates to choose from if you don't want to create your own. The ability to export presentations as '.swf' files means that you can easily inbed presentations into web sites or view them on any computer with Shockwave's 'Flash' installed.
For data manipulation there is 'Base', now, this works differently to 'Access'. With Base not only can you create a database, but you can use Base to open and work with an existing database already created with one of the many othe database programs out there. Database compatibility includes - Adabase D, JBDC, Mozilla Thunderbird Address Book, MS Acces 2007, and many more. So if you want one frontend to handle several types of database, then look no further.
It is worth using Base just to keep control of your MS outlook, Windows Address Book and Thunderbird Address books.
A vector drawing application simpley called 'Draw' is included, so you can create your own graphics for use in the other modules. Draw can create linked graphics, and can be used to create flowcharts, diagrams and amusing signs.
Finally, 'Maths' allows you to create complex mathematical formulas in the style of MS Equation Editor. These can then be inserted into other Ooo 3 modules.
Installation was easy, with Ooo now installing the Java package as part of the set-up rather than asking you to download it and install it seperately.