Be sure check out our previous Microsoft Office Alternative post (Google Docs).
Microsoft Office is a compelling software suite which offers a lot of industry-standard tools for document, spreadsheet, and presentation creation (as well as a few others.) And while MS Office is very useful, it is also priced significantly (starting at $150). Wouldn’t it be nice if you could get a similar set of tools (that could read and create MS Office files) for a better price? Free is a better price, wouldn’t you agree? Enter OpenOffice.org, the free and open-source office suite.
OpenOffice.org is a great alternative to Microsoft Office, not only because it is completely free, but unlike Google Docs, this is a bonafide piece of software that installs directly to your computer (despite the name, which makes it sound like an online tool) no messing around in the browser. Additionally, and perhaps one of its most compelling features, is the ability to read and create native Microsoft Office files.
OpenOffice.org offers the following tools (with MS Office analogs in parentheses)
- Writer (Word)
- Calc (Excel)
- Impress (PowerPoint)
- Draw (Publisher)
- Base (Access)
- Math (Microsoft Equation Editor)
Supported Files Types
One of the best parts about OpenOffice.org is compatibility.
Writer can open:
|.odt, .ott, .oth, .odm, .sxw, .stw, .sxg||OpenOffice.org formats|
|.doc and .dot||MS Word 6.0/95/97/2000/XP|
|.xml||MS Word 2003 XML|
|.wps||WPS 2000/Office 1.0|
|.doc||Microsoft WinWord 5|
|.sdw, .sgl, and .vor||StarWriter formats|
|.jtd and .jtt||Ichitaro 8/9/10/11|
|.hwp||Hangul WP 97|
|.rtf, .txt, and .csv||Rich Text, Comma Separated Value, and Text|
Calc can open:
|.ods, .ots, .sxc, and .stc||OpenOffice.org Formats|
|.xls, .xlw, and .xlt||Microsoft Excel 97/2000/XP|
|.xls, .xlw, and .xlt||Microsoft Excel 4.x 5.0/95|
|.csv and .txt||Text CSV|
|.xml||Microsoft Excel 2003 XML|
|.wk1, .wks, and .123||Lotus 1-2-3|
|.dif||Data Interchange Format|
|.sdc and .vor||StarCalc formats|
|.wb2||Quattro Pro 6.0|
|.rtf||Rich Text Format|
|.htm and .html|
And the list goes on and on for the various tools included in OpenOffice.org. For a full list of what Open Office can open and what formats it can save, see page 21 on this PDF.
While an MS Office alternative like Google Docs might be a decent replacement for the casual user, it may not be complex enough to replace MS Office for someone who uses the tools in depth. OpenOffice.org, however, recreates many of the detail-oriented tools that one might be used to using in MS Office. Things such as advanced margin control and special formatting are all handled well in Open Office. Have a look at the OpenOffice.org suite of tools:
Making the Switch
If you are looking for an alternative to Microsoft Office, you should give OpenOffice.org a thorough once-over. Switching is simple because it is completely free to download, available on multiple-platforms (Windows, Mac, and Linux), and is highly compatible with a number formats from similar office suites.
To download OpenOffice.org, simple head over to OpenOffice.org and click the I want to download OpenOffice.orgâ€ button right on the front page!