The obvious choice for business organizations that don’t have the budget to buy Microsoft Office is Open Office. This free office suite is very much on everyone’s lips because its feature set rivals that of its Microsoft counterpart.
As in the previous versions, the focus will be on Writer, which doubles as a word processor and a HTML editor. Microsoft Word which retails at about $230 will find it hard to compete with Writer. Write gives you all the features you will normally use in Word, ranging from spell check, thesaurus, macros and even impressive backgrounds which you could use in your document with the help of the drag and drop feature. What’s more, you can even save your document in the Word format. This means you can work on your document in a different PC which runs Microsoft Word.
On top of that, Writer has the ability to display multi pages, which is ideal during editing especially if you have a monitor with a large screen size. In advanced notes mode, you can see notes displayed on the side of the document. What’s interesting here is notes made by different users are displayed in different colours with details of the date and time they were edited.
Users would also be pleased with the auto-complete feature in Open Office. Basically, the feature keeps track of words you use commonly and completes the words for you as you type. This would be a boon for those with slow typing speed
Other features supported are:
- Styles and Formatting
- Text Frames and Linking
- Tables of Contents
- Bibliographical References
Let’s also not forget that Open Office has a spreadsheet with a strange sounding name, Calc, Impress, a PowerPoint alternative, as well as Basic, a database program included the suite, among others.
Open Office also throws in filters for the usual Microsoft Office formats but there is now also support for Microsoft’s new formats such as as docx and xlsx.
Open Office also takes the credit of being one the few applications that are also compatible with Mac and Linux.
As in the previous version, Open Office supports the creation of pdf. In Microsoft Office 2007 the pdf feature is optional. You would have to download the pdf utility from the Microsoft site.
If prospective Open Office users are familiar with Office 2003 and earlier versions, they would familiarize themselves faster as there’s much resemblance between the Open Office and the said Microsoft versions.
One of the most-used Microsoft Office application is PowerPoint. When you talk about creating presentations, that would be the first name that comes to mind. Does Impress measure up to it? Impress does what PowerPoint does. It even goes a step further and allows you to export your presentation to flash which you can then upload to a website. You can’t do that with PowerPoint.
All in all, Open Office will an attractive option for organizations looking to cut software spending in anticipation of an economic recession.