Apache OpenOffice (OpenOffice.org) 4.1.2

A free, open-source publishing and productivity software

  • Vote:
    5.9 (280)
  • Category:

    Office Suites

  • Version:

    (OpenOffice.org) 4.1.2

  • Works under:

    Windows 8 / Windows 7 / Windows Vista / Windows 2003 / Windows XP / Windows NT / Windows 2000 / Windows ME / Windows 98 SE / Windows 98

  • Program available in:In English
  • Program license:Free (gpl)

Apache's OpenOffice is an open-source productivity suite similar to Microsoft Office. Users can create text documents, presentations and spreadsheets with ease. The software and all of its features are free. No premium versions of these programs exist. While Power users of Office might not find OpenOffice adequate enough for their needs, the overwhelming majority of computer users will find this free productivity suite quite useful.

OpenOffice includes the following programs:

  • Writer
  • Calc
  • Impress
  • Draw
  • Base
  • Math

Getting Started & Navigation

Users of Microsoft Office will feel comfortable using OpenOffice as menus and toolbars for each program look similar to their Office counterparts. Apache's productivity suite offers a more simple user interface in some ways. Therefore, certain users might consider OpenOffice a bare bones approach to Office. New users won't have to battle any sort of learning curve here.

Write, Calc, and Impress Reign Supreme

Most individuals will download OpenOffice for its core three programs: Write, Calc and Impress. These programs are identical to Word, Excel and PowerPoint respectively. Without a doubt, ordinary users won't use other programs featured in OpenOffice. All three programs run smoothly and come with basic editing features. Documents can even be converted into PDFs or protected with a password. Currently, Write rivals Word, but Calc and Impress noticeably lag behind Microsoft's alternatives feature-wise.

Other Thoughts

OpenOffice features Calc and Base for managing databases. While these programs accomplish that feat, managing larger databases becomes nearly impossible. On the other hand, Microsoft's Excel can tackle the largest databases with ease. Likewise, presentations through Impress aren't that exciting. PowerPoint wins out because it comes with more templates, transitions, and design elements. Office 365 gives users Microsoft Office in its entirety for a low monthly or annual fee.

Still, Apache's OpenOffice makes sense for many users. Free software is enticing for virtually everyone, and OpenOffice will handle the needs of most individuals. Schools that can't afford hefty licensing fees for Office can install Apache's alternative free of charge. Then again, all organizations and individuals can download OpenOffice and do whatever they'd like with it. Such versatility, without a price tag, is always worth considering.

The Verdict

In the end, Apache's OpenOffice is a worthy rival to Microsoft Office in many ways. Its programs lack a few features found within Microsoft's productivity suite. Users can still create basic documents and presentations without a hassle, though. In its current form, OpenOffice is compatible with more file types than Office. The argument comes down to whether a user needs premium features or a cost-effective bare bones approach to productivity. Apache's software falls into the latter category, and that's not a problem by any means.

Pros

  • OpenOffice is 100% free
  • Compatible with Microsoft Office files
  • Comes with enough features for most users

Cons

  • Microsoft Excel better suited for spreadsheets
  • Microsoft PowerPoint far more advanced than Impress
  • Office 365 subscription relatively inexpensive

Other programs to consider

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