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Apache OpenOffice has nothing to hide - the product stands or falls on its reputation Apache OpenOffice is easy to use: The software looks and feels familiar and is instantly usable by anyone who has used a competitive product It's easy to change to Apache OpenOffice - the software reads all major competitors' files Few language barriers - if it's not yet available in your language, the chances are it will be soon Apache OpenOffice is supported by a global community of friendly volunteers, happy to provide assistance to newcomers and advanced users alike Apache OpenOffice is free software: You may download Apache OpenOffice completely free of any license fees Install it on as many PCs as you like Use it for any purpose - private, educational, government and public administration, commercial... Pass on copies free of charge to family, friends, students, employees, etc. Apache OpenOffice is standards compliant: The first software package in the world to use OASIS OpenDocument Format (ISO/IEC 26300) as its native file format.

OpenOffice Reviews

I would use this again
(President & CFO at
Business where it was used: Revenue: Less than $10M, Industry: Multiple

When I've had clients that had limited funds and needs that didn't require the expense of Microsoft Office (or were running Linux), I have suggested OpenOffice.

The price is right, the basic features in all of the modules are there, however, it is not Office. The range of features of Writer can’t compare to that of Word, but then again, most people don’t use a tenth of what Word offers.

I found the last time I used Calc (their Excel counterpart) that many of the functions I was used to using were not present. That can be a major drawback.

Impress (Powerpoint) worked very nicely.

I have not used Draw, Base and Math (illustrator, access or a graphical math editor).

Defiantly worth the investment to see if OpenOffice can work for you.

I would use this again
(CFO at Prime Investments & Development)
Business where it was used: Revenue: $10 - $100M, Industry: Wireless Retail
This program is a nice alternative if you are looking for a free way to use the basic functions of Microsoft Office type programs. Some of our managers use it because they do not need to work extensively in the software. The look and feel is very similar to Microsoft Office. Working in accounting however, I found some of the functions I need to have with Excel were not available with Open Office and had to go back to using Office. I would definitely use it again if I was using a machine that didn't have Microsoft Office and needed to review a spreadsheet or Word doc.
I would use this again
(Chief Financial Officer at Pro Tech International)
Business where it was used: Revenue: $10 - $100M, Industry: Technology and Chemical Distribution

I have been using Open Office for approximately 10 years and have been very happy with its functionality in replacing the costly Microsoft Office package. The product is free and a winning option for basic and intermediate level spreadsheet, document and presentation requirements. Open office allows the users to create files and save them in the standard Microsoft format for use in Microsoft Office software packages.

There are a few challenges that one will incur in using this product. If you can get past some of these issues, you will find that Open Office is quite easy to work with and will serve your needs quite well:

  1. The conversion of .docx, .xlsx and .pptx files sometimes presents issues. The developers at Apache could spend some time making it easier for users to convert and save in these file formats as they are becoming more common and creating complications when those files are being worked with. I am able to open these documents, but have to revert to Office 97/2000 format when saving. It would be helpful if Apache could conquer this issue.
  2. Outline formatting in documents needs improvement. I find that sometimes I have difficulty with this functionality when working with files originally created in Microsoft Word. There have been instances with vendor contracts written in Microsoft Word where I have had to use a copy of Microsoft Office 2003 that I own to work with the file. Mostly the problem seems be with converting the outline format of the contract from the docx format to the doc format (this is an assumption on my part). I have written that off to one of Microsoft's formatting "upgrades" which prevents Open Office from working well with the file, but it would be nice to see Apache take steps to correct the issue.
  3. The border icon in the spreadsheet package has a couple of omissions that could easily be corrected. Open office does not have the double underline border option or the very thick, black border that Excel offers. I have learned to work around this by using a single line border at the end of spreadsheets instead of the double line border. If I really need a double line, I use the Underline icon that allows for a double. Once again, this should be easy to fix for Apache, but has been an issue since I began using this software.
  4. Open Office number formatting is quite limited in that the software does not present options for parentheses on negative numbers. I resolve this issue by copying a cell from a spreadsheet that has all of the formatting that I like into the Open Office spreadsheet. Once a single cell has a particular format within a document, I can then go into the formatting function and Open Office automatically makes it available for use in all cells of the spreadsheet. It is an inconvenience, but does work well and is a simple fix.

There are some differences in the formats for formula's that should be noted. In Excel, comma's are used as separators in formulas. In Open Office the semicolon is used. I consider this to be a minor difference and when I began using Open Office in 2003 I was quickly able to convert my typing. I like to type my formulas and am not a big fan of using the mouse as I feel it is inefficient for me. Beside the semicolon, the basic formats used for formulas are very similar to Excel.

There is one item of particular benefit that I like very much with Open Office. When I use the copy or cut functions (Ctrl C or X) Open Office treats the data very different than Excel. In Excel or Word, the data is highlighted and you are required to do something with it right away. Once you perform any other function, the clip board is cleared. In Open Office, the data remains on the clip board until something else replaces it. This means that I can copy or cut a group of cells, insert some rows or change data in other cells and then paste what I copied into the new cells. If I want to do more work on the document/spreadsheet and then past that same formula into another set of cells, I can do that by simply hitting Ctrl V again. The formula remains on the clip board until it is physically removed. I find this to be highly convenient and a huge improvement over Microsoft in my more complex spreadsheets and in many of my documents.

Open Office has robust data management capabilities, but I have not used them so am unable to review those capabilities here.

Even with the complications incurred with the new Microsoft Office formats, I would not go back to Excel or Word for daily use. I work mostly with spreadsheets which are very large and very complex. I do not have any problems with them at all. When these spreadsheets are sent to colleagues, vendors and clients who use Microsoft products, they are always able to open the documents and work with them. Open Office still uses the "old" format for the task bar and I appreciate that very much as I do not like the "new" Office format. When looking at decision on whether to spend $300 to $600 for Microsoft Office or to spend 10 minutes downloading and installing the free Open Office software, I choose Open Office every time.

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3 Ratings, 3 Reviews
3 out of 3 would use this again

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