Monday, January 31, 2011

Open Office - The Alternative to Microsoft Office

Since typewriters are virtually obsolete, we all need a word processing program today.  Every computer running Windows has a program called Wordpad installed, which is the most basic word processing program you can get. The problem with Wordpad though is that it's so basic, that it lacks a lot of needed features.

Microsoft Works is another program that comes pre-installed on most new computers today.  Works is similar to Microsoft Office in that its a suite of office software. However, because it's typically free, it's not as good as the full featured Microsoft Office suite (which is still "king" in office suite software).  Microsoft Works Word is a better program than Wordpad, but still not as good as Microsoft Word.

If you can afford Microsoft Office, it's still the preferred choice for office software.  However, if money is tight, there is an alternative.  It's called, Open Office

Open Office is FREE and is a complete suite of office software.  It's very comparable to Microsoft Office.  And better yet, you can open Word and Excel documents in Open Office and edit them.  This is a HUGE plus! 

Because Open Office was designed to look and feel like Microsoft Office, it's pretty intuitive to use.  The only trick is getting used to the names of individual programs.  For example, the word processing program in Open Office is called, Writer (instead of Word).  The spreadsheet program is called, "Calc" (instead of Excel).   Open Office even has a PowerPoint counterpart called, Impress. Here's the complete suite of programs that comes with Open Office:
  • Writer (similar to Microsoft Word)
  • Calc (similar to Microsoft Excel)
  • Impress (similar to PowerPoint)
  • Base (similar to Access)
  • Draw (a graphics program which is better than Paint).
If you don't have Microsoft Office installed on your computer, I would recommend downloading and installing Open Office

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