Beginner Geeks: OpenOffice is a Free Cross Platform Alternative to MS Office

By Brian Burgess on October 7th, 2009

When you’re trying to save money in this bad economy, you probably don’t want to purchase an expensive office suite. If you are just a beginner geek, you might not know about the free OpenOffice alternative to MS Office.

OpenOffice is a free and powerful alternative to Microsoft Office and is available for Windows, Linux, and Mac. The suite includes an alternative for the 4 major MS office apps like Word, Excel, Access, Publisher and PowerPoint. Here we will take a quick look at each of the applications available in OpenOffice 3.1 for Windows. This should give you an idea of what you can expect if you make the switch or are just starting out with it.

4-oo

Open Office 3

The installation process is similar to that of MS Office and you can choose which features to install.

1-oo

Writer

Writer is your alternative to MS Word and will handle most of your document creation needs.

2-oo

Calc

Calc is the Excel alternative and has similar features that will allow most users to work with spreadsheets, including those created in the MS app.

3-oo

Impress

This is the alternative to PowerPoint and includes a lot of the same features. It provides you with templates to create, give, and publish professional looking presentations.

5-oo

Draw

This is a vector graphics editor which is an alternative to MS Publisher. It includes a lot of features included in other desktop publishing software. You can add clip art from the Open Clip Art Library to ad unique images to your documents.

6-oo

Conclusion

OpenOffice may not have all of the features that MS power users crave, but it comes close. If you are a fan of the Ribbon feature in Office 2007, you won’t see that here. Another cool thing about OpenOffice is that it’s available in a portable version so you can take it around with you on a flash drive, and is included with several Linux distributions. OpenOffice can open docx files but isn’t able to save them in that format, but MS can now open and save documents in the Open Document format. Because of that you should have little problem interchanging documents between the two. If you are looking for document creation capabilities of MS Office, but don’t want to shell out the money, OpenOffice is a great choice.

Download Open Office for Windows, Linux or Mac

Also check out our look at IBM Lotus Symphony which is built on Open Office.

IBM Lotus Symphony

Brian Burgess worked in IT for 10 years before pursuing his passion for writing. He's been a tech blogger and journalist for the past seven years, and can be found on his about me page or Google+

  • Published 10/7/09
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