Still paying for Microsoft Office? It might be time to stop.
Apache’s OpenOffice isn’t just powerful, it’s free. You can use it much the same way you do Microsoft Office – without forking out a few hundred bucks for the pleasure – and is much easier to use offline than Google’s free productivity apps.
Whether you’re writing blogs, doing your accounts, or preparing that important presentation for Monday morning, you can do it all with OpenOffice. Even governments and companies are using it.
But is it really better than paid software? Let’s take a look.
3 reasons why you should be using OpenOffice
1. You can do almost anything with OpenOffice
OpenOffice comes with these applications:
- Writer (word processor – similar to Word)
- Calc (spreadsheet engine – similar to Excel)
- Impress (presentations – similar to PowerPoint)
- Draw (vector graphics editor)
- Math (equations and formulae editor)
- Base (databases)
This gives you ultimate flexibility, all in one handy program.
All OpenOffice apps read Microsoft file types – even those from ten to fifteen years ago (some of which Microsoft Office 2016 can’t!). This is particularly useful if you own or work with organizations that might possess older file types than Microsoft Office can support. You might get the occasional formatting issue, but for most users, this won’t be a problem – especially if you’re only working with single files.
2. It’s very easy to use
OpenOffice has a simple user interface that is similar to Office 2003, and it is constantly improved with user feedback. If you’re familiar with Microsoft Office applications, you’ll recognize similar buttons and toolbars, making it very easy to use. And if you hated the ribbon toolbar Microsoft introduced in 2007, you’ll be glad to know it doesn’t exist in OpenOffice.
There’s also a large, helpful community behind OpenOffice – as is typical for open-source projects like this one. So if you get stuck, there’s usually some kind person available to help. They might even have worked on some of the code behind OpenOffice, too, which makes them far more useful.
3. You get upgrades faster
OpenOffice is open-source software, meaning anyone can review and upgrade the code it’s written in. This means bugs are found quicker, and you don’t have to wait too long for upgrades.
Better yet, upgrades are free, and because development is collaborative and democratic, you have a say in which features you’d like to see. You can even develop OpenOffice code yourself if you have the skills, and introduce your own features into the community.
And have I said this is free software? I don’t mean to harp on about it, but as most paid software is going down the subscription route – such as Adobe’s Creative Suite and Microsoft’s Office 365 – this is a pretty big deal.
Of course, OpenOffice won’t be for everyone. It lacks some of the more advanced features of its paid competitors, and if you’re used to working in the cloud, there are better options. But with 231.9 million downloads so far, it’s a serious contender – especially if you’re on a budget.