Open Office

Do you use Microsoft Office? If you do not use it, likely your children do for school projects. Every few years there is an upgrade for Office and it seems that every new version is more expensive than the last one. If you need it for educational reasons, you can buy the Student and Teacher version for about $150. If you need it to use in your business, it will cost you hundreds of dollars. What if there was a less expensive alternative? What if there was even a FREE alternative?

Good news! There is! It is called Open Office and you can download it at Like Microsoft Office, OpenOffice is a suite of applications. Here is a brief description of each:

Writer - A word processor much like Microsoft Word. It can edit Word documents and even save documents in Word format so you can send them to others who are using Microsoft Word. You can also save your documents in Adobe Acrobat's PDF format.

Calc - A spreadsheet program like Microsoft Excel. It can edit Excel spreadsheets and even save spreadsheets in Excel format so you can send them to others who are using Microsoft Excel. You can also save your spreadsheets in Adobe Acrobat's PDF format.

Impress - An alternative to Microsoft PowerPoint that, of course, can edit PowerPoint presentations and save in that format. Impress can also save to Macromedia's Flash format so you can use it to build web based presentations.

Draw - Draw is used to build flowcharts and diagrams much like Microsoft Visio, but does not have the ability to open or save Visio files.

Base - A database tool that can connect to Access databases, MySQL databases and many others.

I am actually using the OpenOffice Writer program to write this article. I usually use Microsoft Word. There are some minor differences, but all in all it works very similarly to Word and at the low, low price of zero it is hard to beat.

As always, do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.