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OpenOffice Suite Review by DonEc

The industry standard office suite is Microsoft Office which can cost from $120 to over $500. The alternative is Free OpenOffice a full office suite.

Yes, Word processor, Spreadsheet, Presentation, Drawing programs and more all for free! No I'm not crazy, but you are right to be skeptical. It's not "Ad-ware", it's not "Spyware", it's not full of problems and it really is free. OpenOffice Suite has great support and in program help. I believe OpenOffice has created an equal, or better product than the expensive alternative. OpenOffice is created by "Hackers". These are not the criminals but the free minded creators of the Internet world. You can download OpenOffice and if interested you can get the source code also. This is what keeps OpenOffice free. The source code is the programming code that makes the program work. With the source code you can alter the program, rename it and sell it as yours. Now when I first heard this I thought oh no! How can I trust a program that anyone can alter. That is where comes in. For changes to carry the name OpenOffice the changes must be approved by them. This causes the program to be very stable and for proper changes, enhancements, improvements and corrections to come out very quickly. If you find a problem you have the option of emailing the OpenOffice team and inform them of the problem. This is desired by them so they can get fixes done quickly.

OpenOffice currently supports Microsoft Windows, Linux, Sun Solaris, Mac OS X, and FreeBSD operating systems / platforms. System Requirements vary according to the type of system / platform you use. For this review I will cover the requirements for Windows. Which are Microsoft Windows 98, ME, NT (Service Pack 6 or higher), 2000 or XP (Service Pack 1 or 2) Pentium compatible PC, 64 MB RAM, 250 MB available hard disk space for the current version of OpenOffice Suite 1.1.4. The downloaded program is large 45 MB. If this is too large for your connection you can order a CD from too many websites to list them all, but here are a couple like "eBay" for 3.99 including shipping or " Z Shop" which includes shipping, Tutorial Flash Movie and Writer Tutorial Quicktime Movie for $8.95 to $35.95. Their more expensive deals include 1 year email and online support. I don't think this support is much of an offer since offers free Community Support and the OpenOffice Forum is free.

The features of OpenOffice are:

Write (Text Documents) is almost just like MS Word, with all the bells and whistles. You can type in all your text with colors, fonts and graphics, create tables and all that neat stuff. It has a dictionary, thesaurus, mailmerging and bibliographical references. You can create your own documents in PDF (Portable Document Format) and use many auto features like styles, spelling, formatting, auto-complete and generate table of contents or indexing terms among other things. If you find something that you don't understand then you can click on help. The help system is absolutely packed with information and is available in all features.

Calc (Spreadsheets), I am not big in the area of finance but I use the spreadsheet to layout my budget. A spreadsheet is like electronic paper with rows and columns making up cells in which you put content. Your input can control how page should look and behave along with all the numbers and formulas while the computer takes care of all the math. Create charts, graphs, or stunning cash flow projections, with a few simple clicks of the mouse. Also it seems to have full compatibility (read/write) with MS Excel.

Draw works from a quick sketch to a complex plan, giving you the tools to communicate with graphics and diagrams or create Flash. Use Smart connectors make short work of flowcharts, organization charts, network diagrams, etc. Define your own 'glue points' for connectors to 'stick' to like in flow charts. You can import graphics from all common formats (including BMP, GIF, JPEG, PNG, TIFF, and WMF). You can export the drawings you create as Macromedia Flash SFW, BMP, JPG, GIF, PNG and many other formats. Draw comes with several scalable 3D images, backgrounds, rulers (lines), buttons and bullets.

Impress (Presentations), common uses for these type of programs are for presenting new products or ideas, but you could use it for a reunion, birthday, anniversary or training slideshow. Creating sequences of graphics and text, on "slides" lets you control the slideshow and the look, of every presentation can be totally different. Impress contains wizards to help you get started.

It is so easy to make Labels and Business Cards. It has quick and easy set-up templets from the tabs for labels, business cards and such, for popular precut pages like Avery.

I've never had OpenOffice crash in the 3 years I have used it so I must say it is a very stable program.

The bottom line is That OpenOffice Suite is a great program containing loads of features (more than are covered here), that works well for home or office with a price that will never be beat.

About the Author:

DonEc is the designer, creator and owner of Best Web Stop ( He has been working with computers since 1974 and been creating websites with WYSIWYG non-HTML web programs since 1992. He is retired and provides No Cost WebSite instruction via Best Web Stop as a service to people that want to have a totally free, no cost presence on the web or just want to avoid learning HTML. In some cases he has been known to build sites for a small fee if asked. However he requires the owner of the site to learn how to create a site so they can maintain the site themselves.

Copy and/or reproduction of this article is allowed as long as it is not altered in any way and the section "About the author" is kept with the article including these instructions. Article Copyright © 2004 by DonEc.