Friday, March 19, 2010

Free Stuff Part 3

Microsoft Office is a must have program if you want to write any type of document or presentation.  Well, not exactly.  The truth is, Microsoft Office Documents are what makes the business world go round, but that does not mean that Office itself must be the set of programs to open the documents.  While I would argue that Microsoft Office is by far the best office suite available, it is not always the most affordable.  Enter Open Office. 

Open Office started out as a project by independent software developers to create a free Office suite that is comparable to Microsoft's offering.  It was later acquired by Sun, the same company behind Java, but it was still kept as a free suite.  Now with a force of expert programmers behind it, Open Office is an even more capable Office Suite than it once was.  Why still free you ask?  Sun is a competitor with Microsoft in certain areas of software development.  However, making office suites is not one of those areas.  This means that Sun is happy to keep the product free to take some of the wind out of Microsoft Office's sails, or is it sales?  In fact, Open Office can open all of the Microsoft Office Documents that you use and love and will reproduce their formatting nearly perfectly.

Keep in mind that this is NOT a Microsoft program, so while it generally function s similar to pre-2007 versions of MS Office, there still might be some things out of place from what you are used to.   It is an easy transition, but personally, I feel it still lacks some of the polish and crispness in design and layout that I am accustom to from Microsoft Office.  The names of each program are different as well.  Writer in place of Word, Impress in place of PowerPoint and Calc in place of Excel.  Each program can be installed separately, so if you are missing one or two programs from your Microsoft Office installation, you can substitute with Open Office as needed. Even if you have an old computer that you want to keep around, but not put money into, Open Office fits the bill.  Visit to learn more and download.


  1. Have you ever considered SSuite Office as a free alternative to MS Office?

    Their software also doesn't need to run on Java or .NET, like MS Office and so many open source office suites, so it makes their software very small, efficient, and easy to use. :)

  2. I have never tried it, but thank you for the tip. Does it handle Microsoft Office document formats?