Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Why buy MS Office when Open Office is FREE

I've used MS Office products such as Word and Excel for about 20 years now and I've always upgraded to the latest version as needed.

When I got my new computer a few months ago it came preloaded with Office 2007 for a limited trial and guess what?

The trial expired and I didn't purchase.

Nope, I decided to bail on MS Office and try the free OpenOffice and see how it worked before forking over real money for MS Office.

For starters, I'm no longer the power user of MS Office that I used to be and I'm working outside the confines of an office that standardizes on MS Office so it's easy to make the switch.

The only thing I notice is OpenOffice seems slow loading and unloading, but after that it seems to run decent on my computer which is pretty fast.

None of my Excel spreadsheets had any issue being imported into OpenOffice Calc.

The few Powerpoint presentations I have made also imported flawlessly into OpenOffice Impress.

Now most of my Word documents were simple things, short letters, invoices and a business card template, all of which imported flawlessly.

However, I had a couple of manuals that were about 100 pages each which use style sheets and it imported the data just fine but the style sheet layout was lost. If I still had to maintain this publication on an ongoing basis then I would definitely consider getting Word instead of spending a bunch of time reformatting this document and re-inventing the wheel. Of course there may still be a way to properly import the 2 manuals but I didn't look too hard since they aren't very important at the moment.

Overall, for the low end home, student or business user, OpenOffice looks like it will do a great job.

I'll reserve judgment for power use of these applications until after I have to create a new manual or something and experience it's capabilities at a higher level.

1 comment:

Charley Christman said...

I also have been using office since it's inception. AND I installed Open Office with updates. I use Word little and it's fine, Excel is perfect for me, no PowerPoint for a few years now, but the comment is ACCESS, Database in Open Office.

I am a very heavy user of ACCESS, now ACCESS 2007 (*.accdb) and I have found no way to import anything except the old *.mdb files.

I admit I didn't break my ass on it, but, even if I found a way to import it, it would be too frightening to assume that the tens of thousands of lines of VB code were not going to choke somewhere, perhaps without announcing it, and at the inopportune moment.

BUTTTT, I certainly agree with the general tenet of your post. The open source is challenging and will either win or take a handsome toll.