Free and open source
What can be said about OpenOffice? Everything positive. It's the perfect program for writers, students, business people, and anyone who uses a computer. After all, at some point the average user will NEED an office program. Better yet.. this is an office suite.
Compared to Microsoft Office, there is a slim difference: branding. That's about it. OpenOffice can open Microsoft Office files, edit them, save them, even create them. Both programs work hand-in-hand. It's the perfect alternative to the expensive Microsoft Office suite.
OpenOffice can be used for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, graphics, and databases. And the program can run on Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, BSD, and Unix. For good measure, it's available in over 110 languages.
Programs included with OpenOffice:
Writer: A word processor similar to Microsoft Word and WordPerfect. It can export Portable Document Format (PDF) files, and can function as a basic WYSIWYG editor for creating and editing web pages.
Calc: A spreadsheet similar to Microsoft Excel and Lotus 1-2-3. Calc can export spreadsheets to the PDF format. (See ooWriter entry, above, for details of PDF). Calc provides a number of features not present in Excel, including a system which automatically defines series for graphing, based on the layout of the user’s data.
Impress: A presentation program similar to Microsoft PowerPoint and Apple Keynote. Impress can export presentations to Adobe Flash (SWF) files, allowing them to be played on any computer with a Flash player installed. It also includes the ability to create PDF files, and the ability to read Microsoft PowerPoint's .ppt format. Impress lacks ready-made presentation designs but this can be overcome by downloading free templates on-line.
Base : A database management program similar to Microsoft Access. Base allows the creation and manipulation of databases, and the building of forms and reports to provide easy access to data for end-users. As with MS Access, Base can function as a front-end to a number of different database systems, including Access databases (JET), ODBC data sources and MySQL/PostgreSQL. Base became part of the suite starting with version 2.0. Native to the OpenOffice.org suite is an adaptation of HSQL. While Base can be a front-end for any of the databases listed, there is no need to install any of them. Raw SQL code can be entered by those who prefer it, or graphical user interfaces can be used.
Draw: A vector graphics editor comparable in features to early versions of CorelDRAW and Microsoft Visio. It features versatile "connectors" between shapes, which are available in a range of line styles and facilitate building drawings such as flowcharts. It has similar features to desktop-publishing software such as Scribus and Microsoft Publisher. Draw can also export its creations to the PDF format.
Math: A tool for creating and editing mathematical formulae, similar to Microsoft Equation Editor. OOo users can embed formulae inside other OpenOffice.org documents, such as those created by Writer. It supports multiple fonts and can export to PDF.
If your looking for the most full-featured, Microsoft Office alternative, OpenOffice can't be beat.
Review by: Nick
Mac OS X