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Why Buy Microsoft Office When Open Office 3.1 is Free!

Why spend money for Microsoft Office 2003 (or 2007 for that matter) when you can download and install Open Office 3.1 for free?

I’ve been using Open Office for all my spreadsheets at home for the last 3 years, and it works great!  The beauty is you can save the file as a microsoft office 2003  file type, so you can bring the file up in Microsoft Office 2003 or 2007.

I’m very surprised that more businesses don’t take advantage of the huge cost savings that they could gain by going with a free office suite package instead of paying for one.  Open Office 3.1 has the following software packages includes: writer, calc, impress, base and other pieces that I haven’t tried yet.  The table below is what the Open Office equivalent is in Microsoft Office.

This software package would be a great workhorse package, handling 95% if not all of the day-to-day tasks at work.  And it handles all of my needs for home use. 

Yes, a little bit of relearning will be necessary, but not much.  If you know the Microsoft products, you are over 90% of the way knowing how to work with the Open Office products.  Plus, it might be possible to modify the Open Office commands to respond practically exactly like the Microsoft option (although I’m not sure about this…). 

The thing about the Microsoft Office package is, the average user doesn’t use half of the features anyway…  One thing that you should definitely do is change the software setting so it save the file as a Microsoft file type, instead of the Open Office default file type.  Do this especially if you will need to send the file to people that use Microsoft Office.

     
 Open Office 3.1Microsoft Office 2003Compatability 
 WriterWordVery Good 
 CalcExcelVery Good 
 ImpressPowerPointVery Good 
 BaseAccessGood? 
     
     

With the Open Office 3.1 program, Base is the only one that I haven’t used yet.  From what I’ve been told, Base is the least compatible piece in the Microsoft suite with respect to “Microsoft Access”.

If you are familar with older versions of Open office, following is a quick “new features” video, just to give you an idea of how far the production has come.

For even more information about the software, go the  OpenOffice.org

Good stuff!  I highly recommend this software.

-D

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