capsule review

OpenOffice.org

At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder OpenOffice.org

Note: This review addresses v3.2 of the software.

Don't want to pay hundreds of dollars for an office suite--and don't want to settle for a Web-based office application? Then get the latest version of OpenOffice.Org, a full-blown office suite that includes a word processor, spreadsheet, presentation program, database, drawing program, and math program.

Just because it's free doesn't mean that OpenOffice.org is underpowered--far from it. All the applications are full-featured, and unlike Microsoft Office, it includes drawing and math programs. It also handles Microsoft Office formats, as well as many others, including .rtf and open-source formats. It can even export to .pdf. And it works with Word markup, so you can easily exchange documents with those who use Office. However, it does have one problematic format shortcoming: Although it can open files in the Microsoft Office 2007 formats .docx in Word,. .xlsx in Excel, and .pptx in PowerPoint, it can't save files in those formats.

The overall interface isn't as slick as Office 2007--for example, it doesn't include the Ribbon. (Of course, there are people who hate the Ribbon and will be happy to hear that.)

This newest 3.2 version of OpenOffice.Org includes a variety of tweaks and fixes, such as adding a sticky-note collaboration tools to its drawing and presentation modules, improved context menus when creating charts.

If you're looking for a way to get away from spending hundreds of dollars for a suite, Openoffice.org is a great solution.

Note: This program is donationware. It is free to try, but the authors accept and encourage donations towards further development. This link takes you to the vendor's site, where you can download the latest version of the software.

--Preston Gralla

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At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder OpenOffice.org

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