OpenOffice has all the tools, at the right price

Reviewers ChoiceIf you’re looking for a robust office suite that is professional and lacks any kind of bells and whistles, look no further than OpenOffice 3.2. Priced at nothing, free, zilch, it’s the best traditional office suite in the roundup.

A quick download from www.openoffice.org will give you a clean and ridiculously easy-to-use set of tools, including a text editor — which is Linux speak for word processor — spreadsheet creator, presentation maker, database manager, drawing program and advanced programming tool named Formula. Each of those tools has a clean and intuitive set of features layered within a modern interface that gives Corel or Microsoft a run for their money.

OpenOffice 3.2

Pros: Free; easy to use; strong capabilities.
Cons: No relevant flaws.
Features: A
Performance: A
Ease of Use: A
Value: A+
Price: Free
Reviewer’s Choice

GCN Lab reviews 5 top office suites

The templates selection is decent, although it's a far cry from the type of snazzy glitter that you can expect from Corel or Microsoft. Unlike those suites, OpenOffice does not include an e-mail client, but that’s easy to overlook because it is built to interoperate with Lotus Notes. That level and ease of collaboration is what we’re looking for in this roundup and fits perfectly under a unified communications platform.

Additionally, OpenOffice is the friendliest program in the roundup from the perspective of compatibility. Regardless of what file extensions we threw at this program or which operating systems we submerged it in, OpenOffice worked well and hard every time.

It’s no wonder this suite earned a Reviewer’s Choice honor for this roundup.

OpenOffice.org, www.openoffice.org

About the Author

Carlos A. Soto is a former GCN Lab technology analyst.

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Reader Comments

Wed, Nov 10, 2010

We are a local government department and we have been converting to OpenOffice for the past 2 years and have found that it works well in an environment that most of the other county departments are MS (even ofc 10, of course MS doesn't make it easy, but there's a plugin for that). We have found that there are advantages to using ZIMBRA email and utilize it to organize and share emails. Zimbra has a calendar, etc. and accepts meeting requests and schedules them from MS. We also use PSI instant messaging.

Tue, Nov 9, 2010 Mark Frautschi Rockville, MD

It's asking a lot, however, I would welcome some polling and collected lessons learned implementing Open Office Version 3+ in corporate and government environments. One nice feature of Open Office is that it is available for Windows, Mac OS X (Power PC and Intel) and Linux, which means that an organization with heterogeneous platforms can share a common productivity suite. Mozilla's Thunderbird e-mail client can make up for the lack of an e-mail client. It can access Microsoft Exchange Server through the IMAP interface, however, I believe that this allows for e-mail, but not the other features (calendar, contacts, sharing) workgroups depend on. Open Office contains the database program, Base, however Base does not open proprietary Microsoft Access files natively. It can open and edit Access files hosted in a Microsoft server shared using ODBC, if that helps. So, for decision makers, switching from Microsoft Office to Open Office is still more complicated than "Files Compatible?, Check, Free?, Check". However, the gap appears to be closing, particularly when one focuses on the features most often used in most organizations. If the team behind Open Office continues to close the gaps where the most used features are used, I would expect that it will require less courage and less experimentation to make the change, moving forward.

Wed, Nov 3, 2010

Looking at these reviews, they are completely subjective. There are no common task tests performed in each suite to see if a set of functionality is available, no indication that a document created in one suite can be seen as created in another. For example can a SmartArt PowerPoint file be properly opened in OpenOffice? Historically no. New versions, I don't know because the reviewer didn't examine this question. In short, this is mere click-bait without any real analysis or value.

Wed, Nov 3, 2010 Richard Arizona

OpenOffice is perfect, it does everything I need it to do without fail except it has no Outlook typr product but that can be worked out easily enough. It's totally free which is great and for not being 100% compatable with Microsoft Office well that is true but only because MS Office is what you are used too. forget MSOffice totally and you will see how great OpenOffice is.

Tue, Nov 2, 2010

No cons? How about compatibility with Office 10? It might not be relevant to you, but it is to a lot of folks. You brush off the lack of an Outlook look-alike, which just shows that the review is not objective.

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