Save money on your office software suite
Most businesses need some form of desktop office productivity software. This normally consists of a word processor, spreadsheet and presentation software. It also might include a database program. In many cases the software will be used for writing letters, in others creating financial models using the spreadsheet software or perhaps making a sales presentation.
Since the introduction of the IBM compatible personal computer (PC) in 1982 software users have naturally gravitated to a handful of products such as Corel® WordPerfect®, Microsoft® Word or IBM® DisplayWrite®. This makes sense because if everyone is using the same product it is relatively easy to transfer files and share information without having to worry about conversion programs.
Presently Microsoft Office is the clear leader in Office productivity. Many companies buy it by default but it sells for over $400, which is not insignificant, particularly if you need several copies. What makes matters worse is that as the software has gone through many revisions, product features have grown, features that many of its user will neither use nor care about.
There is, however an alternative, a very good alternative and that is OpenOffice (openoffice.org). One of the many things that is really nice about OpenOffice is that it is free.
Not only is this an “all singing all dancing” office productivity suite that includes word processing, spreadsheet, business presentation and database functionality, it also includes a drawing package and a math package. It saves files to a number of different formats so that it is still possible to share files with those who have forked out for an expensive product (which is any product that costs anything at all!). In fact OpenOffice.org 2.0 is the first open source office suite to offer full support for the OpenDocument format, an XML file format specification suitable for office applications including text, spreadsheets, charts, and graphical documents.
OpenOffice.org is not just a fabulous product it also comes with a large support infrastructure including a support forum. There is also a wealth of books and e-books to help you get the most from the product.
OpenOffice runs on Windows, Linux and Apple and so should fit in well with most office IT environments.
I have found it very easy to use and even has features that I don’t currently have in my copy of Word, such as being able to save a file directly to a PDF file.
So if you are about to sign a substantial check for another product, OpenOffice is really worth looking at. It can be easily downloaded from the internet. See below.
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