OpenOffice.org (OOo) is an amazing suite of open-source, freeware applications. OOo is not quite ready to overtake Microsoft Office, but it is certainly nice to be able to use those types of tools on all operating systems without having to run complicated emulators and pay extravagant licensing fees.
At this point, OOo includes applications to perform most of the different functions found in Microsoft Office and more. The suite currently includes the following applications:
- Writer – A word processor similar to MS Word
- Calc – A spreadsheet application similar to MS Excel
- Impress – A presentation developer similar to MS PowerPoint
- Base – A database management application similar to MS Access (it should be noted that MS Access does not come with standard MS Office suites anymore – rather, you have to pay nearly twice the price in order to get Access included)
- Draw – An application intended to be similar to CorelDraw
- Math – An equation and formula editor that can be integrated with all of the other applications
In addition, OOo includes a scripting language of its own, similar to Visual Basic for Applications (VBA). The language is referred to as OOo Basic. The language is used to automate various actions and to generate and record macros.
OOo includes filters to save documents in popular MS Office formats. It should be noted, however, that it does not always perform perfectly. The more recent versions of OOo have improved support of MS Office file formats, though. In addition, Microsoft has moved more toward an open, more easily implemented file format with the release of Office 2007.
OOo allows you to open and save documents in multiple file formats, including WordPerfect, multiple versions of MS Office, MS Works and many more.
OOo offers too much functionality to discuss in detail in this review. However, I will tell you all that OOo is well worth the >100 megabyte download, no matter which OS you are using. Microsoft’s Office applications have become more and more functional and feature-rich over the years, but the price tag has also risen higher and higher. OOo offers nearly as much functionality for nothing more than a polite request for donations.
Altogether, I will give OOo a 4.75 out of 5.
Big surprise; OpenOffice.org can be downloaded from the official Web site “OpenOffice.org.”
Call to action
Check it out and let me know what you think of it. Do you think it will ever be able to overcome the popularity/marketshare of MS Office? Will GAPE (the Google Office applications) overtake OOo as the most popular alternative office sute? What are your thoughts?