Wednesday, September 3, 2014

What Office Software Should I Choose Microsoft Office or OpenOffice?

Autumn is upon us and it's that time of year again when students are back in school. Every year new students are getting their textbooks and laptops, knowing what workload is ahead of them they will also need software. Right away they'll be considering what software to get. Usually they end up choosing what is more popular or what their schools recommend. They all usually then go with the major name brands because they'll get student discounts. The harsh reality is schools often promote or require their students to use the major name brand software because it benefits them. What you should know is there are Freeware software programs and suites out there that are just as good.
It is the stigma of inferiority that still lingers when OpenOffice and Microsoft Office are compared and discussed. OpenOffice has always been viewed as a second rate copycat clone, undeserving of our precious time. Microsoft Office has always been regarded as the best choice of office software. It is what nearly all businesses use. They have also been the most popular and widely used among the casual users and students.

These two software suites appear the same. Instead of Word, there’s Writer, PowerPoint's counterpart is Impress and for Excel's there is Calc. What you have is essentially the same software with the same functions. The slight differences will be found in the menus. Some things may have different names and may not be in the familiar places associated with MS Office. Possibly a minor inconvenience for some, but nothing to fret over. If you are already capable with Office software then there won't be any learning curve, just in case you were worrying.

The main difference between PowerPoint and Impress is that PowerPoint offers more slide types and transitions with a wide variety of effects and templates, in other words, it's simply more elaborate. OpenOffice Impress, on the other hand, has a very scaled back layout that does not offer significant variety in creating your presentations. You can add on to this basic software with extensions and templates, which then will make the programs more comparable.

Translating documents from Microsoft Word to OpenOffice Writer and also the PowerPoint to Impress may create some formatting problems, but if the document is saved to MS format which is supported then you should not have any problems. From what I can see, the problems with formatting comes from opening documents that have not been saved or exported to a supported MS format.

I've also seen problems with Microsoft documents that have been created in newer Microsoft Office versions that would not open documents in older versions of Microsoft Office, notably from the docx. to the doc. What I found was that there is compatibility issues with Microsoft's own documents and software versions, especially the newer version in dealing with Office 2003 and older. The good news to know is that OpenOffice handled well and opened all of Microsoft documents regardless of version or extensions.

Another key point to consider is that these software suites are always being improved and updated. Microsoft updates its software live without having to download and install new versions. Apache's OpenOffice suite gives you notice of updates, but then you'll have to download and install the whole suite all over again. This is one point that is certain to annoy and here Microsoft has the edge.

The deciding factor when considering these two software packages is what your needs are. If your uses are more for business it would of course make more sense to stick with or choose Microsoft Office, because after all most businesses will also be using this and you'll be eliminating issues that arise with compatibility.

So, the bottom line is for business purposes Microsoft is the best option, but for everyone else, the personal, casual user to educational users, OpenOffice will be a wiser choice.

The old saying...‘if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is’ does not apply here. The key word being probably, because this old saying never meant to imply an absolute or definite, just the possibility or probability. With regards to OpenOffice it does not apply. This software suite is excellent and very underrated.

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