Apache OpenOffice - Your Free Productivity Suite Alternative
When you say you are looking for an office suite, the first thing that comes to your mind is probably Microsoft Office. And who wouldn’t? Microsoft Office is arguably the most widely used office suite today. Most business nowadays uses this collection of software in their day to day production. However, for a fledgling business, forking out cash for Microsoft Office can put a strain into their capital. Fortunately, there are some inexpensive alternatives out there. Apache OpenOffice is one of these alternatives. This open-source office software suite provides nearly the same services that Microsoft Office offers. From word processing, spreadsheet, and presentations to graphics and database, this suite can be of great help to your business productivity.
Software Design and Usability
Apache OpenOffice is considered to be the original contender for Microsoft Office. But, over the years and with the existence of other alternatives like Google Docs, Sheets and Slides, Office Online, and its own spin-off LibreOffice, the software has ceded the spotlight. However, in recent years, Apache OpenOffice has started to emerge once more, tallying an impressive number of 100 million downloads in 2014.
Apache OpenOffice started as a single piece of software. It contains all the office software you will need in one single package. You no longer need to decide which version to install in your device as it provides everything in one installation. The app is beginner-friendly and makes full use of what you already know when it comes to office suites. Because it is a single piece of software, what you learn in one application works in another. It has a context-sensitive help that works across all applications. You don’t have to guess which application would work for your task. Apache OpenOffice will correct it instantly if ever you used incorrect software.
Being open-source software, Apache OpenOffice uses a no secret approach. Anyone can report problems and request enhancements, and see the response from other users or the developers. Reports on current and future releases are displayed publicly so you can decide whether to update your installed software or not.
But what users would like the most about Apache OpenOffice is that it is compatible with most common office software packages. If you have documents created on Microsoft Office, you don’t need to re-type it on your Apache OpenOffice app. The software can read these files instantly, and with high accuracy, so you can open them without losing any data.
Like most open-source applications, downloading Apache OpenOffice costs nothing. You can download and install the app on your device without shelling any money. Updates and latest versions are also free of charge. What’s more, the extensions that this suite supports are also free of charge, so you can add more tools without additional cost. This will be of great help especially to those starting businesses who need productivity suites in their day to day production.
Aside from the pricing, another advantage that Apache OpenOffice has against its competitors is licensing. OpenOffice comes with looser licensing requirements that allow you to install unlimited copies around the office or at home. You can download and install the software on as many devices as you like. The open source code that OpenOffice used also lets you customize your programs to your personal or business needs. You can improve how the program works and even use the codes to create a change and release them for the public to use.
However, because of the open source code, it makes all your documents exposed to potential hackers. The code can be accessed by almost anyone that it may pose a threat to your security and privacy. To avoid such problems, you would need to follow standard security procedures including installing and maintaining firewalls, anti-spyware, and antivirus software.
vs. Microsoft Office
As mentioned, Apache OpenOffice is a stiff competitor of Microsoft Office. But how does it differ from it? Perhaps the first similarities and differences you will find in both office suites are the programs included in it. Both suites contain word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, and data management programs. However, Apache OpenOffice also comes with drawing and Math apps that don’t have a direct corollary in Microsoft Office. In return, Apache OpenOffice does not have a handy desktop publishing application that the latter has.
When it comes to interface, Apache OpenOffice can eerily remind you of how Microsoft Office look back in 2003. But, while Microsoft Office has improved its basic tools to use the ribbon toolbar interface, Apache OpenOffice still uses old-school menus and toolbars that steadfast Office 2003 supporters love. This traditional interface look makes it easy for Office users to make a switch to OpenOffice.
Some of the basic editing tools in Microsoft Office can also be found in Apache OpenOffice. It can also track changes and add comments to any documents. While Microsoft Office Word comes with built-in grammar tools, OpenOffice users would need to install extensions to provide grammar checking. Microsoft Spreadsheet packages also tend to offer more flexibility and control in contrast to the spreadsheet program of OpenOffice.
But, while Apache OpenOffice supports document review, it has no native cloud storage. You cannot share and work on files with other users. In response to the lack of native cloud storage, Apache OpenOffice offers extensions that let you connect to other third-party cloud storage providers like Box and Google Drive. This allows you to share documents with other users without sending them as an email attachment. Additionally, users can configure Apache OpenOffice programs to work with select open-source email clients like Mozilla Thunderbird.
Microsoft Office may be the staple program when it comes to productivity suites, but Apache OpenOffice can be a strong contender. It has all the comprehensive functionality and features that you may need. The software packages come in a straightforward interface that is easy to use. It can even read files from other applications. It also allows customizations and lets you modify your system to suit your needs. Above all, you can download the packages for free, and without limitations. So, when you are looking for a new office online suite or wanting a cost-efficient alternative, you know what to look for.