How many times have you spent hundreds or even thousands on new computer equipment, only to find out that you now have to spend hundreds more in order to be able to do something as simple as type a letter? For years, when it came to a quality, usability, and compatibility, Microsoft was the only game in town, and we had no choice but to buy their product.
Today, that is no longer the case. While Microsoft still makes a quality Office product, there are some options that can save you thousands of dollars, especially if you have multiple computers in your home or office. I would recommend that you take a look at Open Office before you make your next office productivity purchase. The latest versions have really grown up, and they now compete directly with the usability of Microsoft Office.
One of the biggest advantages of Open Office is the price. Open Office is free to use on as many computers as you would like (although they do accept donations). There are no limitations for its use (private, educational, government, personal, commercial, etc.). You can also feel free to pass it along to any family or friends with no worries about copyright violations.
Update: Since the posting of this article Open Office for Mac OSX is available for all the MAC users.
Open Office Writer functions just as Microsoft Word, and Calc functions just like Excel. You can save any document you current in Writer as a Microsoft Word .doc file if you like and the same goes for Calc, you can save your Calc spread sheets as a Excel .xls and open them as well. The software works well across multiple platforms, and it has extensive language support. All of the components of Open Office have a similar look and feel, which makes them easy to learn to use and master. This is a big improvement over previous versions. Another big improvement is that all of the components of Open Office are now integrated with each other. All of the components now share a single spell checker and other tools are also used consistently across the whole suite. You do not need to know which tool created a file in order to open it (for example, a Draw file can be opened from Writer). In most cases, options can be set globally across all components, but they can also be set at the component or even at the document level. Open office also uses an open source XML format, which allows files created to be opened by any text editor.
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