Microsoft Office is the most famous office suite in the world and has managed to become a standard in the industry. Yeah, but can you download Office for free? No. Then, what alternatives are there for those people that need office tools at the always affordable price of absolutely nothing. Well, obviously Apache OpenOffice.
Free and open-source office suite
These are the hallmarks of this pack of applications that started off as StarOffice to be later acquired by Sun Microsystems and subsequently abandoned by Oracle (who had bought the company). Finally, Apache Software Foundation carried on developing it, a non-profit organization that supports different software projects.
Used in both academic and domestic environments thanks to its price.
What programs are included and what are their main features?
Now that you know what OpenOffice is all about, we can start telling you about the different applications that it integrates:
- A text processor called Writer: an equivalent to Microsoft Word. In other words, it allows us to create and edit texts, as well as formatting them or exporting documents to PDF or HTML without requiring additional software or anything else.
- Calc spreadsheets: similar to Excel or Lotus 1-2-3, it offers the inherent functions to this kind of program, as well as others not offered by Microsoft's tool, such as certain functions carried out with charts.
- Impress for presentations: the alternative to PowerPoint or Keynote can be found in the program that is capable of exporting presentation to SWF format, allowing them to be played on any device with Flash installed. Compatible with the PPT format and it can also generate PDF files.
- Base for databases: this program can be used to create and handle databases, forms, and other similar functions. The equivalent to Microsoft Office's Access.
- The graphical editor Draw: this is an image editor similar to Microsoft's Visio or CorelDRAW back then. It allows us to create flowcharts and has similar functions to Scribus and Microsoft Publisher.
- Math for maths formulas: this application allows us to create and edit maths equations using marker language.
Start to work immediately by customizing the software
One of its main advantages are the templates included by default in each tool, with which you'll be able to start working in a short period of time. Moreover, you can create your own customized templates and add them to the collection.
If you're concerned about the compatibility of this software with Microsoft Office, you have nothing to fear because it's totally compatible, thus you'll be able to import these files to OpenOffice and continue working with them freely. The formats are compatible.
What file formats does it work with?
It works with its own file formats that are compatible with other office suites. It can also open Microsoft's formats such as DOC, DOCX, PPTX, XLSX, etc., or export to PDF, HTML, SVG, and others. These are the file extensions for each tool:
- ODT and OTT for Writer.
- Impress works with ODP and OTP.
- ODS and OTS in Calc.
- Draw is compatible with ODI and OTI.
Which office suite is better? OpenOffice or LibreOffice?
Well, you have to know that some of the developers that previously worked on the project that now belongs to Apache and that abandoned the development due to disagreements with Oracle have created LibreOffice. The latter intends to be totally free and open-source, avoiding to attribute authorship to any company. Both applications are very similar, however, LibreOffice incorporates certain improvements and additional functions that advanced users will definitely know how to make the most of.
What's new in the latest version
- The OpenOffice SDK now works with Java 8.
- Bug fixes.
- Updates to dictionaries.