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Should You Use Open Office?

open-office Many computer users have heard of Open Office, titled “The Free and Open Productivity Suite.” It certainly has its benefits: you have the ability to do word processing, spreadsheets, make presentations and even PDFs. In today’s economic climate, with budgets getting tighter every day, choosing Open Office seems like an easy decision. Or is it?

There are many things you can do in Open Office. You can write letters, documents, presentations, files, spreadsheets, PDFs and more. It’s ideal for business or home computer use. This is a high octane program that keeps delivering each and every time.

While Open Office is compatible with Microsoft Word, and typically users should be able to open your documents – not every recipient wishes to accept Open Office documents. To be fair, some recipients don’t want to accept other types of documents like Microsoft Word docx documents or other formats. But the biggest challenge in choosing Open Office is that you’ll only be able to send your documents in this format. Whereas if you send them using another word processing suite like Microsoft Word, typically you’ll be offered some options in the “Save As” mode so you can save the document in a different method. Having your documents reach the recipient are critical for any situation and realizing that there may be times your documents are not accepted in that format is something important to know. Try to have a backup plan so you can send your documents in a different format.

Open Office is very popular because it is easy to use. Users have described Open Office as an “intuitive” program, and many describe it as similar to Microsoft Word. So if you have used Microsoft Word, you will likely find the transition easy to Open Office. This is a great convenience when choosing Open Office for your computing needs. The layout is clear, bright and easy to understand with simple and very practical looking graphics to help you with your word processing or other needs.

A tight budget might be one of the top reasons to choose Open Office as your word processing and “Productivity Suite.” But many stay for the different functions. The ability to make your own PDF documents easily is a function you don’t see in every “suite” offered today. For a no charge program, it certainly offers a lot.

Any computer software user wonders about what type of “tech support” is offered. At Open Office there are a variety of options. There is a Wiki that people contribute to, there is a forum where you can ask and answer questions and there are other ways to find support for your Open Office questions and needs. From what we have seen, it looks like questions are answered by fellow, enthusiastic users of Open Office and not paid staff. While your questions may get answered, there is a difference between a volunteer and a paid employee spending a specific amount of time each day at a task. This may be a challenge – then again may not, depending on the individual situation – to the Open Office user looking for that answer to a question to help them with their computing needs. There’s something to be said for passion about a subject – but also something to be said for a part time or full time employee who punches a time clock each day vs. a volunteer who visits a forum when they feel like it.

Millions of people use Open Office every day, and you may become one of them too. It is easy to use, convenient and best of all – free! Visit www.openoffice.org to learn more about this great computer software program available for everyone.

About the author


Vikram is a Digital Media Strategy Consultant who helps small business owners grow their
business. He is passionate about blogging, digital marketing, and emerging technologies.

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