OpenOffice has been around for a long time although with the last release, it has gained significant ground in competing with Microsoft. Although OpenOffice doesn’t have all the bells and whistles that the $500 to $1,000 competitor does, OpenOffice does have many you might expect to pay for.
OpenOffice is what is termed open source meaning the code is available to anyone to contribute development and the resulting software is free for downloading and use. The software evolves as the programming public has time to volunteer for the work. While you might think that this slows down the development, in the end, it can develop a better product. Most contributors don’t waste time adding things because ‘marketing’ told them to. Most contributors are adding items because they are needed or wanted by the community in general.
OpenOffice has these traits with an included word processor, spreadsheet program, presentation program and database that all read and write Microsoft formats. The spreadsheet program has data base functions for a table of information, graphing and even conditional formatting of cells. The word processor has styles, lists and even comments that show up on the side of the margins for review. The presenation software just got overhauled and has much highger quality graphics capabilities. The version at the time of this writing (3.1) also has overhauled network locking to prevent overwriting of files in use on a shared network.
And did I already say that it was free? With the wealth of features, regular updates, ability to use Micros0ft files and the super pricetag, why not use it? A small business can save thousands of dollars by implementing this software over Microsoft.
I urge you to take a look.
by David Knoble, CPA, PLLC
Serving Non-Profits, Businesses & Individuals
Rock Hill, SC