A simple software package with a slight learning curve
Apache OpenOffice is a complete productivity suite, advertised to be ideal for both users who are tech-savvy and those who only use their computer from time to time. The package comes with six different programs, each doing a different service and appropriate for many types of users. Writer is a word processor, Calc creates numerical reports, Impress is for slideshows and presentations, Draw for art, diagrams, and graphs, Base for the organization of data using forms and tables, and Math for the creation of mathematical equations. OpenOffice would be the program to have on desktops in the workplace for a variety of different fields, from engineering and finance to the freelance artist. The software is also helpful for those looking to use it for everyday tasks like organizing shopping lists, calculating current spending for the household, or planning a party.
Software to improve the efficiency of the home and the workplace
Edit documents, spreadsheets, slides, and databases with a single program
Apache OpenOffice includes several tools for different purposes: Writer, Calc, Impress, Draw, Math, and Base.
Writer is ideal for someone who is looking to create documents from drafting an essay to writing a novel. It has a straightforward, simple layout and for those who aren't looking to incorporate any special tools like a word counter or inserting clipart, you could immediately start using the program with no issue. If you're a user who is well versed in software for editorial use and likes to edit margins, convert the document into a PDF, or add footnotes, using Writer will be incredibly easy, but only really contains basic tools that you'll need to make a good draft.
To put it plainly, Calc is for spreadsheets. For those who are not familiar with creating spreadsheets, this is where it gets a little less user-friendly. There is an option to use Templates, but really all that is available are different presets to make presentations look a little more interesting, like changing the colors of the cells. Other functions include creating formulas by choosing keywords, multiple cell formatting options, and the intelligent sum button which is handy and will save you a few clicks.
Beginners in creating slideshows will get a lot of use out of Impress. The program comes with a slew of basic slideshow templates that you can choose from, and you can visit the OpenOffice website for an extended catalog of options. You can also insert 2D and 3D clipart if you would like to make your own slideshow template from scratch. You can add animations and small effects to your slides and change the speed of the effects as well.
Create flyers, invitations, and other things with Draw. Draw is not on the same level as Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop, but making an announcement to send to friends and family with this software would be ideal. The tools available are pretty conservative; you can add text, shapes, and clipart from the gallery to create a diagram, and you have a space of 300cmx300cm to design a poster. Save your graphics and convert them into a number of different formats including JPEG, PNG, and GIF.
Math is an application that you're able to use in conjunction with any of the programs in OpenOffice. It works as a calculator and can be opened in Writer and saved as an object like any picture or clipart that you would add.
Base creates databases that can be used to create lists, keep track of things like inventory, collections of books, art, and many other items that you would create tables for. Creating a database isn't as common as creating a spreadsheet or text document, so it will most likely take some research as OpenOffice doesn't have a tutorial for how to use Base. Once you have an idea of how to create a database, you'll see that it's relatively simple, but the options for adding dropdown menus, graphics, and customizing the aesthetic are very limited.
Where can you run this program?
According to the OpenOffice website, the software can be run on all major platforms. Specifically, you must have Windows XP, 2003, Vista, 7, 8, or 10, GNU/Linux x86 or x86-64, or Mac OS X, x86-64 only. OpenOffice ran smoothly on Windows 10 with no issues, all graphics, tables, slideshows, and clipart displayed in all of the programs without error. There was no loading time for any of the applications. OpenOffice is not available for mobile device, tablet, smart television or any other smart device.
Is there a better alternative?
Microsoft's Office 365 would be the best alternative for this software. It includes everything that Apache OpenOffice has but has more options and a more updated and modern aesthetic. It is more user-friendly as the software includes tutorials and with a subscription, updates automatically. Office 365 is also available on not just your desktop but tablets and mobile devices as well, so you can use it anywhere and take it with you while you're traveling. Another excellent and free option would be Google Drive, which includes Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms, and Drawings. Write a story, create lists, numerical spreadsheets and more and download them to your desktop, mobile app, or email them to friends, family, or coworkers. Invite others to view documents and they can highlight and add notes to specific sections. Anyone with access to the documents can edit them at the same time for optimum productivity.
Apache OpenOffice is ideal for those who don't mind not having all the bells and whistles that come with software for newer technology. This suite is for people who have older computers and the patience to use the extra steps with functions that newer software does for you
Should you download it?
Not really. This is not software that we would recommend. It is outdated and not very user-friendly, as it assumes that most already know how to use it. The software is extremely basic, and seems like it would be something that would come already installed in earlier versions of the Windows OS - think Notepad, Wordpad, and Microsoft Paint. Using Base could be frustrating as it is not software that the everyday user would utilize, and there are alternatives that would take care of most of the work for you. It's useful for learning what a database is and the functions at a beginner level if you're a student or in a compatible career field.
- Good for learning
- Good for beginners to productivity software
- Basic application layouts
- Some software requires some prior knowledge