Apache Open Of­fice

Tech Advisor - - Round-Up -

Price: Free from fave.co/2BJxg9C Plat­form: Win­dows, Mac, Linux

Open Of­fice was the first le­git­i­mate free con­tender to Microsoft Of­fice, though it has ceded that spot­light in re­cent years to al­ter­na­tives like Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides, and its own spin-off prod­uct Li­breOf­fice. The open source suite in­cludes word processing (Write), spread­sheets (Calc), pre­sen­ta­tion (Im­press), and data­base man­age­ment (Base) pro­grams, along with draw­ing and math apps that don’t have a direct Microsoft corol­lary. It works with most Microsoft for­mats in­clud­ing DOCX, XLS, PPT, and XML.

Hands on

If you still re­mem­ber how Microsoft Of­fice looked circa 2003, Open Of­fice’s in­ter­face will seem eerily fa­mil­iar. The com­po­nent pro­grams make no con­ces­sions to the trendy rib­bon in­ter­face, us­ing only old-school menus and tool­bars. That’s good news if you’re still sore over Microsoft’s decade-old UI makeover, but it can take some read­just­ing if you’re now ac­cus­tomed to tab­bing around your doc­u­ment and spread­sheet pro­grams.

By de­fault, Open Of­fice uses the Open Doc­u­ment stan­dard for na­tive files, but you can change it to save to Microsoft for­mats, and it can read and write ex­ist­ing Word, Ex­cel, and Pow­erPoint files. It does so flaw­lessly most of the time, even with com­plexly for­mat­ted doc­u­ments like re­sumes and multi-col­umn news­let­ters. Oc­ca­sion­ally, it will hic­cup as when it re­moved all the em­bed­ded im­ages from a Word

doc­u­ment I had open. But those in­stances usu­ally only re­quire mi­nor tweaks to cor­rect. You can also ex­port files to PDF from all three pro­grams.

Where Open Of­fice di­verges from Microsoft’s pro­duc­tiv­ity suite is in col­lab­o­ra­tion. MS Of­fice’s tight in­te­gra­tion with OneDrive and Out­look lets you eas­ily share and work on files with oth­ers with­out leav­ing the re­spec­tive pro­gram. Open Of­fice sup­ports doc­u­ment re­view fea­tures like com­ment­ing and track-changes, but it has no na­tive cloud stor­age or email pro­gram. It does, how­ever, of­fer an ex­ten­sion that lets you con­nect to dozens of third-party cloud stor­age providers in­clud­ing Box and Google Drive, and the Open Of­fice pro­grams can be con­fig­ured to work with se­lect open­source email clients such as Mozilla Thun­der­bird.

Stand­out fea­tures

Ex­cel­lent Microsoft Of­fice com­pat­i­bil­ity Fa­mil­iar, Microsoft-like in­ter­face

Miss­ing fea­tures

Na­tive cloud stor­age and email sup­port Mo­bile apps

Apache Open Of­fice is best for:

If you just need to work with Microsoft Of­fice for­mats, and you don’t mind a dated in­ter­face, Open Of­fice has all the com­pre­hen­sive for­mat­ting and func­tion­al­ity you need. If you need to col­lab­o­rate with oth­ers on those files, though, there are other of­fice al­ter­na­tives that make it much eas­ier.

Open Of­fice has ex­cel­lent com­pat­i­bil­ity with Of­fice for­mats and can ex­port to PDF from all three apps

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