Disputes around free office packages do not stop, subsiding and renewing with a new force. Some people argue that free software cannot be of high quality. They are opposed by supporters of free office programs saying that there is no point in paying for a powerful software product if there is no need to use its capabilities at full capacity. In any case, the widespread Microsoft Office package now has worthy alternatives. And it’s good that each user has a choice of which software to install on his computer and how to use it.
OpenOffice is, according to generally accepted terminology, a free alternative to a rather expensive set of office applications – Microsoft Office.
The development of OpenOffice software is carried out by programmers from the global independent and non-profit organization Apache Software Foundation, and free software supporters from around the world have contributed to the creation of all these tools.
The OpenOffice office suite includes the following software:
- The writer is a powerful, feature-rich word processor. With it, you can create and edit text documents of any level – from a simple letter to a full-fledged book, with a cover, a table of contents and formatting pages for printing;
- Calc is an alternative to Microsoft Excel. This tabular editor is designed to work with digital data, accounting documents, and financial statements. It allows you to convert tables and databases into visual graphs and charts. It has a large number of standard templates and wide opportunities for individual modification. Some experts say that Calc is much better than its proprietary Excel equivalent for ease of use and degree of automation;
- Impress is a powerful and fast tool for creating effective multimedia presentations;
- The draw is a multifunctional graphics vector editor that allows you to create both simple diagrams and dynamic 3D illustrations;
- A base is a tool for creating various databases, tables, forms of merging documents, questionnaires, reports, and any documents containing variables. And all this is in full integration with other types of documents within the OpenOffice suite;
- Math is a tool for working with mathematical formulas in a graphical user interface environment. It allows you to print any formulas in the same way as entering text information.
The LibreOffice package is free software with which you can organize all types of office work. This package includes free analogs of the most common programs: Writer, Calc, Spreadsheet Editor, Draw Vector Graphics Editor, Impress Presenter, Math Formula Editor, and Base Database Management System. Text documents of any complexity, all types of tabular calculations, high-quality presentations, creation and maintenance of a database – all this you can manage in the frames of the LibreOffice package.
From the point of view of a simple user, the LibreOffice package is not much different from the well-known Office programs. It is easy to learn how to work in it, and a person who has experience with Microsoft Office can freely solve his everyday tasks with the help of LibreOffice after three or four lessons.
The undoubted advantages of this package include its compatibility with DOC and RTF files. If a user has a large folder of text documents, spreadsheets, and presentations that are made in MS Office, then all of them can be opened, edited and printed in the LibreOffice package. And, ultimately, looking at a piece of paper, it is impossible to determine exactly which program was used to create this document.
WPS Office is another versatile Office suite that a user can get for free. It includes the word processor ‘Writer’, the spreadsheet editor ‘Spreadsheets’ and the presentation editor ‘Presentation’. The package name consists of the initial letters of these three programs.
The package interface is made in all tools in the same style and resembles a popular office suite. Therefore, when switching to WPS Office, you do not need to get used to the new controls. Moreover, the newer versions have the ability to quickly change the style of the interface, choosing from three options: ‘Classic’, ‘Exquisite’ and ‘Blue Water’.
Conveniently, each document opens in a separate tab, and it allows you to quickly switch between them. There is also a document backup feature and cloud storage.
The package has a PDF converter that supports the export of files created in PDF and popular Office formats. WPS is free to open and works with documents created in Microsoft Word (.doc, .docx), Excel (.xls, .xlsx) and PowerPoint (.ppt, .pptx). The tabular processor has built-in macros and formulas.
As you can see, the choice of office packages capable of replacing the glorious Microsoft Office is quite wide. Yes, some of the features of this product are still unique, but as the statistics say, very few users use them. Other people can be satisfied by one of the programs proposed in this review, which can be used for free and completely legally.