Free Software Reviews – Open Office

These days, with our economic woes, everybody is looking to save money. Now is a perfect time to try some open source, fully free, downloadable software. There is no better place to start than Open Office, a free clone of the infamous Microsoft Office Suite of programs, which contains programs such as Excel, Word, and PowerPoint. What better way to soup up your cheap laptop but with some FREE software?

Now that you know Open Office is free, why spend the $ 150 it costs to buy MS Office? Then the periodic upgrades for $ 100 each time? Open Office also has free upgrades. Just download the latest version and you are set. Just like MS Office, Open Office is both multiplatform and multilingual. This means that Mac users, Linux users, Windows users, etc can all use this program free of charge. Maybe this will unite the world in peace and love! You can download the latest version 3.1, released in August 2009. Just pick your favorite web browser and search for “Open Office 3.1 download” and you will surely find many places to download this great piece of software. Now you can show off your cheap laptop proudly, because you have been smart and saved your pennies for, lets say a vacation.

Just like MS Office, you will find a word processor called Writer, a spreadsheet program called Calc, presentation software called Impress, and Base, the database manager. It does not have a clone for Outlook for reading email. With the newest release 3.1, anti-aliasing is used, making all images, text and menus look much sharper than previous versions. Also there has been buzz about this version running much faster than the previous versions, with programs taking half the time to load than before. You can now use extensions to add features to Open Office, such as adding spell check to your word processor (Writer). By downloading and adding LanguageTool, you will find spell checking a breeze.

Calc, the spreadsheet program, has been enhanced in the latest version of Open Office. Formulas now take less than half the time to compile compared to the previous version. This makes Calc a formidable opponent to the pricey MS Excel. Watch out Microsoft! Open source programming is breaking out!

Open Office’s PowerPoint clone, Impress, does not offer as many features as PowerPoint, but does do the minimum functionality that you would find in PowerPoint. If you are a heavy PowerPoint user, then Impress may not be the best choice for you.

For the budget conscious looking for cheap software for their cheap laptop, this is a no-brainer. Anyone who is tired of paying for the latest and greatest version of MS Office every few years, please do yourself a favor and give Open Office a try. I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

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