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Thread: OpenOffice vs. MS-Office suites

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    OpenOffice vs. MS-Office suites

    My office is due for a serious technology upgrade. There's only three of us, but we're running 2006 Dell desktops with WindowsXP and MS-Office 2007.

    Since I'm a fiscally responsible public servant, I'm considering replacing our desktop systems with refurbs. And I'm also considering making the switch to freeware for our office functionality. Right now, we use Outlook, Work, and Excel for basic correspondence and document creation, and a menu-driven Access database (built in 1997-98).

    Does anybody have any experience with Apache or other open source office software? Any advice or warnings about making a switch?

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    Re: OpenOffice vs. MS-Office suites

    I've used OpenOffice or LibreOffice (both are basically the same) on my home computers for years - I've had no major issues. You can save the files in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc., formats so you can forward them to other folks. I would definitely suggest using it. My only complaint is that it the files take up a lot of memory sometimes and slows down my computer (granted its an old computer with not a lot of space - I think my phone has more GB).

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    Re: OpenOffice vs. MS-Office suites

    I use LibreOffice, fairly regular updates and easy to use.

    There are plenty of guides on making the switch to open-source software.

    Libre/OpenOffice does not have an Outlook equivalent at this time, I don't think.

    This is also a good link.

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    Re: OpenOffice vs. MS-Office suites

    I used Thunderbird as an Outlook alternative - but with Cellphones & webmail & working in a office not a home, I've deleted it. You had to use add-ons to have calendar.

    Zimbra looks good as an Outlook alternative - powered by Yahoo & Mozilla

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    Re: OpenOffice vs. MS-Office suites

    I recently downloaded Kingsoft Office and am really impressed so far. It's from a Chinese company, but I used a Kingsoft dictionary program a few years ago that was pretty decent.

    In some ways Kingsoft Office borrows heavily from MS Office, but it also has some novel features, like tabs for navigating multiple open documents. There is a good CNet review on it.
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    Re: OpenOffice vs. MS-Office suites

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian96 View Post
    I recently downloaded Kingsoft Office and am really impressed so far. It's from a Chinese company, but I used a Kingsoft dictionary program a few years ago that was pretty decent.

    In some ways Kingsoft Office borrows heavily from MS Office, but it also has some novel features, like tabs for navigating multiple open documents. There is a good CNet review on it.
    My experience with Kingsoft was through their Android app. Didn't really impress me but then again it simply wasn't what I needed so I didn't really look further.

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    Re: OpenOffice vs. MS-Office suites

    I have used Open Office when I had to open an WORD file someone sent me. It's better than WORD because at least it will open all versions of WORD documents and several other formats. Anything is better than WORD (well, except something called APPLE WRITER on an old Apple III computer where you had to know the old ASCII key strokes). I used to think Word Perfect was so much better than anything else but now it's gotten to be mouse oriented, too, and now it's just what I'm used to (I use Corel Suite 8 which isn't the latest). Of course it's not free. But to reiterate, I think Open Office is serviceable.

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    Re: OpenOffice vs. MS-Office suites

    With the new LO version, the formatting between Excel/Calc and Word/Writer is almost indistinguishable, but there are still issues going between PowerPoint and Impress.

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    Re: OpenOffice vs. MS-Office suites

    I have MS-Office at home, but I got for $10 through the government employee program. You might see if there is a discount program for your branch of government.

    I have used both and simply prefer MS since that is what I use at work. OO is OK and does an acceptable job. If your office uses it everyday, they should get used to it and then MS would seem a little "different". I have not noticed any compatibility problems or issues.

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    Re: OpenOffice vs. MS-Office suites

    Thanks for the feedback, everyone. We've been test driving OpenOffice the last few days and everyone seems to like it well enough. (Nobody misses the MS "ribbons".)

    We do, however, use an MS Access database to track building permits. (I'm a zoning officer for those who don't know.) And whenever we need to create a new permit, we enter the new data into a menu, then push a button, and out pops a Word document. And we rely pretty heavily on this one little macro, as issuing building permits is our office's primary mission.

    But, wouldn't ya know, this sort of inter-program macro does not have an equivalent in any of the open source suites. So I'm trying to decide if this is a deal breaker, or just a sticking point that will require some level of inconvenience to work around.

    To distill the question further ... Is the cost of MS Office justified by its smooth inter-program functionality?

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    Re: OpenOffice vs. MS-Office suites

    I find the save function, etc. in the Open Office Excel clone is fouled up when importing some Excel files ... it'll save, but takes 60+ seconds vs 3. Probably will discover some more issues this week.

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    Re: OpenOffice vs. MS-Office suites

    Quote Originally Posted by Champ967 View Post
    Thanks for the feedback, everyone. We've been test driving OpenOffice the last few days and everyone seems to like it well enough. (Nobody misses the MS "ribbons".)

    We do, however, use an MS Access database to track building permits. (I'm a zoning officer for those who don't know.) And whenever we need to create a new permit, we enter the new data into a menu, then push a button, and out pops a Word document. And we rely pretty heavily on this one little macro, as issuing building permits is our office's primary mission.

    But, wouldn't ya know, this sort of inter-program macro does not have an equivalent in any of the open source suites. So I'm trying to decide if this is a deal breaker, or just a sticking point that will require some level of inconvenience to work around.

    To distill the question further ... Is the cost of MS Office justified by its smooth inter-program functionality?
    I've been using LO so long that I can barely use the ribbon, which is terrible.

    You bring up a good point about inter-program functionality. My instinct is that what you're asking can absolutely be done, just you'll need someone with experience programming OO. It has a different macro language than Word (Word uses VB which I hate to admit is pretty good).

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    Re: OpenOffice vs. MS-Office suites

    Quote Originally Posted by Champ967 View Post
    Thanks for the feedback, everyone. We've been test driving OpenOffice the last few days and everyone seems to like it well enough. (Nobody misses the MS "ribbons".)

    We do, however, use an MS Access database to track building permits. (I'm a zoning officer for those who don't know.) And whenever we need to create a new permit, we enter the new data into a menu, then push a button, and out pops a Word document. And we rely pretty heavily on this one little macro, as issuing building permits is our office's primary mission.

    But, wouldn't ya know, this sort of inter-program macro does not have an equivalent in any of the open source suites. So I'm trying to decide if this is a deal breaker, or just a sticking point that will require some level of inconvenience to work around.

    To distill the question further ... Is the cost of MS Office justified by its smooth inter-program functionality?
    I've never been able to overcome the learning curve that stands between me and an Access database. That said, I'd be surprised if there is no way to get to your desired end-point with Base, or even a more hearty database program. Do you then need to edit the Word document, or is it meant to be printed?
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    Re: OpenOffice vs. MS-Office suites

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian96 View Post
    I've never been able to overcome the learning curve that stands between me and an Access database. That said, I'd be surprised if there is no way to get to your desired end-point with Base, or even a more hearty database program. Do you then need to edit the Word document, or is it meant to be printed?
    When I click the macro, the data magically jumps from access to word to the printer all in one motion. No additional editing necessary.

    That kind of seamless integration will spoil ya.

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    Re: OpenOffice vs. MS-Office suites

    No doubt.

    As for myself and my job, I have both installed on my PC, and I choose to use OO.

    Don't put your trust in anyone on this forum, including me. You are the key to your own success.

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