Who should read this: Reader would want to know more about OpenOffice.org and what it is for. There are also links to learn more.

OpenOffice.org is a clone of Microsoft Office. OpenOffice.org cannot save or read the new Microsoft Office 2007 document formats, yet. It doesn’t even do everything Microsoft Office 2003 does but it does other things Microsoft Office doesn’t & some things it just does better. You can save & read many documents that were originally created in the Microsoft Office 2003 format. The conversion filters for Microsoft Office 2003 are not perfect. They are very good though. You can expect to partially reformat or even completely reformat some documents if the documents you are creating are very complex. Sharing documents between any Office-type suite can be a problem. (Opening a Corel WordPerfect document in Microsoft Word doesn’t work well either.)

OpenOffice.org is written by Sun Microsystems so it should be around for a while. Sun Microsystems is a very well liked company. They came up with Java, not coffee but the multi-platform programming standard, so you can be fairly sure updates will continue into the distant future. Most Linux-based system include OpenOffice.org for at least partial Windows compatibility. It gives Linux users a way to work together with Windows users resulting in less headaches.

Microsoft Word is replaced by Writer. Writer is very similar to Microsoft Word and for most features you can jump right in. Some things are moved around, some operate a bit different.  It’s nothing to complain about though.

Microsoft Excel is replaced by CalcCalc is so similar to Microsoft Excel that you can jump right in and get to work.

Microsoft Powerpoint is replaced by Impress. Impress might take a minute to adjust to but there are plenty of templates and wizards to get started. Also you can export your presentations to a .PDF file.  I  love that feature and makes e-mailing copies of the presentations a breeze.

In any case, you can even use OpenOffice.org to export files to a read-only .PDF format to preserve formatting in all the OpenOffice.org applications.  If a Microsoft user needs to edit your OpenOffice.org documents, they can run OpenOffice.org along side any Microsoft Office product. Best of all OpenOffice.org is FREE to download and use.

OpenOffice.org includes Base instead of Microsoft Access.  I wouldn’t expect much compatibility here.  Base uses an HSQLDB database by default. Microsoft Access generally uses an Access/Jet or Microsoft SQL database.  They are not easily compatible but it is said that it can be done.

OpenOffice.org does not come with an equivalent to Microsoft OutlookEvolution gives Linux users the look and feel of Microsoft Outlook for free.

Download Evolution for Microsoft Windows to begin using a powerful alternative to Microsoft Outlook Express. If you aren’t already using Microsoft Outlook then Evolution is worth a try. Evolution has an integrated contact manager, calendar, memos & task list just like Microsoft Outlook.


  1. OpenOffice.org 3 supposedly supports reading (but not saving) Office 2007 files. I don’t know; I still have the Ubuntu-supplied 2.3, personally.

    I was writing a paper with OpenOffice.org (it’s supposed to have charts and diagrams, for which I used Calc and Dia, respectively). It works pretty well, but it is buggy. Writer crashed on me a few times, and Calc has some severe painting issues. Base did pretty well also, but I couldn’t figure out how to embed a database form into Writer (so I just settled on a table).

    If I were to suggest improvements for OpenOffice.org: rewrite the Java parts in a reasonably efficient language (like C) and make it faster (it probably wouldn’t have so many performance problems if it weren’t for all the Java).

    Also, Java isn’t a standard. There has to be some authority for something to be a standard. Platform would be a better word.

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