Apache OpenOffice

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Apache OpenOffice

A leading open-source office suite offering free productivity applications

4

Our rating: 

4

Pros & Cons:

Long standing support, includes Database application.
Java dependency requiring Java installation.

Our Review:

Apache OpenOffice is considered the father of open source freeware office products. OpenOffice has gone through a number of owners starting with StarDivision to Sun Microsystems, from Sun to Oracle, then finally from Oracle to Apache. Due to some elements of OpenOffice having Java dependency, a JRE (Java Runtime Environment) download is required directly from Oracle.

We found it difficult to get Base & Calc to fully work using the latest version (v7) of Java JRE and had to resort to a previous (v6 32bit only) in order to get it loaded without errors.

From all the office products available, OpenOffice (and it's variants) are the only ones offering a free database management application.

There are four main applications included with OpenOffice:

  1. Writer, a word processor that can import nearly all text file formats available, plus the ability for a direct PDF export. The interface is similar to Microsoft Office 2003 and with no 'ribbon' available.
  2. Calc, a spreadsheet that can import nearly all forms of spreadsheet formats. Within Calc there is support for scripting & macro's in the form of Basic, Javascript, Beanshell & even Python.
  3. Impress, a presentation application that can import ppt, pps, pptm, pptx presentation files. The layout is simple and stable enough.
  4. Base, a database management application that can create tables, forms, queries, reports, etc. It comes complete with Wizards to help transfer tables for forms etc.

All in OpenOffice is well rounded with a great support group and lots of help files and documentation. There is so much add-ons and file import & export formats that OpenOffice would be useful for both the novice users looking for a quick Wordpad alternative to Advanced users who can customize the source code for their own requirements.


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