Alternatives to Microsoft Office?


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I have been switching over from an old laptop to a new one. I decided not to load Microsoft Office on my new laptop just yet. I decided to test out the free Open Office as well as Microsoft Live’s online and free version of Microsoft Office.

My intent is to see if I can have similar productivity without the expense of Microsoft Office on my laptop. Here is my preliminary report.

Open Office, which has a wordprocessor, presentation maker, spread sheet, and an Access-like database, actually works quite nicely. It lacks some of the latest Office features (like smart drawings in PowerPoint), but my sense is so far is that I can produce publication quality reports. The major challenge so far is converting some Word documents to Open Office.

I am using Microsoft Office 7 and the bar graphs I create in Word or Excel do not show up in converted documents.  This is a hassle of course in bringing work over to Open Office but also is a problem if clients or others send me Word files with bar graphs. Right now I am working around that by uploading such Microsoft Word or Excel files to the online version of Microsoft Office and so far that all works just fine.

Until Open Office catches up to some of the excellent features in Microsoft Office, this file conversion issue is a drawback, but I think this is mostly about changing over and will become less of an issue over time.  So I am going to stick with it a bit longer and see if I end up switching over for good.

Stay tuned.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Mark Holmgren
Mark Holmgren Consulting
Mark Holmgren is committed to helping non profit organizations and local governments build capacities for new visions. Mark does this through the provision of custom designed strategic services that fit an organization's culture as well as its aspirations.


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