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Open Office vs. Office 2010

Monday, November 7th, 2011 by | Filed Under: MS Office Help, OpenOffice
 
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Virginia from AR asks:

Is Open Office a different program than Office 2010?

Several differences, actually.

In this corner… the reigning “champeen”; the Office program used by… well… almost everyone.  Weighing in at 94 to 313 pounds (that’s 150 to 500 U S dollars)… OFFICE 2010!

In this corner… the scrappy young challenger… weighing in at 0 pounds (that’s FREE in U S Dollars)… it’s OPEN OFFICE!

Open Office is a Microsoft Office compatible office program put out by Oracle, the people who brought you Java.  The best selling point as I mentioned above is that Open Office is absolutely free.  The programs in the suite are Open Office Base (compatible with Microsoft Access, only included in the $500 Office Professional or as a stand-alone program for $140), Calc (compatible with Excel, included in all versions of Office), Draw (compatible with Paint, included with all versions of Windows), Impress (compatible with Power Point, included in all versions of Office), Math (an advanced version of the calculator included with all versions of Windows) and Writer (compatible with Word, included with all versions of Office).  I’ll use Writer and Word as my examples here since, as a freelance writer, I am the most familiar with those programs.

A document created in Writer can be saved as everything from an Open Office Writer document (.ODT) to Microsoft Word 2003 XML document (.XML).

A Microsoft Office document, on the other hand, gives you a few more options for saving, including several web page options and Adobe PDF.

Another big difference, at least as far as I’m concerned, is the interface.  I, for one, staunchly refused to upgrade my Office suite from Office 2003 until this year.  Why?  Because with Office 2007 Microsoft introduced an “upgrade” to their program called the “Ribbon Interface”.  This replaced their long-standing and easy to use “menu interface” with something that, as near as I can tell, was designed entirely by programmers and focus groups without consulting with a single user.

Now, I WILL admit that, having used the “ribbon” interface for nearly six months… I still see no real advantage over the menu interface, and still get frustrated trying to find things that I’ve known how to find for ten years.  It’s a little like getting a new roommate who immediately decides that they have to “organize” your apartment.  Whether you want them to or not.

This is a definite advantage of Open Office over Office.  They have not, as of yet, adopted the “ribbon” interface, and maintain the good old-fashioned menu interface that we all know and love.

So those are the high points.  For price and ease of use, I give it to Open Office.  For power and versatility I still have to go with good old Microsoft Office.

Hope this helps.

~Randal Schaffer

 

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4 Responses to “Open Office vs. Office 2010”

  1. Bill Leach says:

    Wow! First review at WS where I have ever had a “bone to pick!” First, while Oracle created Open Office, Apache Org is now the developer.

    Open Office will most definitely create PDF files. In fact Open Office was able to do that long before MSOffice had the ability (without Adobe Pro installed of course). In addition, Open Office provide some fairly decent ability to EDIT PDF files.

    Finally, failing to mention that there are 2 free office suites is a serious short-fall in this article. A significant portion of the Open Office developer group broke off and formed Libre Office is a serious short coming. Libre Office is arguably more powerful and better than Open Office.

    Personally, I have both free software suites and personally prefer Libre Office but have no qualms about recommending Open Office also.

  2. Mark says:

    Personally after having used the ribbon for several months and gotten accustomed to it I like it better, I find it easier to use then the old clunky menu interface. But “to each his own”.

  3. Mark says:

    Bill there is a third office suite based on the Open Office base code it is Symphony from IBM I like the interface better than Open Office which has a hacker sort of look and feel. I have never tried Libre Office but I have heard of it maybe I will give it a shot.

    BTW if you are going to chastise the author for not knowing what organization currently maintains Open Office then you should get the original developing organization correct. Open Office was originally Star Office from Sun. Sun was eventually bought by Oracle but long after Sun had turned Star Office over to the open source community and let them change it to Open Office, Oracle was not involved.

  4. Ron007 says:

    I agree with you that the Ribbon is clunky. But it wasn’t designed without user input. The opposite is true. There was too much “user input”. The collected usage stats from millions of use sessions. Thinks of it as one of the ultimate examples of design by committee … . Unfortunately the design is intended for NEW users (new BUYERS) of Office. It almost totally ignores those of us who invested many years of time and money learning the menu system.

    If you want more insight into the development of the ribbon, take a look at this page of links to blogs about the ribbon by some of the ribbon developers.

    Jensen Harris: An Office User Interface Blog – http://blogs.msdn.com/b/jensenh/archive/2008/03/12/table-of-contents.aspx This is an organized Table Of Contents to a large collection of links to MS Dev Team Blogs about the design and building of the 2007 ribbon. A LOT of reading, but interesting to understand the underlying (il)logic of the Ribbon

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