A fantastic free open source software is Open
Office set to rival MS Office Professional.
Constructed along the same lines as Microsoft's office productivity
suite, MS Office, Open Office has similar components, without the
hefty price tag.
- word processor: powerful enough to tackle desktop publishing
tasks such as creating multi-column newsletters and brochures.
- powerful spreadsheet to calculate, analyse, summarise, and present
your data in numerical reports or sizzling graphics. A fully-integrated
help system of sophisticated decision-making tools able to pull
in external data using the Data Pilot, sort it, filter it, and
produce subtotals and statistical analyses. Uses previews to select
from thirteen categories of 2-D and 3-D charts.
- to create multimedia presentations with special effects, animation
and high-impact drawing tools.
- to produce everything from simple diagrams to dynamic 3D illustrations
and special effects.
- manipulate database data seamlessly; modify tables, forms,
queries, and reports, either using your own database or Base's
own built-in HSQL database engine.
A key benefit is that OpenOffice is compatible with other major
office suites, meaning you can use it with your current documents.
Most of the time OpenOffice will open up documents created with
different office applications without a problem.
Being an "open-source" project means that that source
code--the human readable software code--that powers OpenOffice can
be altered and improved by any programmer. This is in sharp contrast
to Microsoft's closed-sourced policy; only Microsoft programmers
can make changes to MS Office. With OpenOffice's open-source nature,
more improvements and fixes can be implemented, as more people will
have access to OpenOffice's internals.
Versions and Installation of OpenOffice
The latest version of OpenOffice for Windows can be downloaded
There are also versions for Linux, Mac OS X and other operating
systems, as well as various language versions.
A fully-fledged office suite, the installation program weighs about
92.3 megabytes. Once you've got the installation package, run it
and go through each installation dialog. It is best just to accept
all the default settings when going through the install process.