How many times have students tried to get out of writing a paper with the excuse “but I don’t have Microsoft Word!” Now, you can direct them to OpenOffice.org to get a free, legal replacement for M$ Office. It slices, it dices, it can save in .doc format, as well as PDF and its native .odt file.
It also serves as a great “swiss army knife” to open almost any obscure word processor file you can think of. All those kids who come in with no idea what word processor they used to do their homework, now you can take those janky files with a smile. MS Works? Check. Claris Works? Check. Office 2007 docx files? Check.
But is it REALLY as good as MS Office? It doesn’t have every function, but it does have an impressive selection, such that most users will not feel like they’re missing anything. I switched to OO.o a few years ago and have used it as my everyday word processor, even as a page layout tool, and it has never let me down.
A word of warning, though. One weak area is the presentation software which really is not competitive with PowerPoint. Now that I’m on the mac, I find the best value going is with the $79 iWork package which really blows the competition out of the water.
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