Open Office Is Free Alternative to Microsoft Office

By Gary Arrington | Jan 06, 2013
Source: Apache Open Office website

If you work in an office and use a computer, chances are you've had a least some exposure to Microsoft® Office. According to Tom Warren with Win Rumors (, MS Office 2010 is the fastest selling productivity software in the world, with one copy being sold every second. And it has been the number one selling software product in the U.S. for eight years in a row. MS Office has become the industry standard software for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, email and a host of other applications.

But what if you're a student, or running a business from your home, or retired, and just can't justify the expense of purchasing MS Office for $120 - $350?

One alternative is to download the totally free Apache Open Office. Open Office consists of six modules for managing your business tasks. About the only thing you won't find in this productivity suite is an email/calendar program like Outlook, but there are other free alternatives available.  

Best of all, Open Office will let you read and save files in all the popular MS Office formats and, if you're already using MS Office, the learning curve is very low.

After downloading Open Office, you can customize each module using Tools > Options. For instance, if you regularly receive and send MS Word documents, you can tell Open Office to always save your documents in the .docx format, so you can exchange documents easily with other Word users. 

Calc, a good replacement for Microsoft Excel, creates spreadsheets and forms with all the features of Excel. Calc's special feature is the ability save files as PDFs or Excel files.

Perhaps your needs are more in the area of presentation software. You can create great looking presentations in Open Office's Impress, just like Microsoft's Power Point. Impress supports multiple monitors and a complete range of views, including draw, outline, slides and notes. Drawing and diagramming tools, slideshow animation and effects are also available.

If you're on a budget and can't afford Microsoft Office, give Open Office a try. You can download it completely free. Just enter "Open Office" in any internet search engine and you'll find the download page.