vs. Microsoft Office

Nobody disputes that Microsoft Office is king of the hill in office suites, but if you put marketing and market share aside, how does compare?

How does (OOo) compare with Microsoft Office (MSO)? The question is harder to answer than you might expect. Few users have the experience or patience to do a thorough comparison. Too often, they miss features that have different names or are in different positions in the editing window. Or, perhaps they overlook the fact that some features, although missing in one, easily can be added through customization. Yet another problem when comparing something to MSO is which of the eight current versions of MSO do you use for the comparison?

To cut through these difficulties, as I compared 3.1.1 and Microsoft Office 2007, I assumed until a search proved otherwise that, if one office suite included a feature, the other also would have it. I also focused on the three core applications: the word processors, spreadsheets and presentation programs. The results suggest a close feature match for average users, but in some cases, a clear choice for expert users.

Navigating the Interface

In Office 2007, Microsoft implemented its Fluent User Interface (better known as ribbons), replacing menus and taskbars with a combination of both. By contrast, OOo still retains menus and taskbars. Both use context-specific floating windows that open automatically when the cursor is at a particular type of formatting. When ribbons first appeared, they were both attacked and defended vigorously. Yet for all the effort, no independent study has proven conclusively that ribbons are easier or harder to use than the classic menus and taskbars. At first, you may have to search for repositioned features, but neither has a clear advantage once you adjust to it. Most users are likely to be exasperated with the arrangement of features with the classic interface just as often as they are with ribbons.

Much the same is true of the on-line help. With MSO, users hoping for help have to drill down deep to find answers, and the arrangement of topics by questions is both limiting and hard to scan. With OOo, the problems with help are incompleteness and out of date and poorly written entries, but the result is equally unfriendly, even though the help system is more thorough.

As for the editing window, one office suite needs only to implement a feature for the other one to copy it. For instance, OOo borrows a zoom slider bar from MSO, while MSO borrowed floating windows from OOo. And, although you can point to areas where the interface of one is easier or more efficient, such as the template selector in MSO or OOo's Navigator that allows you to jump from feature to feature, these areas are counterbalanced by other features in which each suite is at a disadvantage. Verdict: tie.

The interfaces vary in strengths and weaknesses, but neither stands out as particularly well done. The main reason for preferring one interface over another is that you are used to it.

Word Processors: OOo Writer vs. MSO Word

For casual users, Microsoft Word is extremely convenient. For every feature, from templates and content pages to tables and bullets, Word offers libraries of standard layouts. These libraries are not particularly sophisticated by typographical standards. Some, like those for tables of contents, are frankly an aesthetic disaster, but for those who choose to ignore document design, they are good enough, especially in documents that will be used once and then discarded.

By contrast, the rumor is that OOo Writer's developers were required to use the word processor for their own documentation. Whether the rumor is true is uncertain, but it is true that Writer has more to offer for those who are concerned with document design. Writer comes with very few layout libraries, leaving you to download or create them, but in compensation, it allows you a degree of control that makes it as much an intermediate layout program as a word processor. Kerning, hyphenation, the exact positioning of list bullets, headers, footers and footnotes or endnotes—all these layout features can be set with far greater precision in Writer than in Word.

To help you organize this precision, Writer is distinctly oriented toward styles. As you may know, styles is a feature that allows you to adjust formatting once, then apply the settings where needed, instead of applying all the formatting manually each time you use it. Styles really save time when you are making major changes to layout and when saved into templates for re-use. Writer allows you to set styles for paragraphs, characters, pages, lists and object frames. Even more important, Writer is so oriented toward styles that even a simple act like adding a page number generally requires them. Some features, like outline numbering, are impossible without them. In comparison, Word is far more oriented toward manual formatting.

Figure 1. MS Word

Figure 2. Writer

Although Word does include paragraph and character styles, you have to seek them out if you want to use them. When you do locate styles, you have to drill down into menus to change them, a process that is decidedly more awkward than Writer's arrangement of tabs in a window. Nor will you find the precision present in Writer's features. Rather than using styles, most Word users, I suspect, would prefer to stick with its layout libraries. In other words, Writer is more for advanced users, and Word for beginners. Word's orientation in particular, is implicit in the interface, which makes manual formatting tools easy to find and styles just one feature among dozens. The orientation is implicit also in the fact that advanced features like AutoText are so deeply buried, many users still believe that they were dropped when ribbons arrived. A corollary of the difference in orientation is that although Writer is adequate for documents of hundreds of pages, few experienced users ever would consider Word for documents of more than about 20 pages.

Despite the change in the interface, Word is still crash-prone at greater lengths. Word does include a master document feature, just as Writer does, but as one commenter said, files that use Word's master document feature tend to be in one of two states—corrupted or about to be corrupted. Verdict: Writer.

You have to do more initial work with Writer to set up the templates you need, but once you do, the result is more professional, precise and individual than with Word.


-- Bruce Byfield (nanday)


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Fear of change!

geopaxton's picture

I notice that most of the problems people put forward for why OpenOffice - particularly Calc - are no good at, are found to be non-existent. Yes Writer and Calc do a few things a bit differently, but I love not getting messages like, "It looks like you are writing a letter. Do you need help?" in Open Office. It just takes a bit of perseverance, and looking where to find things. In Openoffice, for example, all formatting is under the format tab. In MS-Word to format you page you have to go to File - Page Setup.

Well we can talk here all you want

Anonymous's picture

But in biz you have to use MS Office. Not symphony not Open Office MS.
Why because it is still so widespread everyone is used to it files are being sent with macros (talking the normal ones) and formatting gets all screwy. It is the same story again and until MS and Others don't agree to fully support one file format (which would be really MS shooting it's own foot if they did it right) people will require original ms office.

Quite simply they do not care that its Microsoft's fault that the layout is out of wack in their documents. And everyone here got the emails opened in OO and just found its not good and opened the file in word or excel.

This is especially the way how big corporate customers think. You don't have office wtf what kind of a amateur are you?

Large spreadsheets

Anonymous's picture

With small spreadsheets, Calc and Excel and pretty much equal. Start dealing with thousands of rows and thousand of calculations, though, and Excel can't touch Calc. I often use spreadsheets to 'clean' thousands of rows of data for inclusion in a DB. In that situation Excel has some serious limitations that don't exist in Calc.

Have used Excel for 20 years, Calc for about 10. I'm MS certified expert in Excel (for what little that means) so I know my way around. Neither application is perfect but I'd take Calc over Excel any day.

Oh, and BTW, OO runs beautifully on Linux, while Excel...

Microsoft Word Lawsuit

Zach Schneider's picture

I am surprised nobody mentioned about the lawsuit regarding Microsoft Word and XML

Zach Schneider is a web developer and Linux enthusiast. Find him on Twitter, @ZKM.

Unbiased? LOL!

Anonymous's picture

Seriously, is this article even supposed to be unbiased? You give Writer the advantage, Calc and Excel a tie and ignore things like Visio, OneNote, InfoPath & Outlook.

Not to mention, you ignore things within each app - SmartArt, PivotCharts, 1-click styles, cover pages, review, simultaneous editing, Excel Server, and many many more.

OOo can be used by small companies who are cheap or companies that prefer this than pirating. Of course, the producivity hit that they take with it is a hidden cost.


corporatebee's picture


It's one of the weaker MS office suite products IMO the only reason it is so prevalent is because it came bundled with the system... just like IE.

Unbiased?? LOL - Agreed

Anonymous's picture

We are a small company downunder in the land of Oz and because the boss has it in his head that by using OO it will save him money we suffer daily with differing issues including but not limited to;

Opening Microsoft documents only to find that writer has completely thrown out the formatting of the document and usually it is a tender of which we need to respond so I have no choice but to revert back to Gatesy MS because it works. I have tried now for the last two years to NOT use MS but always seem to have to fall back to the 'old faithful' because I don't have the time when the boss is breathing down my neck for a result even though his insistent push of OO caused the delay to start with.

I say long live the "TUX" and all his offerings but it is hard to progress when MS just 'works"

Downunder Dave


Anonymous's picture

1. I have the same problem going between Word versions - so OO.o is no worse than MSO here.

2. If you're requiring formating (specific look), you shouldn't be using the native format - PDF files are for locking down format. Which OO.o does natively (Print to PDF, or Export as PDF), while MSO needs a plugin. Advantage OO.o

Who do you blame?

Anonymous's picture

As a fellow "Downunder Dave" (except I'm in NZ), I simply offer this caution:

are the problems you've encountered caused by inadequacy in OOo or by anti-competitive practices by MS? Are you giving unwarranted credit to "old-faithful" rather than cursing "old-scuttle-the-competition-to-maintain-our-monopoly-by-using-ever-changing-proprietary-formats-that-non-MS-competitors-have-to-expend-vast-sums-of-money-and-time-to-reverse-engineer-and-are-forever-playing-catchup-which-is-just-how-we-like-it"?

I think the blame rests squarely on MS' shoulders here, and, under the circumstances, I'd encourage you to grit your teeth and spit if you every say "old-faithful" in regard to MS Office again, because that's what it deserves.

And push for open standard file formats that don't simply offer "theoretical" interoperability. And don't accept MS' word that OOXML (not to be confused with DOCX, XLS, and PPTX, which are *not* valid OOXML) is an open standard. It is not.

Kind regards,

Kiwi Dave


Anonymous's picture

All these comments, and nobody remembered that OOo can export to PDF or HTML without any addons or third party software!

I use MS Office at work because that's what they give me, but on my own machines at home, I use OOo, because it's got features MS Office doesn't, can handle more file types, isn't prone to macro viruses, runs on ALL my OSes (several variants of Linux, plus XP and Windows 7), and allows me greater control and compatibility with all my docs.

As a pro, I find OOo is just better all around. As the article said, Word is great for beginners, Writer is for people at intermediate to expert level.

I also use Calc for any spreadsheet needs I have, and any Excel spreadsheets I get, will always open in Calc without a hitch. Granted, I don't do a lot of highly advanced work in Excel, but my formulas, etc, work just as well, and it's faster.

The one down side is Impress. I don't use it, but my kids have in order to work on PowerPoint projects from school. Bottom line, it needs more work.

However, since PP/Impress doesn't impact my particular line of work, I'll stick with OOo for my purposes.

Calc handling 90000+ rows [Solved]

Anonymous's picture

hi, i had a nice surprise yesterday at work. i had a big 6mb xlsx (excel 2007) file and when i tried to open it in calc (in my Linux Mint Helena), it opened up like a charm, complete with the same number of rows as the original file.

then saving it to calc's native ODT format, i again had a small surprise: the file size was HALF of the XLSX file.

two thumbs up for OpenOffice Calc!

MSOffice more mature, OpenOffice is free

Anonymous's picture

I am using XP:MSOffice2007 Word and Excel at work and Ubuntu:OpenOffice3.1 Write and Calc at home/work.
My impression is that the OpenOffice suite is much less stable (i.e. crashes!), much less user friendly (e.g. bibliography in write, number to text conversion in calc and many other examples), slower (word just starts faster) and lacking many useful features of the MSOffice2007 package (e.g number of rows limit to 65000 and others).

I still like OpenOffice because it installs easily both on XP and Ubuntu, will do most of what I need, is freely available, uses open standards and is open source.

Both Calc and Excel are way better for data visualisation than bash.

Both MSWord and OOfficeWrite are major improvements over LaTex, after discovering MSWord I never went back to LaTex again.


Anonymous's picture

If you add no capabilities to a program, and just change the interface so that millions of users have to relearn their job to keep doing them - how is that Progress?

CSV and some other formats

Anonymous's picture

As someone said, importing and exporting CSV is very easy in OOCalc. One has control of everything, separators, encoding. It is very important in enterprise environment, when you need to export and import data. One of my customers has OO installed on couple of PC's for only reason of CSV manipulation. Excel had all those features in the older versions, but they were removed, leaving many users frustrated. Recently Microsoft put a web page where users could express their wishes for next MSO release. CSV was among top features.

Excel is much better when one needs to import non-spreadsheet formats, like HTML. OOCalc usually blocks and CPU load goes to 100%. One often has no patience to wait and see the outcome.


OOo 3.2 startup speed *vastly* improved

Anonymous's picture

I use an Ubuntu 9.10 laptop at work with MS Office 2003 running in Wine.

On the same box, from a cold start, and no preloading (this isn't Windows), Excel starts in under a second from cold, OOo 3.1 takes seven seconds from cold. And six seconds is approximately forever.

Which is why I'm so very pleased that OOo 3.2 now starts in two seconds on the same box. PERCEIVED SPEED IS IMPORTANT!

Rich Text Format beneath OO.o

Anonymous's picture

Had my resume in RTF for 14+ years, and OO.o was ok with RTF until the 3.x series arrived. That's just plain sad, because I really have no use for tables, internet connectivity, collaboration controls, auto-correct, 1 degree text rotations, drop shadowing and all the other hooey that never seems to be used by people I can talk to. The people I talk to say that after bold, italic and bulleting, they barely use rulers and definable tabs, so I guess I'm just too rudimentary for the modern world. AFAICT OO.o = the GIMP level office suite.

Honestly, I'm not sure I've used a new feature added in the past 10 years, but I really haven't kept a list.

I keep both offices on my box

Anonymous's picture

I keep both offices on my box and I am trying to get rid of MS Office but what is holding me back is MS Excel. Calc is a way behind Excel for my tasks. I work with data and, for example, the other day I needed to import comma separated file into a spreadsheet - a seconds task for MS Excel but impossible for Calc. I do not even know if I can write programs in Calc? Can I do statistical analysis in Calc? How to turn the damn tooltips in Writer?

Statistical Analysis

Anonymous's picture

Spreadsheets are for accountants and financial types. If you need to do statistical analysis use R. It's free and runs in both Linux and Mickey$oft environments. R is designed just for statistical analysis and, therefore, vastly superior to a general purpose spreadsheet. R is also well documented and supported. Mickey$oft doesn't make a statistical analysis product because of its limited market (limited demand = limited revenue) and the lack of sophistication in Micky$oft's programmers.


Sorry, guys. I needed to

Anonymous's picture

Sorry, guys.

I needed to import a text file where the first few columns were tab separated and last three columns were separated by two spaces. Calc could not handle that.


Anonymous's picture

Seems an odd format but either way 10 seconds with SED or VIM could fix that. i.e, change the formatting to a consistent character. Just making the point that I don't see such items as an issue.

Try Lotus Symphony

Anonymous's picture

The recent version of Lotus Symphony has Visual Basic macro support.

Import csv in seconds with calc

Anonymous's picture


You can import comma separated files in seconds with calc. As I do not know what operating system you use here is a general idea as to how easy it is.

- Open the file selection screen as usual.

- Select your file as usual

- click on the down arrow below the list of files box and select the relevant file format. There are many to choose from.

- to select comma separated file format when looking at the list of formats press the letter "T" 4 or 5 times. This will quickly take you to the "text csv" format option. I use 4 times for older versions of OOo and 5 t's in the newer versions. This works in windows version of OOo but not necessarily in other operating system versions.

- click on the open button.

- hay presto.

Hope this helps.

Making decisions for me.

Anonymous's picture

If I try to open a text file in Calc OOo auto-magically decides that since it's text I should open it in Writer. How lovely!

It does that for me too.

Anonymous's picture

It does that for me too.

I tried importing a CSV

Anonymous's picture

I tried importing a CSV formatted file with a TXT file name extension in Calc and it worked just fine. Be sure to choose file type = "Text CSV" not just text. That may be your problem.

bad behavior

Anonymous's picture

No, that's a broken behavior.

soft shadows

Anonymous's picture

When importing images in a document, ooo lacks some advanced but very usefull features. For example word's 2007 "soft shadows" is a kick ass feature. On the other hand writer can only apply basic shadows. With word u can create much more impressive and beautiful documents.

OOO needs more impressive and beautiful visual effects. Both writer and impress need to improve.

oo calc for me

Anonymous's picture

I have the full blown MS office on XP at work but I use oo calc 99% of the time. I don't do spreadsheets for calculations, rather its like an artboard for me. I copy in data grids, snaps shots, add text blocks, use the drawing tools to annotate... When I share the docs I do have to save as MS... which is quite easy. Been doing this for about 2 years. I also use it for charts. Since I'm a database guy, I should explore that in oo but I haven't. Just not enough time in the day... At home I primarily use Macs and I have oo installed there too, but I don't do much at home with office software. One thing for sure, I would Never spend any of my money to buy a MS office product... :) My Macs stay away from all MS software... and I'm a proud owner of Adobe CS4 production Suite. So its not like I can't afford MS Office. I just don't like it or want it.

Cross Platform

Anonymous's picture

I own 3 version of Office (2000/XP/2007). But I still use OO most of the time. The reason is I use Windows/Mac OSX/Linux Ubuntu, OO is available on all 3 systems (and others I don't use).

File formats; OO wins hands down

Anonymous's picture

I had some fun a while back opening a doc a colleague had created at home with the base MSO wordprocessor. Work has the full office suite, but locked down PC's, so we took about 20 min to figure out where and how to download 20 MB of conversion software before she could open it. Then she was faced with the option of just looking at it, or chancing her luck on some editing and hoping it would save in a format she could open at home.

Years ago I used Lotus word pro. The easiest way to open them now: OO. MS "supported" the format for a few years, but it did a great job of butchering any formatting even then. Now it can't do even that without a fork out and download.

MS is for people and institutions with money to burn, no interest in docs more than a couple of years old, and employees who don't have any work to take home. In the real world, however, we need more flexibility.

OO Draw is misunderstood

Anonymous's picture

I do legal expert witness work and the documents are sent in pdf format. Solicitors often want an MS Word version BUT .... every diagram I do in MS Word is subject to the very high probability that some of the lines have moved and distorted the diagram when the recipient opens it.

For a legal case I CANNOT risk that. I use OO Draw to create the diagram and export as a .gif or .jpg picture. The writer document then contains diagrams that cannot be distorted when viewed in MS Word format.

So important.

Well, OOo is still safer

Anonymous's picture

With OOo, you don't have to worry about opening a document with a malicious macro that can get past your virus detector which can happen in a MS office of some type. Then again, who really uses operating systems that are prone to viruses these days? lol

how so?

Anonymous's picture

I've used both quite a bit. I don't recall being able to do anything in Calc that I couldn't do in Excel, but I commonly have problems the other way. For example if I filter a set of rows and I want to copy the filter set I can't do it. I think that a bug was filed for that issue and closed without action. What can Calc do that Excel cannot???

how so?

Anonymous's picture

In Calc you can create versions of you spreadsheet in the same file. For my work I have to produce a rapport every month. I use the version function to save every specific report in such a way that I can print every single report I did without the need of opening an external file. I can even compare them in I want. Can you do that with excel? I use to export the report in pdf format. can you do that natively with excel? is a great product

Anonymous's picture

Just like it has already been mentioned, for FREE you can't beat It is a mature product, and works great. The thing that I really like about OpenOffice is that I know that I'll never have to buy it. Unlike Microsoft Office which you will need to re-purchase every few years if you want the latest features and compatibility. I use OpenOffice and I also use GLabels very frequently to handle label needs. Linux itself has matured, and now includes a suite of home/office applications that are very capable.

What do you use OO for?

Anonymous's picture

>Few users have the experience or patience to do a thorough comparison.

You are right but I use a less scientific method for my Windows friends who might not have switched to a free/libre desktop but are all using OO, FF3 and VLC on Windows.

I must know about 30-35 people in this situation and only one of them went back and bought Office2007 (which was a surprise in itself) after using OO.
Most home users want to type, bold/font/size, indent, do some footnotes and then save in .doc.

I am going to venture a guess and say that 90%+ of people are the same.

I will not comment on business integration but strictly on everyday users.
And a word processor is a word processor. Just like a browser, no one has ever been confronted with a new one and went "OMG!! What now?"
You may have to change some habits but then again my friend above was swearing nonstop at the Office ribbon because of that: having to change your habits.

You cant believe the number of parents at PTA meeting at school that I lead to OO and they come back and thank me because they saved a few hundred bucks.

And we are working on our free time with a community center around here that were are converting to GNU/Linux and OO is a very big part of this switch.
The center is staffed with (many) volunteers and so far, weve had no problems.

And Powerpoint is worse than Flash and blinking tags put together and more time is wasted on creating them than any Solitaire game ever will.

How to determine the OpenOffice market share?

Anonymous's picture

According to a German web site, OpenOffice tops 20% market share.

The guys at Webmasterpro have published a study that analyzes the install base of various office packages among German users. While Microsoft Office comes out top (72%), open source rival OpenOffice is already installed on 21.5% of all PCs and growing.

The method used in the study is quite clever as it neither depends on sales figures (quite difficult to assess for a free software product) nor on questionnaires (prone to sampling bias). Instead, they have equipped their web statistics service with the ability to detect the fonts installed on the computers visiting the monitored sites. Now, each office suite brings along a set of unique fonts (e.g., OpenSymbol comes with OpenOffice), which can be used to identify the installed office suites.

This is a pretty nifty idea.

I think we should put this little javascript tool in major independent sites and blogs, and try to figure out the real market share of OpenOffice.

More information about the study:

Here's a script to detect installed fonts...

Anonymous's picture

The site says that it was tested on Firefox 2, 3, 3.5 IE 6, IE 7, Opera 9, Opera 10.

The next step would be to look for "OpenSymbol" (or other fonts) as an indication of OpenOffice being installed; and log that into the database.

I hope Google analytics could do that... would give us useful data.

21.5% is an impressive market share

Anonymous's picture

For OpenOffice, the number of 21.5% is already impressive. But even more telling is the trend showing that during the last year OpenOffice steadily gained 3 percentage points. But what surprised me the most is that the authors hardly found a difference between home and business users. These observations mean nothing but OpenOffice is rapidly making inroads into Microsoft's #1 cash cow!

Calc just makes them angry

Anonymous's picture

Too many people with ADHD using Excel or Calc

I don't know what you mean

Anonymous's picture

If you are an engineer you probably use a spreadsheet. It's a powerful general purpose tool.

Use Latex

Anonymous's picture

I don't know why companies or private persons don't just use Latex for documents and presentations. Latex has so many advantages, over every office suite and the only disadvantage is that you have to read 20min how you can create a document, for example in

To name a few advantages:
* you are so much faster in Latex. You just write down the text and create a beautiful pdf file in seconds. You don't have to care about anything, because Latex will do all formating for you.
* Latex files are simple text files, so you can read them in 100 years and Latex itself is open source and is very solid. With word documents you are very lucky if you can open a document that is 5 years old.
* With Latex you can create dvi files for printing or pdf files for sending. You can create html files for a web browser or plain text files.
* With Latex it's very easy to work in a group, because tex files are normal text files, so you can put them in a VCS, like Subversion or git.

Maybe Latex is a litle bit confusing and maybe difficult, too, for the WYSIWYG generation. But why are coperations not adopting Latex for all documents and leave that war between X doc file formats to itself? At least with Latex you don't need to train your people every 2 years because the interface has changed.

I for myself use Latex for my documents and presentations and live is so much easier now. I don't need 45min because MS Office 2007 won't import an image for some reason (happen with a colleague of me last month) and I don't have to fight the office suite to have my paragraphs formated like I wanted.

For all what is wrong with WYSIWYG here is a good blog about Latex.

argument against LaTeX

Anonymous's picture

I used LaTeX when I was a graduate student, but had to give it up eventually because I work on articles collaboratively, and none of my colleagues use it. That said, there are some arguments against LaTeX in principle. TeX and especially LaTeX are built around the idea that the software knows what looks good, and you should just tell it what goes in which section. While this is often true, people don't really want to be told that. You can usually customize things in (La)TeX, but the more control you want the more difficult it gets. Back when I used it, it was difficult even to select your font beyond a handful of Roman fonts (this would make it completely useless for some of my applications). Modern word processors have a very nice system for hierarchical styling that I believe is much easier to use than LaTeX if you like to fiddle with the look of your documents. Modern word processors also make it very easy to distribute forms.

I think a few of your arguments are incorrect. You can create a beautiful pdf file in seconds in both word processors and LaTeX, but only if you happen to like the default formatting in both. Customization is a pain in both, less of a pain in word processors in my opinion. It's quite easy in word processors to create pdf files or html files, less than ten seconds of effort. You can script it in openoffice if you prefer the command line. Virtually no one outside fields like math and computer science cares about dvi files. Finally, using word processor formats does not impede working in a group. In my experience, using (La)TeX does.

I like TeX quite a bit, and wish the word processors I use today were as facile with equations as it is. I wish OpenOffice were as handy with kerning as TeX is. I think your argument about the perpetual readability of the files is very important, a very big issue that word processors need to address more thoroughly. That said, they're getting better. The only documents I have that I can't open were created with proprietary software about 20 years ago. Everything created since then I can open with its original intended formatting. In any case, I still can't see LaTeX (even using something like LyX) as a practical solution for most people who make extensive use of word processors.

OO.o and interoperability

Anonymous's picture

I've used OO.o since its original inception as a All-In-One package carrying the StarOffice moniker, under OS/2. I haven't installed or used MS Office (except under protest to fix some of its problems here in the office, I manage the IT), since about '93.

No one, customers, clients, vendors, or co-workers have any idea I don't use MS Office. Actually, I'm the one special projects are sent to simply because my set of functional, intuitive tools allow me to get work done. I don't spend 30 minutes trying to find a command that MS has now instituted as an "anti-feature". A feature to benefit the software vendor and force the user to upgrade to obtain the functionality they need.

For fun, I eradicated MS Office on the receptionists machine, and replaced it with OO.o, telling here it was the new, "Pro" version of MS Office... we now can actually get work out of her.. amazing......

Exel != Calc

Anonymous's picture

For anyone who uses Calc on a regular basis, Excel just makes them angry. Little things count.

Excel != Calc

Anonymous's picture

You are right about one thing, Excel 2007 is not equal to Calc - its far superior.

I am a big fan of all things open source (my personal laptop is linux and i use open office as well). But I installed one thing there through Wine that open source applications just couldn't quite catch up to: excel 2007.

When it comes to detail reporting and visualization (and add-ons for business intelligence applications), excel 2007 is the far superior product. Calc still feels like exel 2003 - it even looks like it.

OO.o and interoperability

Anonymous's picture

I find that OO.o will accept many different file types (examples: .doc, .docx, .wps, .ppt, and others). I doubt that MSO can do that.

I have taken many .ppt files and used OO.o to display them without a single problem. I have also converted .doc and .docx files, as well as .xls and .xlsx. The problem most experienced was when my computer did not have one of the fonts that the original document had in it. I expect that Visual Basic would cause problems with OO.o, but someday that will be worked out.

I left MSO 97 behind and starting using OO.o and I have not been disappointed yet. Unless someone is a power user I believe that OO.o will be entirely satsifactory.

Most people who think they're power users...

lightweight's picture


They just don't realise how much they don't know.

For anyone that knows

Anonymous's picture

For anyone that knows programming, using spreadsheats just seems stupid.


Anonymous's picture

What an inane comment. I may not be an uber-programmer, but I am familiar with one or two languages and the basics of programming architecture.

Your comment reflects the stereotypical IT-centric ignorance that plagues so many of my technical peers. Just because you don't have a use for some features you deem them useless.

As someone who frequently works with tables that have thousands of rows, data from multiple systems, and works too much with finance reports... there are quite a few functions and uses of spreadsheets that are not just timesavers or quickfixes, but imperatives.

Vlookups and HLookups are far better uses of time than taking the time to write and debug a script to do the same thing when both tables have thousands of rows.

Another example is charts. In a spreadsheet I can link to an ODBC source, query, group and filter the results, and create a chart in less than five minutes. How long would it take to write a program or script to do the same?