Firstly, let’s first take a moment to pay our respects to OpenOffice which was once the only alternative to the Microsoft Office suite, unfortunately since it was taken over by Oracle it has been in steady decline.
This is why although in the past it has been my suite of choice, I no longer have it on my system and thus will not be covering it during this review.
So does that mean Office has no competition?
Thankfully not, many of the coders at OpenOffice left when it was bought out and Libre took over the mantle as my prime alternative to Office.
So now we have 2 options to consider and both have a specific purpose within my online activity.
Is a free family of six applications
Of these the ones I use regularly are Writer.
Is normally free with new computers and comes with
Of these the ones I use regularly are Word, Excel and PowerPoint and I must point out that I use Office 2007 and do not use the xml file format.
Okay so let’s think about the one simple reason why I use Writer instead of Word, quite simply each document opens in a new window.
If I have a document open and I open another one the obvious purpose is to compare the 2 documents or quickly switch between them, in Writer your documents are cascaded whilst in Word you have to deal with the x click lottery.
All too often I will get this wrong and lose much of my work since the last save.
You open a Word document in a new window but it really should not be this difficult. By opening Word via the start menu and then opening the desired file via the open file menu, you can have 2 documents open in 2 separate windows.
My primary uses of Writer are for my process maps and for converting documents into secure PDF’s.
The basic version of Word does not allow you to create secure PDF’s. However it has the better grammar and spell checker thus with the demise of Windows Live Writer, I now create my blog posts in Word so that I can check the grammar and spelling before publishing on my blogs.
By the way if you wish to do the same, ensure you paste the Word document into Notepad++ to remove all the hidden Microsoft coding then paste this clean version into the WordPress new content view.
Writer for PDF creation
Word for document reviews
Now turning to my reasons for using Excel over Calc, the primary reason is that it’s easier to get the work done for you in Excel rather than Calc.
Due to the over whelming popularity of Excel, there are far more people you can turn to for getting the functionality you desire created.
Two examples are the HootSuite Bulk Scheduler and my analytical spreadsheets.
The scheduler is a free downloadable excel template which can be converted to work with Libre however it was simply too unreliable to be used on a regular basis therefore this is operated only with Excel.
The analytics sheets contain formulae and functionality that was outsourced on Fiverr and these are incompatible with Libre, yes you can open sheets in both programs but there are subtle differences in which each interprets the formulae used.
The last application that I use on an infrequent basis is a slideshow creator; here the options are between Impress and PowerPoint.
I say infrequent because the main purpose of using these is to create slideshow videos with Camtasia using the dedicated add-in however because this is highly unpredictable and contains may unchangeable defaults I now prefer to make my slideshow videos using a completely alternative solution.
I now use Sony Vegas to create slideshow presentations by simply importing each slide as an image into this software.
However returning back to our slideshow options, upon opening both Impress and PowerPoint, the layout of Impress will allow you to get started faster without having to pour through the many menus just to get simple tasks done.
As I have said, I rarely use these programs and the fact that I no longer trust the PowerPoint Camtasia add-in, my preference would be to use Impress because everything you need is laid out on the home display and there is no need to rediscover the content of each menu every time you desire to create a slideshow.
Thus as you can see whilst I do not like Word or Excel, due to the fact that they have gained market dominance when it comes to getting projects done for you or sharing documents these are your best options.