OpenOffice 2.2

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been driven slowly mad by Microsoft Office 2007 and its new “easier to use” interface which I just can’t get my head around.The problem is that I’ve always been used to using keyboard short cuts and knowing exactly where to look for a particular function within a given menu or sub menu.I can go for hours on end without even thinking about touching the mouse and now Microsoft have completely changed everything around and whilst it looks very pretty it is seriously slowing me down!

Don’t get my wrong, all in all Office 2007 is a lovely new piece ofsoftware, but it’s because of these teething problems that my mind started wondering back to several years ago when I first used a piece of open source software going by the name of OpenOffice and decided to give it another go.

Now up to version 2.2, OpenOffice has developed quite nicely since I last had a play around and best of all it’s still completely free of charge.I’m not going to advocate for a minute that those who have already paid for a recent version of Office should make the switch over but for those without an Office Suite installed on their computer (or even worse, the dreadful Microsoft Works), OpenOffice is a fine choice.

There are six main applications which make up the OpenOffice suite which include:

Writer – This is essentially Microsoft Word which we will all be familiar with.As you would expect it has all the usual features of a Word Processor along with the ability to export files in PDF format which is certainly a handy feature.

Impress – An alternative (albeit cut down) version of Microsoft PowerPoint which is used for generating presentations and slide shows.

Math – This application will be next to useless to everybody but for those that need it this allows you to create mathematical functions and equations for text documents.

Draw – Again not necessarily suitable for all users, Draw is a vector drawing tool which would be ideally suited for creating diagrams and flowcharts.

Calc – All of the primarily functions of the spreadsheet application Excel have been covered in this application with no major omissions and a couple of nice improvements compared with the Microsoft offering.

Base – I don’t recall this functionality being present when I last used OpenOffice but the base application is designed as an alternative to the Microsoft Access database package and packs some pretty powerful features.

Those used to previous versions of Microsoft Office will not have any trouble whatsoever picking up any of the above applications as particular effort appears to be made OpenOffice look as familiar as possible.In addition to this it’s nice to note that you shouldn’t have any problems opening your old files or saving in an industry standard format as OpenOffice does support an impressively large number of file formats.

Whilst not a tiny,the Windows version of OpenOffice weighs in with a fairly modest 93mb download which is extremely comparable when pitted against the huge Microsoft Office package.It is worthwhile mentioning that there are other versions also available for both Linux and Mac users, and all these versions can be downloaded free of charge from


About the Author - Chris Holgate works for Refresh Cartridges who supply a wide range of printer cartridges at the UK’s lowest prices.