Looking for OpenOffice.org vote of confidence

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Looking for OpenOffice.org vote of confidence

Postby MsEllaneous » Mon May 25, 2009 8:14 pm


I am new to the forum, OOo and my self-owned business. Where can I find testments to OOo that will ease my fears of:

- will this software really work up to par with Microsoft Word and Excel which I am used to?
- will it be seen by my clients and other professionals as a professional software and not some cheap freeware that I am using to save my pennies?
- will it make their lives more complicated by having to adjust to it by saving down to earlier versions of their software (or other sort of work arounds) to work with me?

I am on Windows XP. I use MS Excel and its higher level functions (such as macros) quite a bit. I will use MS Word and its higher level functions (automatic form fill-in from Excel, headers and footers with automatic page numbering, dates, etc) quite a bit.

I consider myself just behind the "first adopters" on the leader-lagger spectrum - not willing to be the very first one out there to test out the latest thing but will step in after that. So I am willing to put up with a few gliches. But, as a new business owner I don't want to be spending too much time fixing bugs or ruffling the feathers of my new clients with annoying software problems.

Thanks for the help and the opportunity to be part of this community.
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Re: Looking for OpenOffice.org vote of confindence

Postby Caracalla » Mon May 25, 2009 8:26 pm

Hi, welcome to the forum,

I don't use spreadsheets a lot so i won't go into excel/calc.
Writer though, i find to be an excellent tool, especially when writing large documents.
Headers/footers with automatic numbering present no problem for Writer. The process is different then in Word though. It might seem a bit clumsy at first but i think it is more powerful in the end. I'd advise you to check out the tutorial part of this forum for more information on that.

MS office users cannot, normally*, read or write in Openoffice's native file format (odt for text) but Writer is able to save documents into .doc format. The conversion is not perfect though and as documents become more complex the likelihood of glitches increases. If the recipient only has to read the file you can of course send it as a pdf.

As for your client's reaction; that depends on them of course, there are a lot of ignorant people out there who will dismiss open source software because "what's free can't be good". If they know something about OOo, though, they should respond well to it i think.

*there is a plugin available from Sun that lets MS Office users do this. If you could get your colleagues to install that that would also work.
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Re: Looking for OpenOffice.org vote of confidence

Postby TheGurkha » Mon May 25, 2009 8:47 pm

Check out: Major OpenOffice.org Deployments.
Also see: Microsoft Office to OpenOffice Migration Guide.

But be aware, OOo isn't intended to be a MS Office clone, often it does its own thing its own way. There is inevitably a learning curve.
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Re: Looking for OpenOffice.org vote of confidence

Postby FJCC » Tue May 26, 2009 1:42 am

Will this software really work up to par with Microsoft Word and Excel which I am used to?

Calc is not at the level of Excel in some areas. Examples are: Pivot tables handle more data fields than DataPilots, the filters in Calc cannot handle as many conditions, the statistical functions in Calc are more limited when compared to Excel's Data Analysis add-in. Calc does allow regular expressions for searching, which allows more complex searches than Excel, I think.

Will it make their lives more complicated by having to adjust to it by saving down to earlier versions of their software (or other sort of work arounds) to work with me?

If you have to exchange working documents with clients, then they will eventually find glitches in the export of documents in the MS Office formats. If you can just send them PDF files, then there probably won't be any problem. If the documents are the core product of your business, then any problems with them will likely reflect poorly on it.

If you are planning to write macros, be aware that the API for OOo is very different than programing MS Office. It will take considerable learning.

I use OOo routinely and I'm a strong supporter. But if you are just starting a business and will be under a lot of stress to set it up and find clients, the extra stress of figuring out new software might be an unnecessary burden. Luckily OOo is free. I encourage you to try it out and see for yourself whether it does what you need and how easily you can learn the different ways of doing things.
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