OpenOffice.org offers a suite alternative

If you're thrifty and you use an office suite, it's hard not to like OpenOffice.org. Version 1 does most things Microsoft Office can do. Plus, it's free. So what's to improve?

OpenOffice.org 2, still in beta, adds a database-creation application similar to Microsoft Access. Otherwise, many of the changes are small tweaks that probably won't radically alter the way you work.

In addition to Base, the database app, OpenOffice.org 2 includes Writer (a word processor), Calc (a spreadsheet application), Impress (a presentation program), Math (a tool for creating mathematical formulas), and Draw (a nifty drawing program). The beta is available for Windows, Linux, and Mac operating systems. I tested the Windows version; see also our take on the Linux one.

The suite's developers seem to have tried to make Base look and act just like Access -- unfortunate, since Access is so frequently baffling. A better plan might have been to create a database application similar to FileMaker Pro -- that is, not like Access but much easier to use.

As for the tweaks, Calc now supports as many rows of data as Excel does, eliminating one problem for serious number crunchers. And if, heaven forbid, you're a fan of transitions and sounds in between your slides, you'll love that Impress now has buckets of them.

While OpenOffice.org 2 certainly includes features worth having, the version I tested remains a work in progress. I experienced several crashes, and the file-recovery system had some glitches.

But once a final edition of version 2 is released (there's no firm schedule), you may doubt the wisdom of paying US$300+ for Microsoft Office.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Edward N. Albro

PC World
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?