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Alternative Microsoft Office Suite: OpenOffice - Is It Your Cup Of Tea?

Updated on August 12, 2016


Microsoft Office is inarguably the best Office application available on the market today. One of the features that endears this program to users is that It is user-friendly. However, Microsoft Office is not the only Office application available to users. There are other suitable alternatives called open-source. Microsoft Office, nevertheless, is the first among equals, when it comes to home users and the work environment. It is the industry standard. It owns over 78% of the market share.

Reports suggest that when customers are satisfied, they are loyal, and most Microsoft Office users are satisfied. Consequently, they do not even bother to find out whether there are suitable alternatives or not. If they did, they would discover that there are in fact, more attractive substitutes. And these alternatives cost practically nothing in monetary terms. For a small business, a start-up, or a home user, who simply cannot cough out the extra money for Microsoft Office application, open-source application may be the ticket out.

There are a few Open-source products out there. An example is Google docs - a cloud-based application. Cloud-based means the application cannot be accessed without being on the internet.. In fact, the industry has seen a shift towards cloud technology. One thing about cloud technology is that it requires a subscription, which means the application cannot be own outright. Instead, the subscription must be paid for either monthly or yearly. This may be a viable solution for some, but for others, it may not be. For some, it may mean taking power away from them. For instance, what happens if a person is on the plane? What happens if one cannot get access to the internet? There are however, benefits to using cloud technology.

If however, the hustle of cloud technology is not something a user is willing to handle, then open - source desktop technology may be the way forward. There are a few of these technologies available. The main desktop open-source technologies are: OpenOffice, LibreOffice and NeoOffice for Apple users. These open-source applications cost nothing to download, except for the time invested in doing so. And because they are open-source programs do not mean they have fewer features, or they are substandard. It does not also mean open-source application is not supported. For a person familiar with Microsoft Office suite, the learning curve would be very short.. After all, they are all Office suite.

OpenOffice Logo


Alternative Office Suite LibreOffice Interface



Microsoft Office Suite
Industry standard
Licence required
User support
User limitaion
Regular patches and updates
No destribution rights
Large market share
Require upgrade investment
Professional certificate for users
Different bundles for each target market
OpenOffice Suite
Small market share
No licence required
User support
Freedom to distribute and freedom to contribute to development
Update and support
No upgrade investment cost
One application for both home users and businesses
LibreOffice Suite
Increasing market share speedly
No licence required
Frequent update with patches
Free distribution rights
Excellent user support
Encourages involvement in application developement
Professional certificate available
No upgrade cost
Gaining a lot of market share




APACHE OpenOffice

Apache OpenOffice suite has been around the block for a while. It supports Linux, Windows and Apple platforms. It can be downloaded from This suite comprises word - processing, spreadsheet, presentation, drawing, database and Math application tools. It is licensed under Apache.


Calc is the spreadsheet application bundled with OpenOffice. An analyst in particular would enjoy using this program, and the ordinary or occasional user would enjoy it also. Calc can analyse, sort, filter, calculate and do a pivot table. When it comes to plotting graphs and report creation, this product does not disappoint also.

There are tools like solver, goal seek, conditional formatting and even macros. There are a lot to explore in this application, and it comes with good interface too. If word processing, however, is a preference, this program does not disappoint, because the writer program is excellent.


The writer application is such an incredible tool. For regular tasks like letter writing, PDF, report or mail merge, writer is excellent. The program has facilities like media player, movie clip, gallery and sound. For those who use advance features like comment, hyperlink or importing a table, writer is a good program.


For those who like database, the Base tool would be a fascination . The program allows for connecting to other database programs. It has relational database tools that allows relationships among tables. The program can integrate SQL queries and allows the use of wizards for report and form creation. It can also run macro.There is plenty for the novice and plenty for the advanced user to do with this application.


3D users will be happy with this program, because the draw program is going to be the best weapon. There are different shape tools, various effect tools, and the normal design interface found in this program.


The math program is ideal for people with inclination towards math. It allows for importing formulas. And one can also create their own formula. There are much more to explore with this program.


Impress is an impressive presentation tool that comes with this package. One can use an existing template or create a new one. It supports slide show, animation, transition, media player, gallery and many rich tools. It allows for importing a graph or a table into a presentation. Facilities like comments and hyperlinks are not lacking here either.

So for anyone, who want to escape the cost of purchasing a license, and the cost of upgrading their Microsoft Office application, this may be the right product.


Would you consider a Microsoft Office alternative?

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    • Alessio Ganci profile image

      Alessio Ganci 20 months ago from Italy

      I find all these Office alternatives as good as Microsoft Office. Only talking about graphical aspect, I still consider Mcrosoft's software the best.

      My favourite Office suite is still Google Docs, I don't even need to install it.