Increasing numbers of computers are being sold with Open Office installed. Open Office is a complete suite of office programs produced by Sun Micro Systems. It’s biggest advantage is that it is free to download. It contains all the usual elements of a suite of office programs. Word processing, databases, spreadsheets, presentation.
My local computer shop loads Open Office onto all the systems they sell. This means that all the systems have a fully functioning suite of office programs which can be used as soon as the computer is turned on.
There are great advantages to using Open Office. It’s word processing software has a similar layout to Microsoft Word 2003 or earlier. The toolbar has the same icons in the same order.
Open Office can read documents that were produced using Microsoft Office, so you won’t miss out if someone sends you a document produced in MS Office. Conversely if you produce a document in Open Office and wish to send it to an MS user, you can “Save As” and save the document in MS Office format so that other people can read it.
If you want to produce a document that can be read by anyone, anywhere, Open Office has a built in pdf converter. You can export your document in pdf format and then anyone with pdf reading software can read it. The most common pdf reading software is Adobe Reader.
In recent months I have noticed several computers, especially laptops, being sold with Linux as the operating system in place of Windows. Open Office works perfectly with Linux. Both are free and this combination can half the cost of a fully functioning laptop.
What do you do if you are a beginner to computing and you have Open Office? You will find that most beginner’s courses are written for Microsoft Office users. This is understandable as Microsoft Office has been dominant in the market for many years and if you attend a course in a college or school, the chances are that the computers you use will have MS Office loaded.
There is an alternative though. There is one beginner’s computing course that is written especially for Open Office users. It starts right at the beginning and introduces you to your computer and the mouse. It teaches you to use the keyboard and how to edit your text. It shows you what the icons in Open Office Writer do. Once you have mastered the mouse and learnt basic layout and editing it moves on to showing you how to produce a poster, how to handle columns and how to use Font Works. Simply put it teaches you the basics of word pressing with Open Office Writer and then introduces you to some of the more advanced features. It is a complete beginners course, but written specifically for Open Office users.