Why Do People Pay So Much For A Substandard Program when OpenOffice is Free? Open Office does everything that Microsoft Office does and the files are exactly the same as Office and the interface is very close to Office's. I just wonder why people pay so much for Microsoft Office when there has been a proven program out there for along time that is free! It is usable on Mac, PC, Linux! Go to OpenOffice.org and check it out.
asked by Corky on May 19, 2008
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A few reasons:
(1) Aesthetics - I last used OOo in the 2.1 release, but the icons looked like crayon drawings. They were absolutely unreasonably bad. Since OOo was designed and built by *nix eggheads, it looks like a *nix app.

(2) You're lying about compatibility - Again, I'm speaking to an older version, but I can't imagine that this has been alleviated. Formatting between MS Word and OOo simply does not translate. If you really want to interop, which most people still have to, you spend more time fixing formatting than you do creating content.

(3) MS Word is entrenched - There are scads of word processors out there. Of all document production that is not going to press, perhaps 80% of people use MS Word, and fewer than 5% use OOo.

So, it's something new to learn, it's not compatible, it's ugly, it's less feature-ful, and no one uses it. OOo is far from proven, it's been around for perhaps 1/4 as long as Office. I appreciate your enthusiasm, but don't try to sell people on one half-baked solution over another.
Warren C. Moore answered on May 26, 2008

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The files are not "exactly" the same. Compatability is inversely proportional to the complexity of the document, particularly in Excel. Granted, even Office is often incompatible with files from older versions, but that's another issue. Also, don't underestimate the integration of Office, particularly with Outlook on the PC side. Also, Sharepoint is huge with business.

Yes, I agree that OpenOffice would suffice the vast majority of the time. I didn't write one college paper that really required MS Word. The xls files I turned in were done in OpenOffice, every time, with no problems. However, I have recieved complex Excel files, with macros and whatnot, that OpenOffice doesn't play nice with.

I don't like either Office or OpenOffice, or NeoOffice for that matter. I'm fine with pdf files, or rtf if they have to be editable. I use TeXShop and Textedit far more than I use any word processor--even Abiword is bloated and ugly compared to TeXShop. I just wish Gnumeric was available on OS X.
Mark Hornberger answered on June 11, 2008

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I tried TextEdit, Pages, Neo Office and Open Office on a .doc recently and none of them supported the extensive formatting or graphics.

Does anyone have any experience with Office and these types of .doc files (would love to hear before I spend the $100).
Dianna Lyons answered on January 20, 2009

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I tried using OpenOffice for a while but gave up do to compatibility issues, particularly with Excel's advanced features. OOo is great for the price, but their are compatibility issues, and in my opinion, Office is still easier to use and nicer to look at.
B. Bauleke answered on January 28, 2009

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Well, I'm currently a student that needs something that just works. I've had nothing but compatibility issues with Open Office, and I can't afford to be docked so many points because of those issues. You also get a lot more out of it if you need to use the other programs Microsoft Office comes with. Therefore, despite the price and the pain of feeling stuck with Microsoft, I think the suite definitely pays for itself fairly quickly in the end.
Angie C. answered on June 18, 2009

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As others have pointed out, the OO interface is not as good as Micrsoft's interface. Compatibility between the way OO displays and works with files is pretty poor given that the file format is the same. If you have anything other than a default graph, for example, it's likely to get trashed in OO. OO has almost no AppleSpcript support or support for Automator Actions. It never sold well when Sun tried to sell it against Microsoft Office.

If you want free, you can use Microsoft Office Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote for free on line at Skydrive.live.com. There's nothing to install. You use the Skydrive version of Microsoft Office from any computer - Mac, PC, or even LINUX - in your FireFox, Safari or IE web browser. Your Office files are accessible from any computer with an internet connection, and you can save them locally, too.

I should point out that I am co-author of Office 2008 for Mac All-in-One For Dummies
James Gordon answered on January 12, 2010

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I just looked at sdydrive.live.com. You still have to have Office for Mac installed on your computer to use it according to what I read.
mjt answered on January 30, 2010

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You can use the Skydrive versions of Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint on line for free using the latest versions of Safari or FireFox. Here's how:
1. Go to skydrive.live.com
2. If you already have a Windows Live or Hotmail account you can sign in. Otherwise click the Sign Up link.
3. If you have no folders, click the create folder button to make an empty folder.
4. Open any folder by double-clicking on a folder under the Recent Folders heading.
5. Click New. A sub-menu offering Excel, PowerPoint, Word, and OneNote files will display.
6. Choose one of the file formats.

You may need to accept the offer to try the on-line web applications before the New button is active. You can upload Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote files using the Add files link. You can create, edit and save all formats right on line in your web browser.

If you don't see the word New when you go into a folder, try logging out and logging in again, but pay close attention to all the little notices. One of them should be a question asking if you want to use the new Office features on line, and you need to answer yes to that question before the service becomes available to you.
James Gordon answered on January 31, 2010

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This is too good to be true. I followed your instructions, but like Marilee stated, you still need to have Office for Mac installed on your computer.
M. S. Javier answered on March 18, 2010

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Interesting. I am pretty editing was available for everything except OneNote, but that no longer seems to be the case. Now I am seeing "Still to come" when I try to create a new Word document. Of course I could have been mistaken, but I am pretty darn sure I checked before posting about it.
James Gordon answered on March 21, 2010
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