If you are not equipped with the original Microsoft Office Suite, and might be fighting a lot of issues with its updates and license, then better you try out Apache OpenOffice suite that has made its way through the tough competition thrown by the Microsoft and has stood erect with its compatibility with Microsoft Office. If you ask WHY, then the simple answer is that it is FREE, and you won't have to struggle with license issues and difficult updating procedures, as they have made it all that easy for you. Simply go to their site http://www.openoffice.org/ and download the latest version. You get every alternatives to MS Office in OpenOffice like Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Access, and more.
Both as an open-source product and a project, Apache OpenOffice, it has created a multi-platform for office productivity that includes common desktop applications like word processing, spreadsheet programs, presentation management along with drawing applications. It has an interface with which you are familiar as the features are all set in a similar fashion to those office suites you are used to.
Apache OpenOffice maintains transparency while working with various file formats, that includes Microsoft Office and LibreOffice software. It is also compatible with WordPerfect documents, Microsoft PowerPoint and Apple Keynote presentations, Microsoft Excel and Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheets as well.
Written in the language C++ and Java, Apache OpenOffice stands as an independent platform application supportive of Windows, Linux and Mac OS X operating systems. It runs on both 32-bit and 64-bit architectures. It can also be successfully ported to Solaris (x86/SPARC), FreeBSD, OS/2 and Mac OS X PowerPC.
The Language Support
Apache OpenOffice is translated into more than170 languages, providing system support for unified menu API, C++ STL and the Python programming language.
Apache OpenOffice works on the following platforms
Windows 7 (32 bit)
Windows 7 (64 bit)
Windows Vista (32 bit)
Windows Vista (64 bit)
Mac OS X
The New Version 4.1.1
Apache OpenOffice has launched its latest Version 4.1.1that is packed with the significant changes as follows.
Additional Platform Support
Additional Language Support
New and Updated Dictionaries
OpenOffice is a Open Source, Free office productivity suite without any subscription fee or a lump sum amount. You don't have any license issue and any user can use it by simply downloading it from their official site. It is Compatibile with the same file formats of programs like Microsoft Word and Excel. The most amazing feature is that the Microsoft Office files open and work with OpenOffice, as well.
It is true that inspite of quite a satisfactory functionality, Open Office won't work for heavy Excel usersas it is not compatibile with Visual Basic Applications, and if your macro functions are dependent on Microsoft's environment, then Open Office won't be standing as that useful for you.
With the basic Presentations, Open Office Impress will work. But you cannot expect the variety of designs, templates, collaborative features and transitions of PowerPoint in OpenOffice Impress, though it will open those files imported from MS Powerpoint.
If you are working on the basic level of word Processing, Spreadsheets and Presentations, or you need to access the MS Office files, then with Apache OpenOffice you will be all ready and running. But for advanced professional tasks, it may fall short of expectations even with its latest versions. So to be honest, OpenOffice needs quite a giant leap in technical upgradation to compete with Microsoft Office.