What is OpenOffice and Why Should Your Business Use It?

What is OpenOffice and Why Should Your Business Use It?

OpenOffice, sometimes abbreviated as OO, is a free and open-source office productivity software suite offered by The Apache Software Foundation (ASF) for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, databases, graphics, and more.

What is OpenOffice? A Free Productivity Suite.

The office productivity software suite is available in many languages and is compatible with all major operating systems, including Apple MacOS, Microsoft Windows and Linux. It includes four main applications: Writer, Calc, Impress, and Base – which are basically competitors to Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Access respectively.

Because OO is free, it can save you money that you would need to buy costly office productivity suites in the market. This cost can be an unwanted expense if your business is on a tight budget.

How Apache OpenOffice Works

According to ASF, Apache OpenOffice is the result of over twenty years’ software engineering. It is a mature and stable product that has been downloaded over 200 million times worldwide, as of 2016.

OO offers a high degree of compatibility with none of the costs or license worries. It has a friendly user interface and feature set similar to those of ‘commercial’ office suites. These premium features have in recent years encouraged many organizations across the board to try the program.

Among the organizations and industries that Apache lists as having adopted OO are:

  • Governments
  • Education
  • Businesses
  • Not for profits
  • IT Businesses
  • F/OSS advocates

Small businesses from corner-shops to grocery stores and restaurant chains love Apache OpenOffice because it is a free and secure product that guarantees trouble-free usage.

Behind the scenes, OO stores all your valuable data in a format approved by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). It also allows you to exchange data between office software, accounting software, planning software — any software – as easily as opening and saving a file.

“No transcription errors, no typing the same information twice — no hassle computing,” writes ASF on the official Apache OpenOffice website.

One issue that open-source office productivity suites like OpenOffice and competitor LibreOffice have, though, is that they are not Cloud based at the moment. Microsoft Office and Google Docs Online have this advantage for collaboration.

Reasons to Use Apache OpenOffice

There are still quite a number of benefits in the open software’s favor. First is the price. Apache OpenOffice is free. Small businesses looking for professional-caliber office productivity suite of programs for free may find OpenOffice a good alternative to other options.

Secondly, Apache OpenOffice is easy to learn. If you’re already using another office software package, you will take to OpenOffice straight away, says Apache. And if you already have files from another office package — OpenOffice will likely read them with no difficulty.

Moreover, OO is released under the Apache 2.0 License that allows you to use the software for any purpose – commercial, domestic, educational, public administration. You may also install OO on as many computers as you like and make copies and give them away to family, friends, employees – anyone.

Also, OpenOffice allows for the use of “extensions” and document “templates” that can be quite useful to businesses. An extension is a third party tool that brings OpenOffice new functions, explains ASF. This can be done through addons, addins deployed by Unlimited Networks of Opportunities (UNO) packages. Templates, on the other hand, are document setups designed for specific uses.

Additionally, your IT team can customize the OO open-source code to suite your business’ exact needs, improve it, or use the code to create something completely new and release the changes to the public.

You can download Apache OpenOffice entirely free from www.openoffice.org.

Image: OpenOffice.org 3 Comments ▼

David William David William is a Staff Writer for Small Business Trends. He covers franchises, brick and mortar businesses, public policy and other small business issues. He is also founding editor of WebWriterSpotlight.

3 Reactions
  1. I have personally tried OpenOffice and I liked it. My only problem with it is its compatibility. It doesn’t necessarily display in the same way I created the document or spreadsheet.

  2. The issue with Apache OpenOffice right now though is their struggle to get a release together which is leading to insecure systems as a result of security issues not being timely addressed.

    And that’s as something as important as security issues.

    When it comes to feature updates and general bug fixes the situation is even worse.

    Since IBM withdrew support they have been averaging only a single bugfix release annually, and minor fixes at that.

    Really there’s no good reason to use it over LibreOffice at this time seeing as that’s where all the development mind share and activity went.

  3. Apache OpenOffice is not good for business: it’s not able to properly open modern MS Office documents in docx/xlsx/pptx format.

    Even worst it can’t SAVE in that format: do you edit a Docx your boss send you? You’ll never be able to save and send it back in the original format.
    Useless for any professional use.