Alternative to Microsoft Office

Most people think that they must have Microsoft Office in order to work in an office environment or to work with colleagues that use Microsoft Office products.  This is especially true when it comes to working with Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Word.  Basically, these are so widely used that most people do not know about the completely free and compatible alternative - Open Office.

Here is the link to the site where you can get the software

This software bills itself as "The Free and Open Productivity Suite" and it pretty much is that.

In place of Excel, they have Calc.  For Word, they have Writer.  For Access, they have Base.  And, they have a few other programs too; but, most people only every use Excel and Word.

How Can I use this Free Software with Microsoft Office?

Let's use Calc (the Excel equivalent) as an example here.  Open up Calc and you will notice that it looks a lot like older versions of Excel and that it functions in a similar manner.  So, there is not going to be a huge learning curve when it comes to using Calc.  But, most importantly, Calc can run a spreadsheet saved in any of Microsoft Excel's formats.  Go to File > Open and click the drop-down arrow next to where it says "Files of type:"  You will see a huge list of file types and, in the spreadsheet section, you will see basically every Microsoft Excel file type along with many more.  This can open Excel 95, 97, 2003, 2007, binary, xml, and more.  You can even open Lotus files.  Basically, this was built to be compatible.  And, not only can you open a file in any one of these formats, but you can also save the file in almost all of the formats.

So, as far as compatibility goes, this piece of software ranks high up there.  Also, it's fairly easy to use if you're coming from the Microsoft Office environment, and ITS FREE.

Now, this article doesn't cover everything the OpenOffice software can do, but it should give you the idea that there is an alternative to using Microsoft Office and that this is a free and highly compatible alternative.  To learn more and to download the software, go to

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