Last week I provided a general overview of various office productivity software suites: Microsoft Office, OpenOffice, Google Docs, and Windows Live Office. This week I bring you a very high-level comparison of OpenOffice and Microsoft Office, two products that you can install today.
Both products will meet the needs of 99% of homeschoolers out there. You may run into a few compatibility issues with OpenOffice especially when importing documents from other suites like Word Perfect.
If you’re used to the MS Office interface (especially the ribbon) there will be a learning curve if you switch to OpenOffice. I was often frustrated when we switched because I couldn’t find a tool or feature.
Both products are stable and perform very well. OpenOffice is a little lighter with regard to CPU and memory usage because it lacks some of the bells and whistles that are in MS Office and this translates to a little bit better performance. If you have a new computer you probably won’t notice the difference, though.
If price is an issue (and it often is for homeschoolers) then OpenOffice is the choice for yo. Unless wait until Office goes on sale after the holidays or decide to purchase it when you buy a new PC you’ll probably pay close to the retail price: $149. Microsoft does offer discounts to homeschoolers so you may be able to purchase MS Office at a reduced price if you’re eligible.
That’s it for this week. Next week I’ll cover Google Docs and Windows Live Office.
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