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Office software Reviews
15,670 Reviews PC Advisor Recommended

OpenOffice.org 3.0 review

FREE

Manufacturer: OpenOffice.org

Our Rating: We rate this 4.5 out of 5

Whether OpenOffice 3.0 is right for you comes down to this decision: can you live without the latest features in Microsoft Office 2007?

Whether OpenOffice 3.0 is right for you comes down to this decision: can you live without the latest features in Microsoft Office 2007?

OpenOffice.org is a powerful productivity suite - including tools for word processing, spreadsheets, slideshows and more - with one major additional feature: it's free. It works for Windows, Mac and Linux systems.


Most of the tools you need for productivity are included in OpenOffice.org 3.0, minus an email client. There's Writer, a powerful word processor; Calc for spreadsheets; Impress for slideshows; Draw for basic drawing and graphics; and Base to serve as - you guessed it - a database.

See also:

Microsoft Office 2007: the definitive review

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OpenOffice.org 3.0: major improvements

OpenOffice.org 3.0 OpenOffice 3 is a major upgrade over the previous version, with plenty of new features, native OS support, and all the tools most people would need to get their work done. You begin in a splash screen called the Start Center, with new icons for the different applications you can select (you can't start the individual apps from the Applications folder). You can share data between apps, and run more than one module at the same time.

OpenOffice 3.0 is fast. The Writer application zips along, formatting a 200-page novel at lightning speed - like we were using a basic txt editor.

Calc, the spreadsheet program, also runs fast. OpenOffice.org - which is a collaborative effort from developers who donate their time - does not post the minimum processing speed to run the apps, and says that only 256MB RAM is required. However, we'd recommend you have at least a gig of RAM.

There's another major change in the latest version of the software: OpenOffice.org 3.0 supports the OpenDocument 2.1 (ODF) standard, a popular format that's used around the world, especially by government agencies. Speaking of format support: Writer supports Microsoft Word files, so you can open them and then save them in Word format or as ODF.

However, if you want to save a document in Word format, you must continually choose "Save as" because the program does not natively support Word. In fact, the Save menu is dimmed when you open a Word file. This forces you to make a decision about whether you should start using ODF, a format that is still not supported by Microsoft Word.

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OpenOffice.org 3.0 Expert Verdict »
Windows 2000 (Service Pack 2 or higher)/XP/Server 2003/Vista
256MB RAM (512MB RAM recommended)
650 MB available disk space for a default install (including a JRE) via download, after installation and deletion of temporary installation files, OpenOffice.org will use approximately 440MB disk space
1024x768 or higher resolution with at least 256 colours. Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger) or higher
Intel Processor
512 MB RAM
400 MB available disk space
1024 x 768 or higher resolution with 16.7 Million colours
  • Features: We give this item 9 of 10 for features
  • Overall: We give this item 9 of 10 overall

The decision here is not whether OpenOffice.org 3 is worth the download--the program is free - but whether you really need to buy Microsoft Office 2007. Ultimately, Office 2007 is the superior product. You'll get extensive call-in support, few crashes, and the latest and most advanced features. On the other hand, OpenOffice.org 3.0 is one of those 80-20 products. It will do what 80 percent of what most of people need it to do. It's speedy, feature-rich, and does what it says it will do very well. And if that's all you really need (and if you can live without the latest Office features), it's definitely worth the effort.

There are currently no price comparisons for this product.
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    OpenOffice 2.2 is the latest update of the open-source rival to Microsoft Office 2007. Our OpenOffice 2.2 review shows that there is plenty to recommend the free alternative.

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    OpenOffice 3.0 shows that you don't have to pay a bundle for a great office suite - in fact, you don't even have to pay a penny.


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