Microsoft Office Alternatives
Looking for an alternative to the cost and licensing issues of Microsoft Office. Check out open source alternatives like LibreOffice and Apache OpenOffice. These office suites have matured to become viable alternatives. The best part is that both are available at NO COST other than what you spend downloading then off the Internet.
Both suites include word processor, spreadsheet, and presentation applications, a vector graphics editor, a WYSISYG HTML editor, a Math Formula editor, and a database management program, similar to Microsoft Access.
Both can import and export most Microsoft documents. Formatting may not be preserved completely on complex documents.
Here is a review of the two suites from October, 2013. One is slightly faster. One is more feature rich. The bottom line is that both are good alternatives and are being updated regularly.
The official site for LibreOffice. You can get up-to-date information and download the latest version of LibreOffice here.
This is the suite our webmaster uses and recommends.
The official site for Apache OpenOffice. You can get up-to-date information and download the latest version of Apache OpenOffice here.
Over 163 templates & template sets are available. You can find similar sites with Google.
The San Luis Coastal Unified School District (San Luis Obispo, CA) started switching over to LibreOffice in August, 2011. In one year, they were able to save over $32,000. This PDF file is the introduction letter provided to teachers & staff.
Wikipedia has more information on the history of Open Office.org.
It started with StarWriter in 1985, which became the free StarOffice in 1998. Sun Microsystems was looking for a cross-platform alternative to Office, purchased StarOffice, and used it as the basis for OpenOffice.org, an Open Source project. Oracle purchased Sun Microsystems and shut down OpenOffice.org. But others took up the project, including Apache OpenOffice and LibreOffice.
"Open Source" projects are now a viable alternative to traditional software offerings. Many state and local government agencies have found them to be of high quality and much less expensive to buy and service that the traditional alternatives.