Friday, November 05, 2004

Some thoughts on OpenOffice

In an earlier post, I said that I am more inclined to use a product based on its merits than on it's brand. As a testament to that claim, I have been finding myself using OpenOffice more and more lately. It is a good product that does a number of things very nicely. Now don't get me wrong, I love Microsoft Office and consider myself a very good salesman for the product, but it is not a perfect product.

There are a number of things I like about OpenOffice, but let me give just one example of something it does very well. For school, right now I am doing a lot of article writing of pieces that are getting posted on a web page I don't control. To insure that my work remains my work, I wanted to publish PDF files. I am not personally aware of any way to save a Word document in PDF format, but OpenOffice has a "publish to PDF" button on the toolbar. The resulting file maintains formatting almost perfectly.

There is a LOT of room for improvement for OpenOffice, but rest assured that this geek will be keeping an eye on it.

1 comment:

Josh Bancroft said...

OpenOffice definitely has a lot of potential. It's small enough (about 60MB installer) that I keep it on my USB flash drive on my keychain as part of my toolkit.

Printing to PDF is a nice feature, but there are free methods to do this using other programs, including MS Office. Basically, what they do is install a printer that creates the PDF when you select it as your printer. That way, you can create PDFs from any Windows app that can print to a printer. I think one of them is called OpenPDF, but if you Google "free PDF writer", you should be able to find several.