OpenOffice is a great deal and worth downloading in lieu of Microsoft Office. For most of us that do not need the latest features in the productivity suites, and just need a basic spreadsheet, slide deck, and word processor, the open source version is good enough. I mostly need basic functionality such as bold, italics, multiple sheets and a few others. Openoffice has all the basic functionality of Microsoft Office, but the software and its upgrades are free. You will have to find your own support for the open source product, but I don’t remember the last time that I needed help for basic functionality. If I need “support,” I simply call up a tech savvy friend, and more likely just fiddle with the Help tab. The hardest part is downloading the product safely.
Initially, I was hesitate to download OpenOffice, but I then I tried it on my netbook. Once I got used to it, I have not looked back. I still have a copy of Microsoft Office on my primary computer just in case, but I have converted to the open source suite for almost of all my tasks. It is very hard to beat free, and I never got used to the all the ribbons in Office 2007 and 2010 in any case. The layout of OpenOffice is much like the layout for Microsft Office 2003 and that was simply good enough. Actually I found myself fumbling around a lot with Microsoft Office 2007. The OpenOffice product is more like Microsoft Office 2003, rather than Office 2007 and 2010. I like that.
I can open Microsoft Office documents with OpenOffice, and for most tasks it more than adequate for my needs. The most difficult part about OpenOffice is the free download. Like the downloads for most printer drivers, which as also free, you have to be very careful about the site where you downloaded the software. Because OpenOffice uses the community for the download, and not one company is policing the download, links can break and other bad things can happen. If your computer gets infected, it is more costly than paying for Microsoft Office. To be careful, download directly from the site.
Otherwise, OpenOffice is a wonderful deal, and definitely a great package. A lot of other companies will have both the OpenOffice download and a whole lot of other wonderful products and services are offered, but if you just need the basic free program, use the link above. It is a large program and does take some time to download.