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How Do I Choose the Best Open Source Office Software?

Amanda R. Bell
Amanda R. Bell

Choosing the best open source office software begins by determining what you need the software to do, and whether you require a simple word processor or a suite. Reading reviews online from companies and users that have tested the product will give you a good idea of the performance of the open source office software and prepare you for any issues that you may encounter with the programs. Ensuring that the software you choose will be compatible with other programs and will run on your computer is also a good idea.

There is a variety of open source office software available. Before looking into each individual program, it can be helpful to determine exactly what you want. If you only need a word processor or other single program, you can likely find the best product in that class without looking into any additional add-ons or features. On the other hand, if you need an entire office suite, it is typically best to choose products from the same company or a packaged suite so that all of the programs are guaranteed to be compatible, which can make transferring information between each individual program easier.

Woman with hand on her hip
Woman with hand on her hip

The next step in choosing the best open source office software is to read reviews from companies that have tested the product. This will typically give you an idea of what each program offers, as well as an easy way to compare all of your options. When doing this, make sure that the company reviewing the product is unbiased. In general, a technology magazine or website that only features one brand is an extension of that brand, and will likely not provide you with honest information.

Once you have a few ideas on what open office software programs will suit your needs, begin looking into customer reviews of the product. It can be helpful to specifically research what you need and want the software to do. For example, if you need a word processor with an excellent grammar check, look for reviews from customers who provide details on how they have found the product to work in this area. As open source office software is often modified and improved upon by users, these reviews will also give you a good idea of what faults the programs may have and whether fixes to these issues are available or in development.

As with any type of software, making sure that the program will run on your computer is important. The system requirements for the open source office software will typically be available on the download page, and oftentimes in the reviews and overviews provided by outside companies. It is also important to determine how files are saved in the open office software and to make sure that the files will be compatible and usable with other programs. For example, creating a presentation that cannot be opened by the program used by your company to show the presentation will likely cause problems.

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