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Top Office Applications

written by: Percila Jackson•edited by: Rebecca Scudder•updated: 9/17/2008

A look at the various office applications available in the market. Review the alternatives to Microsoft Office 2007. The pros and cons of various office suites.

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    Microsoft Office 2007

    The most widely used office suite.

    Office 2007 consists of a word processor (Word), Spreadsheet (Excel), Presentation tool (Powerpoint), email client (Outlook) and database (Access). The professional version has a few more tools.

    Pros

    Most user-friendly office application.

    Widely accepted document format.

    Cons

    Older versions of MS Office suite needs converters to open office 2007 files.

    Expensive. If you don't want all those extensive features, there are cheaper alternatives available.

    OpenOffice.org

    The result of twenty years of development, OpenOffice is the first name that pops up in our mind when we talk about a MS Office alternative. It's the most widely used open source office suite. The latest version of OpenOffice suite consists of a word processor (Writer), spreadsheet (Calc), presentation tool (Impress), database (Base), drawing program (Draw) and a scientific formula editor. So as far as tools are concerned, OpenOffice suite provides us with a complete set.

    Pros

    Free Improved compatibility with MS Office.

    Cons

    No Support.

    Still has some compatibility issues with Office 2007.

    Celframe Office

    Celframe office is more than just a office suite. It consists of a word processor, spreadsheet, presentation program, database, drawing tool, photo album, image editor, email client etc. (Tools included in the pro version). It's a less expensive alternative to MS Office while providing more tools. For example, some tools in Celframe suite can be compared to Adobe Photoshop, CorelDraw, etc., although not as extensive. Celframe Office supports both Microsoft document formats and OpenDocument formats.

    Pros

    Support for MS document format and OpenDocument formats.

    Inclusion of many productivity tools missing in other office suites.

    Cons

    Although it provides Photoshop and CorelDraw compatible tools, don't expect it to be a replacement for those.

    Microsoft Works

    Microsoft Works is a less expensive alternative to Microsoft Office. It includes a word processor, spreadsheet, calendar and a database. Basically it's a bundle of Word, Excel, and Powerpoint with far less features. The interface is clean and simple.

    Pros

    Less expensive than MS Office.

    Simple Interface.

    Good for users looking for an alternative to MS office but not wanting to port to non-Microsoft product.

    Cons

    Not for the power users.

    Corel WordPerfect x4

    Another impressive office suite, which for some reason is competing more with the open source alternative OpenOffice.org rather than MS Office. The Corel WordPerfect x4 suite consists of a word processor (WordPerfect), spreadsheet (Quattro Pro), presentation tool (Presentation X4), mail client (WordPerfect Mail) and a digital notebook (WordPerfect Lightning). Although this latest version of WordPerfect supports more than 60 formats and has a nice integration with the PDF formats, it still falls behind in the race. The Corel tools, although improved and impressive, fall short of the MS Office tools in power and versatility, and moreover it doesn't have the price advantage (free) which OpenOffice enjoys as an MS Office alternative.

    Pros

    Support for many formats.

    The Corel suite now includes an email client.

    Great integration with PDF

    Cons

    The user interface looks nice, but it can be haunting to learn for anyone accustomed with MS office.

    Doesn't offer a good price advantage over MS Office.

    IBM Lotus Symphony

    IBM's free office suite consist of a word processor, spreadsheet and a presentation tool. It's a new product, still has bugs waiting to be fixed, and doesn't have a wide range of tools. Still, its free price tag makes it worth a try.

    Pros

    Free.Compatible with common formats

    Cons

    Not stable.

    No email client.

    StarOffice

    Star office includes a word processor, spreadsheet, presentation tool, database, drawing tool and a formula generator. Its less expensive than the MS Office suite but unlike OpenOffice suite (which is backed by the same company, Sun Microsystems), it's not free. But unlike OpenOffice, it has many proprietary components and it also provides technical support.

    Pros

    Cheap alternative to MS Office.

    Cons

    The free OpenOffice may be a better choice, if you don't mind the lack of technical support.

    Kingsoft office

    Kingsoft office suite consists of a word processor, spreadsheet and a presentation tool. Once dominant in the Chinese market (known as WPS Office); it has struggled in the recent years to keep pace with MS Office.

    Pros

    Similar Interface with MS Office.

    Less expensive alternative to MS Office.

    Cons

    No Database Tool.

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    Images

    CellFrameMS Office 2007MS WorksOpenOfficeStarOfficeWordPerefct