During the early years of Mac OS X, many users were tied to a Windows-powered machine because of the lack of software for Mac, which is compatible with its Windows counterpart. Yet, throughout the years, most respected and most popular developers started creating their applications for Mac OS and Windows at the same time. This means that today you can use some popular application suites like Adobe’s Creative Suite or Microsoft Office, which look and feel very similar on both platforms.
On the other hand, there is a number of applications which are very usable on Mac OS X and whose mission is to import, edit and convert Windows-friendly files. One of these applications is OpenOffice Suite, which is a good replacement for infrequently updated Microsoft Office for Mac, and the best thing is that it’s completely free.
OpenOffice is an application suite consisted of six different programs, all combined in one. There’s Writer, Calc, Impress, Draw, Base and Math and each of them could be easily used as a replacement for Microsoft Word, Excel, Access and PowerPoint. The main difference is that Microsoft Office are several separated applications, while with OpenOffice you get only one icon so after you click on it, you can choose if you’d like a text processing application, or a spreadsheet creator, for example.
Writer is a word processor, while Calc is used to create and manipulate spreadsheet calculations. Impress is used to create presentations, and Draw is an application for creating graphics which could be used with other OpenOffice programs. Base is an Access replacement, which means that it’s used to manipulate databases. Finally, Math lets you create mathematical formulas and equations using specialized equation editor. Each of these applications comes with friendly user interface, so if you ever used Word, you surely won’t have any problems with OpenOffice Writer. All of the basic tools will appear once you open a specific file within OpenOffice. You can add toolbars for more advances features and operations, so don’t get confused by thinking that this is a simple and basic application.
This is an application which is available for a while now and since it’s completely free and very usable, millions of Mac users are actively using it. There’s also a Windows version, which has been around a little more than Mac-compatible version. Overall, application is very stable and fast. Actually, it’s much faster than Microsoft Office for Mac, which takes a while to load and can become buggy if you actively use it on a daily basis. It’s powerful enough to open Office document and edit it without any problems and you’ll get a chance to save OpenOffice files in Office-compatible or native formats.