MS Office versus OpenOffice: Why is MS Office Better?

The MS Office suite has been a leader in the market for a significant amount of years. Despite that, with the arrival of open source platform, a way for new applications has been paved. Although there was once a time when organizations looking for data processing, presentation packages, etc could only resort to Microsoft Office. Now, OpenOffice is becoming popular due to its viability and affordability. OpenOffice is the main competitor of MS Office.

OpenOffice and MS Office suite are both essentially the same in the view that they offer the same products. In case of a word processor, MS Office has Word and OpenOffice has Writer. For spreadsheets, MS Office has Excel and OpenOffice has Calc. For slide presentations, MS Office has PowerPoint and OpenOffice has Impress. The most significant difference in the two is the price. OpenOffice was created with the aim that it will be open source rather than being commercial.

Here are some key differences between MS Office and OpenOffice-

Open Source versus Commercial:-

The greatest difference between MS Office and OpenOffice is the philosophy behind it. Since Microsoft Office is created by a single vendor, selling the Office suite commercially helps in funding. OpenOffice software is a result of collaboration between people and volunteers.

Interface and Usability:-

The interface of Microsoft Office is the de facto standard for office suites. Microsoft Office introduced the ribbon toolbar in 2007. The recent version of MS Office has a slightly modified ribbon toolbar interface. OpenOffice lacks the ribbon toolbar and has a traditional interface which resembles the interface of MS Office 2003. The interface of MS Office is advanced and polished. The interface of OpenOffice is simplistic and retro.

 Remote Access:-

Microsoft Office 365 introduced a web collaboration feature. This feature allowed integration with OneDrive thus making the documents more portable and allowing the users to edit them on multiple devices. Microsoft Office 2016 also offers the feature of real-time collaboration on Microsoft Word and PowerPoint’s desktop version. While LibreOffice has a mobile app and is working towards getting an online version of Office 365, the remote access feature is yet to be released.

Specific Features:-

Here is a list of features offered by MS Office and OpenOffice. The comparisons between the features are listed below:

  • Grammar Checker: Microsoft Word and Writer both come with a built-in grammar checking tool. Even though the OpenOffice provides add-ons which can be installed in order to provide advanced grammar checking, these grammar checking add-ons and tools are less efficient than the Microsoft Word’s default options.
  • Conditional Formatting: Both MS Office Excel and OpenOffice Cal provides conditional formatting. Conditional formatting refers to the ability to format cells automatically considering the data properties contained within them. MS Office Excel is more flexible and gives more control to the user in the realm of conditional formatting.
  • File Size: Compared to the file formats of Microsoft Office, the OpenOffice file formats will create smaller files. Although now the webmail services have increased attachment size limits, and the hard drive capacity has also increased along with the online storage, the file size is not a significant issue anymore.

The arguments made by Microsoft Office and OpenOffice are always strong. While Microsoft Office is more versatile, OpenOffice is very cost effective. If you want an application for basic usage then OpenOffice might be the best alternative for you. However, if you are looking for more advanced features and you do not mind paying for it then you should consider investing in Microsoft Office suite.

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