Monday, June 09, 2014

Should I Dump my office suite for Something Simpler?

Should I Dump Office for Something Simpler?

I write in answer the question "Do I lose my documents if I uninstall the complicated OpenOffice?" 

Since way back when, both OpenOffice and its descendant LibreOffice have improved dramatically.  Furthermore, the file format handlings have changed.  The net result is that both are less buggy (more reliable), and they can do a better job of saving and loading documents in any of a variety of formats including their native ODT (open document text) format and DOCX (Microsoft Document eXtension) format.  Naturally, Microsoft continues to make some changes to its document format, perhaps to keep them from becoming totally cross-compatible, but also because Microsoft continues to improve Office. The members of Apache and The Document Foundation continue to follow suit.

Since way back then, Open Office has changed hands from Sun Microsystems to Oracle to Apache.  And while in Oracle's possession and control, a developer group, The Document Foundation,  forked a version called LibreOffice in order to keep it totally free and open.  Oracle, seeing interest in Open Office wane, gave it to Apache (the maker of Apache web server, the most popular in the world).  Now all of the Linux providers bundle LibreOffice with the operating system, except that Oracle bundles Open Office with its version of Red Hat. 

In time i imagine LibreOffice will overtake Microsoft Office in popularity because it is totally free.  And it works beautifully.  And it is loaded with features people need and want to make professional looking documents.  Both LibreOffice and OpenOffice developers share their code base with one another, so I don't think it much matters which one you pick, if you pick either.  LibreOffice has a feature called Charts at the moment that OpenOffice does not provide.  And of course, you can download all kinds of free templates for making documents pre-styled like letters, reports, greeting cards, slide presentations, popular database and spreadsheet setups, etc.  Read the history of OpenOffice and LibreOffice at

Yes, you get a lot of features with them, like having 7 products rolled into a suite.  You don't need them if you only write an occasional letter.  But then they take up little hard drive space and don't slow down your computer, so why not have it in case you want to make a little spread sheet budget like PearBudget, or knock out a quick slide show to make some points to a group.  In other words, I suggest that you upgrade yours to the latest version, rather than uninstall it.

And yes, with more features, you get more complication.  Just imagine how complicated a car is compared to a bicycle.  And how complicated would your car get if it could also fly and motor around in the ocean! 

Answer and Alternatives

To answer your question, you don't lose your documents by uninstalling it.  They'll still be in your My Documents folder.  And any office version can open it.

In case you want a little help, you can always call me.  I help any and everybody by sharing anything I know, FREE.  You know my number, and you haven't called in the longest time.

Just to let you know, various providers have made available on-line versions of document creation and management tools.  Some are free, some cost.  Microsoft wants to sell its "Office 365" and offered me free access for a while, but I failed to get the point. I won't pay for a document service when I can get a good compatible service free.  I like Google Docs (part of Google Drive) and Microsoft's Live with its One Drive free storage and document tools.  They don't have nearly the features of the installable software (office, libreoffice, openoffice)

Office Suites (loaded with features that take more time to learn)

Costly Office Suite
Microsoft Office 365 - they expect you to buy a subscription for offline/online use on any device
Microsoft Office Pro Plus 2013 with SP1 (Torrent) - download it if you have qBittorrent installed
The Office 2013 missing manual (torrent)
Getting started with OpenOffice book (torrent)

Simple Word Offline Processors (easy to learn, fewer features, you get the basics)

Free Online Document Tools (simple to use, you need to get an account to use, and can use it for online email too, and these give you CLOUD (online disk) storage space for your document files, you can share files with others through permanent file links. Of course the downside of these lies in your requirement to have internet access, but they work with tablet, smart phone, desktop/laptop PC/MAC, etc.  And you have limited storage for junk files.) - 15G - 7G - 5G


I wrote this message to you using Thunderbird, a free email client (running on my PC under Windows or UBUNTU Linux, not on an internet server).  Eventually I will probably switch to total online email (webmail).  I have it available, on my own server for which I have paid $100 rent a month for the past 15 years.  But it does not have the features of Google/Live/Zoho.

It has passable word processing features, but actually uses HTML (web page) formatting codes, and displays emails like a web browser would, so it has about the same ability to make nice looking documents as Google Docs, but structures them with email headers, etc, and allows attachments, which the above doc tools don't.  I use it to send messages to my blogs at blogger and wordpress.

SO complicated.


I have suggested that you spend a little more time learning your tools, rather than dumping them for something simpler. Then you will have fun using them and can become a consultant and teacher to others.  And you can do any task within the limits of you and the tools, and increase your capability as you try out new features.  Just think of the capability school children will have because they took the time to learn how to format documents to look beautiful.

You aren't alone.  I have my learning challenges too.  I have reduced the stress by finding books to which I can refer, AND I have learned to find and use online resources as well.  And over time, old tools drop off because their developers did not keep up with modern needs.  For example, I never use ABIword, even though I have it, because Office/Libreoffice offers so many more formatting features.

By the way, you need to learn to use style sheets because they have built in codes which you never see, and those let you change styles to get a different looking document that respects your formatting like bold, underline, headings, paragraphs, etc.  The different styles use different font faces, spacings, margins, etc. So, you get the same content, but a different appearance.  Thus, you can create a marketing / promo piece, or use the same content to make a letter.  Or you can use styles to structure a book, or a report.  These can become important for a person of knowledge like you.

Cheer up.  Embrace your challenges.  Life's a beautiful adventure in a friendly place, with curiosity driving us on daily toward eternity from opportunity to challenge to explore and understand and become part of deity and of the universe of universes.

Bob Hurt            Blog 1 2 3   f  t  
2460 Persian Drive #70
Clearwater, FL 33763
Email Call: (727) 669-5511
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On 2014-06-08 14:38, Marty Stricker wrote:
Bob, years ago I installed OpenOffice on your recommendation.  It seems
unnecessarily complicated to me. I like to keep things as simple as possible.
What would happen to the files I now have in OpenOffice if I uninstall OpenOffice?

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