Discuss about the Compare and Contrast Between MS Word and Openoffice Writer.
The said report is being prepared for my employer who is considering adoption of desktop application and hence needs to understand which one would be better in terms of functionality and the ease of its use. The two products that are being considered are MS Word and Open Office Writer. However before these two products can be compared it is very important to know briefly about these two application software.
MS Word is the abbreviated version of Microsoft Office, is a graphical word processing application which enables users to type content in English or such other languages. Word files enable users to send emails or type text documents with ease. It is a part of the Microsoft Office Suite. Similar to the said application package is the OpenOffice Writer which belongs to the OpenOffice software package. The same is compatible with various operating systems such as Microsoft Windows, Linux and Solaris. It was out under the terms of the Apache License.
The said discussion heads towards comparing the two application systems i.e. MS Word and OpenOffice Writer with regards the functions it performs and the ease of its usability as apart from the cost factor. These two factors play a very decisive role with regards which application to install. First and foremost it is to be understood that the application that we chose should support both older versions of the computers and laptops and the newer versions as well. The OpenOffice proposes greater support for the computers with older versions as compared to the latest editions of Microsoft Office. Office 2003 defines that its minimum spec is a Pentium 450 MHz with 256 MB RAM while OpenOffice lists a Pentium 166 MHz processor with 128 MB RAM. As stated earlier OpenOffice runs well on Linux and the same runs all the more smoothly with older systems which Windows 2000 or XP doesn’t.
However when compared basis its usability, any employee who has used MS Word will find it easy to work with Writer as well. The initial interface of OpenOffice was not user friendly but its newer version 2.0 has adopted a page from Microsoft Book, thus ensuring that the interface now is a more familiar one. Switching over from MS Word to OpenOffice Writer would be like moving from the Office 2000 version of MS Word to Office 2003 version of MS Word. The difference between the two applications is minor but the conceptual framework is same.
Focussing on specific functions performed by these applications and the ones which are a part of the daily usage of the organization the difference between the two will enable my employer to decide upon the option.
STYLE: The Style function helps the users to define the formats they want in their text or paragraph once and then apply it to the entire document. MS Word allows the same function and if done manually also it just leads to sacrifice of a little bit of time. However in case of OpenOffice Writer the said situation is not the same. If the same is done manually in Writer then the task is more laborious and cumbersome thus forces the users to do formatting of a document with styles only. Further the page style function in a Writer is specifically useful for the designers and not for the ones who know the basics of the computers. But in contradiction to the same the page design of MS Word is much simpler and does not extend beyond adding borders to the pages and themes for basic page.
Thus it can be said that Writer is not impressive for the users who do formatting manually because of the broad usage of styles but the enforcement of style by Writer gives the program the power it needs. Whereas even though MS Word has got an improved version of formatting yet it is limited and less powerful as compared to the Writer. The two figures below show the window of MS Word and OpenOffice Writer respectively.
TEMPLATES: Templates are the saved documents so that processing of the other documents can be done basis those templates. Although the same helps to save a lot of time but in MS Word it causes various issues. The option with regards formatting is a part of both the template and the document as well. If the data in the two places are not the same then the document is considered to be corrupted and not of any use. Further the said situation is complicated because of the fact that MS Word allows numerous templates to be a part of a single document. The second issue with regards this function is that the style functions gives an option to the users to select the option of “Add to Template” button whenever changes are to be made manually (Kath, 2011). Although may be that the said feature is enabled to maintain a sync between the templates and the documents but unfortunately the same can lead to reformatting of the document when the user reopens the same. Thus it concludes that the default template varies from workstations to workstations. Thus the users who use MS Word are generally unsure of the fact as to how a document would resemble on another system.
In contradiction to the same the said issues do not occur in OpenOffice Writer. The link between the templates and the documents are not as tight as that in MS Word. Template is allowed to do only initial formatting and a connection is given which gives the option of updating the document by making adequate changes to the template. Thus the problem of corruption of file is much less in Writer than in Word.
TABLES: The said feature is almost the same in both the Writer as well as MS Word but the said is less flexible as compared to the Word 2003 feature of table. Although the table feature in Word is not so extravagant but the auto formatting feature of table which the Writer offers is just for the sake of and not beneficial. For example if a table with five rows is created using auto-format with alternate green and red rows then the said feature is successfully applicable only for those five rows and not for any extra row added further (Rivas, 2016).
But it is to be understood that Writer performs basic calculations in a better manner and its system is much easier from the users’ point of view when compared to the MS Word’s esoteric system (Wiki.openoffice.org, 2016)
HEADERS AND FOOTERS: Unfortunately with regards the said function MS Word is still struggling by a WYSIWYG treatment. The same is still not visible easily on the MS Word window and users have to look into an uncomfortable floating window. But in Writer the same is not an issue as the header and footer are easily noticeable in the editing windowpane. Thus in Writer, putting in numerous headers is a matter of defining new page styles and moving from one page’s header or footer to the other is a matter of moving the cursor or using keyboard short cuts. Thus the header and footer of MS Word needs serious revamping.
DRAWING TOOLS: The version 2.0 of the Writer has a similar drawing tool feature to that of the Word 2003. Both the application offers such drawing tools which enables users to perform simple and easy graphics work. Even though MS Word has an added advantage of Visio being a part of its Office Suite but OOo Writer also has a superior choice of graphics used generally in its OOo Draw function. Thus in this case both stand at the same page.
INDEXES AND TABLE OF CONTENTS: Although both the applications offer users to create indexes and the table of contents but greater number of alternatives are available in Writer than in MS Word. For instance, Writer offers the users to divide the indexes and the table fo contents into columns or set a background colour or graphic which is not allowed by MS Word (ByField, 2005). Thus Writer is a better option with this regard as it offers the users with a choice of wider designs.
EMAIL INTEGRATION: The greatest advantage the MS Word offers is that of integration of Emails with the Microsoft Outlook which is an email and calendaring package . It enables to send an email directly from the MS Word and also enables to view the file directly in the Outlook without opening the application. However the same is not the scene in Writer which allows to email documents but not previewing (Mal, 2015). For calendaring a separate application needs to be downloaded.
On analysing the above data it is evident that Writer is a step ahead of MS Word in most of the features it offers and the usability of the same. Writer enables one to create and format larger and longer documents easy. The documentation of the OpenOffice.org has a past of being written in Writer itself because of which the programmers have an added advantage of including various tools as required. This is what makes the Writer superior to competitors such as MS Word.
Moreover it would be wrong to say that Writer is perfect in all context as in order to copy the feature of MS Word many important features get hidden. The same is performing extraordinarily as compared to MS Word and in considering the requirements of our office, I would suggest that we should switch over to OpenOffice Writer as it would help us to create and format larger documents with much ease. Time is also equivalent to money in today’s scenario and ease is what all users look up to, hence keeping these two important notions switching over to OpenOffice Writer is better.
ByField, B., (2005), OpenOffcie.org Writer vs Microsoft Word, Available at https://www.linux.com/news/openofficeorg-writer-vs-microsoft-word (Accessed 02nd December 2016)
Kath, B., (2011), Difference between Microsoft Word, OpenOffice Writer and Google Doc, Available at https://barbarakath.blogspot.in/2011/08/difference-between-microsoft-word.html (Accessed 02nd December 2016)
Mal, B., (2015), MS Office Vs Open Office, Available at https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/ms-office-vs-open-mal-b (Accessed 02nd December 2016)
Rivas, D., (2016), Microsoft Office vs OpenOffice.Org, Available at https://www.techsoup.org/support/articles-and-how-tos/ms-office-vs-openoffice (Accessed 02nd December 2016)
Wiki.openoffice.org, (2016), Working with Tables in Writer, Available at https://wiki.openoffice.org/wiki/Documentation/UserGuide/Writer/Tables (Accessed 02nd December 2016)