When you first arrive at a college campus, your wallet is likely to be torn open like a six-year-old’s birthday present. From tuition to housing to books and more, there’s always something more to spend on. Further, you’ll often be expected to purchase and learn a variety of new computer programs. On this last note, the open source community has some tools to help you. When it comes to word processing and other basic document creation, there’s no educational resource quite so powerful as Open Office.
What Is Open Office?
Most of us grew up on either the “Microsoft Office” suite, or at least some variation thereof (Word Perfect, for example). However, these commercial products limit the access to other file types to maintain a “domain.” Not so with Open Office. You can easily open, edit, and even publish to a variety of different document formats.
As an “open source” product, Open Office is also completely free of charge, and it sees rapid, intelligent support from the active open source development community.
Using Open Office for Education
Having Open Office helps the first few days of your higher education by saving you a noticeable amount of money. However, its real advantages can be seen in the following features:
-You can customize your own shortcut keys and commands to quickly repeat common actions in your documents.
-You can create advanced spreadsheets, presentation documents, and richly formatted word documents, helping you on your way to an A.
-You can format your files as any standard format your professors require.
-You can open any file format your professors throw at you.
-You can load the entire program, including your settings and shortcuts, onto a single thumb drive using Open Office Portable.
There are plenty of other features as well, but there’s little doubt that OpenOffice is among the best pieces of modern educational technology currently available.