Productivity Software: A Comparative


There are many types of productivity software that one can use for such things as text documents, spreadsheets and presentations. Right now Microsoft Office is the most popular in business and even for personal use. The main reason for this is that Microsoft Office comes with many pc’s when you buy the computer.
This does not necessarily make it the only productivity software that’s any good or by any means the best. There are several other options out there for the person who either wants it all or wants it cheap. There are even some productivity software that are completely free for use by anyone. Others are comparable in price to Microsoft office but have the same or even more features.

Choosing the right productivity software for you is a personal choice (like how I choosed my Toad Diaries) and will depend on what you need if for, what features you want included and how much you want to pay. If you’re in business your productivity software needs will be different than someone who just needs to keep a checkbook and write some letters. This paper will offer you some options and help you make an informed decision.

Firefox – Browser

1. Many add ons and tools to choose from.

2. Favorites are easier to use and more organized.

3. Open source.

4. Free.

Safari – Browser

1. Favorites are easier to use and more organized.

2. Faster browsing.

3. Toolbars take up less space so you have a larger viewing area.

4. Free.

Word Perfect – Word Processor

1. Full feature suite, just like Office, comes with spreadsheet, presentations and email.

2. PDF tools.

3. Microsoft Office compatible.

4. Templates and advice built in.

OpenOffice – Word Processor

1. Free and open source.

2.Very easy to use tools that pop up when you need them. Like this table tool for instance.

3. Backgrounds, rulers, bullets, themes and sounds.

4. Free PDF conversion.

Microsoft Works – Word Processor

1. Free

2. No fancy graphics editor like Word, but good enough for me to write this paper.

Lotus – Spreadsheet

1.Voice activated templates.

2. @ functions make problem solving easier.

3. Simple summarizing by just typing in words such as “total”, “average”, “maximum”.

OpenOffice – Spreadsheet

1. Free and open source.

2. Does everything Excel does.

3. Backgrounds, rulers, bullets, themes and sounds.

4. Free PDF conversion.

Prezi -Presentation

1. Free.

2. Point amp; click, drag amp; drop. Very easy to use.

OpenOffice – Presentation

1. Free and open source.

2. Templates.

3. Easy to add charts.

4. Slide designer.

Does Microsoft Office 2007 Justify the Cost

When I compare the cost of Microsoft Office to the cost of OpenOffice there is just no way for me to justify the cost. OpenOffice, after all, is free and does at least as much as Microsoft Office does. For someone who is looking for productivity software for their own personal use I would say OpenOffice would be the way to go.

If, however, you are in business and you often find yourself sending documents to other people, you may want to invest in Microsoft Office. Not only because of the compatibility factor but also for convenience. If you were to use another type of software for your documents you would have the need to convert them before sending them to other people. This can become a cumbersome and weary task.

There are, of course other options out there. One of the best spreadsheet software on the market is Lotus 1-2-3. It includes some features Excel does not such as it’s speech enabled templates (Lotus 1-2-3, Features, 2010) . If you’re going to use the spreadsheets for your own personal use, this may be one to consider, although it’s not cheaper than Microsoft Office.

There’s also the free online option of Google Documents. Since it’s free this makes it a good option for home and school use. Since it’s online it’s easy to take with you places. You don’t even need to download it to a flash drive, although you will need Internet access. Free and online are it’s benefits, but it has it downside too, it’s not as advanced as Microsoft Office by any means. There are many features that are missing.

Compatibility Challenges When Using Different Products

Often times people choose to use one type of software and then realize that the person they are sending the document to will not be able to read their document because they have a different type of software. This happens often with text documents, images, spreadsheets and others. For the purpose of this paper I will discuss compatibility issues with text documents.

If I were to write a document using Word and then open the document in a plain text editor I would see a bunch of code, that’s no good to me at all. If I were to write my document in OpenOffice and then try to open it in Word it may look fine, if it’s a basic document. On the other hand, if any tables, graphics or extra features were used, it may look distorted. There is a way to create a document in OpenOffice and save it as a .doc file, but even that does not guarantee that the document will look right.

Another issue may be that a font you may choose to use in one text software may not be available in the other software. Or a graphic, such as a divider, emoticon or other type of clip art, may not show up. Your tables may be wider or longer than you wanted them to be.

Printing is also an issue. If some of the other things on your pages are not lined up correctly on this other software, your documents may print wrong. You may have some pages that print with just one line of words, or only an image.

It’s always good to find out what software your reader is using and then test your document in that software before sending. Make any changes as necessary so that you don’t end up looking like you don’t know how to format a document correctly.

Memo Example – Page One (To Staff)

To: Ahmed Kandil

From: Linda Roeder

CC: Introduction to Information Systems Students

Date: Aug 14, 2010

Subject: Software Products to Use In the Home, Office and School

I would like to take this opportunity to discuss with you which software products I feel are best to use when working at home, in the office or at school. Many people use Microsoft Office, mostly due to the fact that the demo comes with their computer so it’s the software that they’re most familiar with. This does not necessarily make it the best software available, although it is very good.

My feeling is that if you are looking for productivity software to use at work, Microsoft Office is your best bet. The main reason I say this is that since most people are using it, it’s to your benefit to use software that it easily readable by everyone. That being said, if you are to use other software, most let you save in .doc format anyway, so you can create in a different software and then send or save in .doc format.

As for school, it’s come to my attention that a lot of schools in my area are using Mac computers. Perhaps they’re getting a good discount, I’m not really sure. Maybe Mac will be the wave of the future. I hear from Mac users that they are easy to use and less buggy than Windows

Memo Example – Page Two

To: Ahmed Kandil

From: Linda Roeder

CC: Introduction to Information Systems Students

Date: Aug 14, 2010

Subject: Software Products to Use In the Home, Office and School

based pc’s. I would recommend using whatever your particular school favors for your productivity software. This way you have no conflict when handing in papers.

Home based productivity software is another subject all together. Since you are using it for your own personal use and don’t have to worry about other people using what you wrote, you can use whatever you like. If you want something secure that you can access anywhere I would recommend using Google Documents. Your documents will be saved online and you can get to them from anywhere you have Internet access.

On the other hand Google Documents is still a bit limited in what it can do. If you need more than just the basics for your documents then I would recommend using OpenOffice. First off, it’s free, this is a big plus when you’re on a budget. Secondly, like Microsoft Office, it has all sorts of features and tools. OpenOffice can be used to do anything Microsoft Office can do.

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