I'm the creator of this site (Grammar Gang). I'm also the founder of Codeless, a long-form content creation company that's been featured in The New York Times, Business Insider, The Next Web, and hundreds more.
We produce around ~100 long, in-depth articles each month. So we're relying on these tools on a daily basis. Here, I break down the good, bad, and uuuuuuggggllllyyyy.
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OpenOffice is an open suite just like LibreOffice and Microsoft Office. And Writer is their version of MS Word.
It is quite upfront about its capabilities and claims to be a complete word processor that is powerful enough to produce full-length books with diagrams, indexes, etc.
But it’s their version. Do they really deliver what they promise?
Take a look at what I found after testing the software.
#1 Simple and easy to use
The user interface of OpenOffice Writer is almost similar to MS Word (just a few minor differences). The menu bar is at the top, document is just beneath it, and the ‘Properties’ bar (just another format bar) is at the right side.
So, open the app and work as if you’re working with your good ‘ol MS Word.
#2 Create and save different versions of the same content
I’ve previously analyzed LibreOffice, another open office suite, and it doesn’t have any facility to store different versions of the content on the same file. So, I was expecting the same with OpenOffice.
But contrary to my belief, it does allows you to save different versions in the same file. Just head over to file, and from the drop-down menu choose “Versions”.
#3 Note taking made easy
OpenOffice Writer has a special feature called Notes that makes the entire note taking process more enjoyable.
It displays all the comments and notes on the right side. And if that note is written down by other users, it would show it in a different color including the date and time when the editing took place.
This arrangement is quite convenient when you’re doing some research work or citing information sources.
#4 Broad collection of writing templates
The OpenOffice repository is loaded with thousands of writing templates that deal with a wide range of writing projects. Whether you’re writing a resume, business letter, or a personal essay. It got you covered.
But the only catch is you have to download each one you want to use.
Similarly, if you don’t see a suitable template for you, you can create your own and add it to the collection.
#5 Moderate export options
Though I won’t say, OpenOffice Writer supports dozens of file formats to export files as, it still allows users to export their files as almost all the prominent formats like PDF, Word, HTML, ODT, and MediaWiki (for publishing on Wikipedia).
#6 Works well with large projects like books & novels
The dynamic content organizing ability makes OpenOffice Writer a rightful choice for large projects like books or novels.
You can generate a table of contents or index terms to scan through complex documents.
OpenOffice Writer Cons
#1 No dedicated customer support team
When we sign up for a product or service, we always have this assurance that if we come across any jolts, the customer support is always there for our help.
But what if I tell you, OpenOffice doesn’t have any such thing? Yes, you heard it right.
OpenOffice doesn’t have a support team for its office suite. It asks the users to subscribe to the open user list and send the queries there through email.
So it’s basically an online email community where you can ask your questions, and anyone can answer them.
Sometimes, it would work great just like it did for me when I asked a few questions and got a response within a few hours from another user named Brian.
But often times your email would just float in the vast sea of emails, and no one would care. So eventually, you are on your own.
It’s a big bummer for a company (OpenOffice) that has some name & fame in the market, and a considerable amount of users.
#2 No mobile presence
You have to have a computer (whether it’s running on Windows, Mac, or Linux) to run the software.
#3 Doesn’t block on-screen distractions
Firstly, there is no “Focus Mode” available. And besides this, the “Full-Screen mode” is also not very effective. It surely toggles the screen to full screen but doesn’t hide all the icons.
OpenOffice Writer pricing plans and payment options
It doesn’t cost a penny to use any tool of OpenOffice. The entire office suite is free forever.
However, if you appreciate the efforts of developers, you can make a donation on their donation page either by Paypal, Amazon Pay, or using your Bitcoin account.
Do I recommend OpenOffice Writer?
There’s no doubt, OpenOffice Writer is a strong word processor and even a solid replacement of MS Word. It consists of many advanced features of a writing app and can also handle complex documents.
But at the same time, there are many writing apps (both free and paid) out there that perform better than OpenOffice Writer.
So I will leave it on you to decide if you want to go for it.
If you ask me, I would like to stick to Google Docs or Zoho Writer because both of them are free and has much more to offer than OpenOffice.
So, if you want to give it a try, go for it. There’s nothing to lose. However, if you’re looking for a more sophisticated tool, then you better skip it.