OpenOffice is a popular alternative to other productivity suites, like MS Office. OpenOffice was developed by StarOffice and now owned by the Apache Software Foundation. OpenOffice is a free software suite that anyone can begin taking advantage of if they feel they are not getting the most out of what they are currently using for word processing, presentation building, and spreadsheet creation. Our guide will help you get started with OpenOffice, and from there, the sky is the limit.

How to get started with OpenOffice

Once you download and install OpenOffice, you can begin working with immediately.


From the main screen, you can begin creating any number of documents through OpenOffice.

This includes text, spreadsheet, presentation, drawings, database and formula-based documents. You can also open a pre-existing document as well as work with templates.

Click “Help” at the top right-hand corner of OpenOffice.


This will give you the help guides for the program, as well as allow you to ask for support or check for updates.

Now, click “File” on the left-hand side of the toolbar.


You will see all the familiar options you get from a productivity suite, such as new documents, open existing documents and going through your recent documents. Once you open a document, you can also save, save as and print from the File menu.

Let’s open a text document and see what it looks like.


Now, let’s open a spreadsheet and see what it also looks like.


None of these documents vary much from other productivity suites as you will see.

We will create a new presentation now.

Presentation Wizard

When you create a new presentation, you will actually be given a walkthrough to help create one.

You can also use OpenOffice to create what they call drawings.


Drawings can be flyers, posters and other types of presentations that are not slide-based.

OpenOffice offers a unique document creation type in the form of a database. This can be useful for many different purposes.

Database Wizard

You will also be given a wizard walkthrough for database documents.

If you click “File” again, click on “Wizard.”


OpenOffice gives you a variety of template wizards to utilize. You can also add more from OpenOffice’s website. This can be useful when trying to create something different and you do not know where to start, such as with a fax or an agenda.

Now, click “Tools” from the toolbar.

(11) tools - options

Here you will find a variety of familiar tools, such as spell check, grammar check, language and word count.


You can also work with media, bibliographies, as well as macros and extensions for OpenOffice. OpenOffice offers a variety of tools and add-ons that help you get more from your productivity suite, something most other suites do not offer users.

From the Tools menu, you can also access the options for OpenOffice. Click “Options.”

You can tweak a variety of options within OpenOffice to make it more friendly for you.

There is a lot you can do with OpenOffice and it is easy to use and get started with. Hopefully, our guide will give you the beginning steps to see just what a great alternative OpenOffice is.

Should you ditch your productivity suite for OpenOffice?

Many computer users often stick with the same software year after year, because they are comfortable with it. Even if they do not get the most they can out of it or they do not even realize all the features it offers, they still continue to use it because it either came with the computer or they are familiar with it. Stepping outside your comfort zone for software is hard, frustrating and seems like more trouble than it is worth. However, OpenOffice is more than worth the trouble users think it might be to give it a try.

OpenOffice’s productivity suite gives users more control over everything they do from word processing to spreadsheets and more. If you are looking to get more from what you are using now, OpenOffice may be for you. Download it for free and install it; you do not have to get rid of any other software today. Simply give OpenOffice a try and go from there. You may just find it is the software suite of your dreams and once you give it a go, you may just find the switch was worth the effort.

Download OpenOffice.