[Athen] Microsoft Word versus Open Office

Kelmer, Susan M. SKelmer at stlcc.edu
Wed Sep 12 09:25:57 PDT 2007

I use OpenOffice whenever possible to work on documents. It is clean,
easy, not a resource hog, never binds or pauses or burps no matter what
else I have running in the background. I've used it to work with and
format documents up to a thousand pages. One key element that I
absolutely adore about Open Office Writer is that it remembers where you
were. When I work in MSWord and have to leave for the day but have not
completed working on my document, I close it and save it and then write
down where I was at so I can find it again. You don't have to do that
in OpenOffice, you just open the document back up and the cursor is
WHERE YOU LEFT IT. I can't even calculate how much time this saves me.

I cannot say the same for MSWord. Does it crash on big documents?
Frequently!! I find anything over 30 pages with or without graphics to
be a problem; it binds, locks up, pauses, doesn't turn on auto spell
check, whatever. Frustrating and makes me perform extra steps to make
things happen.

And don't even get me started on MSWord 2007. One of my MAJOR
frustrations with this program is the reassignment/relocation of key
tools that I use, down to the fact that the PRINT tool is no longer
available and I must click three times or more to print. That is just
MESSED UP and if I find the person that designed that particular
"feature" I'll be taking my aggressions out on him/her. This is hands
down the worst "redesign" of a software I've ever seen. It isn't even
deployed on our campus because of the huge learning curve that is going
to hit our users; these are people that don't have spare time in their
day to figure out where all of their most useful tools have gone to in
the new version. And I've tested 2007 on a fully-capable Vista
machine...I've never seen such slow response, lagging commands, and
lockups! I want to know what those developers were smoking when they
embarked on this acid trip of a redesign.

I have not tested OpenOffice with any screenreader. This gives me
pause, and perhaps I should check it out, although I'm not the best user
of a screenreader as I'm not visually impaired and also default respond
better to visual rather than audio. Definitely something for me to look
at, though. We have OpenOffice available on our student use machines,
whether students are actually using it or not I am not sure (I do run a
general purpose student-use computer lab but don't tend to go out and
see what they are up to specifically). But for working on converting
books, there's nothing like it for ease of use, easy catching of errors,
and removing of extraneous info. I love it! (And no, Dann did not pay
me to say this.)

Susan Kelmer
Information ACCESS Lab
St. Louis Community College at Meramec

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