I’ve installed this a few times recently for people who didn’t know about it. If that dodgy MSOffice CD no longer works, or the hacked keycode you were using to install it now causes Word to shut down every time someone on your network opens their copy up – what you need to do is go to and download their nice, free Office-a-like product.

The full Windows download (also available for various UNIXs and Apple) is 118Mb – a fraction of the size of Microsoft’s beast. It installs in next to no time and there is no need to even register it. All is purely optional.

It’s not 100% compatible with the MS suite, but it’s damn close to it. Anything most normal people want to to in Word, Excel and Powerpoint is available. Files from those programs can be loaded, and files saved back into those formats from within OpenOffice. In addition, there’s a maths formulae editor and a database product.

Give it a try. Even the shortcut keys and interface is much the same!

While you’re at it, consider ditching the bloated IE7 for Firefox and Outlook for Thunderbird. Now there’s a decent calendar plugin it’s a very satisfactory replacement if you don’t want to rely wholly on an online email solution.

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Firefox has always been better. IE keeps stealing the best bits from it, like tabs. Never got my head around Thunderbird though.


I started using Thunderbird at home before I left and found it pretty much like Outlook – only lacking a good organiser. I stopped by someone’s house recently and they showed me an plug-in for it that was exactly what I had been looking for, at least superficially. I’ll revisit it when I get my laptop back in a couple of weeks!

Mind you, since then I’ve started using Googlemail a *lot* so I have around a Gig of email that I’d have to download…

Ricardipus, ranting

Have to admit to IE/Outlook Express/MS Office… but thanks for the post about OpenOffice. Good to hear it works well.

If I ever get around to purchasing a laptop of my own (i.e. that isn’t a pre-templated work machine) I’ll definitely consider the OpenOffice+Firefox+Thunderbird combination.

Oh, and [rant] I know keep getting caught in the MSOffice2007 .docx and .xlsx trap… people keep sending me this sh*t and I can’t open it. Very frustrating… [/rant].

Thanks for listening…


FFS – how long did I spend trying to get you to use Firefox….. well done on cracking the 1000 miles.


Ric – my laptop has very little commercial software other than Windows on it. I even have a very good CD Burning package that, though not quite as good as Nero, does everything it did. IrfanView for picture viewing, The GIMP instead of PhotoShop…

Adam – at the time, IE did everything I was after. I switched to Firefox after IE7 came out as the MS offering was simply dreadful.

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