Not everyone is interested in paying an arm and a leg for basic software options. And while most new computers come with Microsoft products (or other programs) already installed, there are plenty of people looking to save a few ducats by building their own machines via sites like Dell, Newegg, or Tiger Direct (just for example). Unfortunately, this means they are unlikely to get software as part of the overall package deal. And yet, these frugal technology users don’t have to shell out additional funds to enjoy the word processing, photo editing, and accounting programs that others receive when they purchase an already-built laptop or computer; they can simply download open source software that offers the same functionality for free. One of the most useful open source solutions on the market these days is OpenOffice, which offers programs for word docs, spreadsheets, and pretty much everything you might get by paying for well-known products like Microsoft Office Suite. The only downside is that you can’t take it with you. Or can you?
Thanks to a useful app called OOReader, those that use the open source solutions offered by OpenOffice can now gain access to docs on the go via iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. Unfortunately, there are a few drawbacks. For starters, you can’t edit files (zero document interaction), so don’t expect to open up a word doc, make changes, and return to sender. What you can do, however, is view files for information or approval purposes. And you can convert them to PDF format, which means you can send files to yourself or others for editing via alternate means. So although OOReader may not necessarily allow for all the functionality you need, it’s provides for a good start with the options to use other programs.
And while you can only open Writer, Calc, and Impress files, it turns out there are multiple ways to access them. For example, if you are sent emails with OO doc attachments, you’ll have no problem reading them via OOReader (this is exactly what the app is meant to do). But you can also retrieve files (or save them to) other sources, such as Dropbox. Although the functionality of this app may be limited, it is definitely a useful tool for both personal and professional pursuits. In the ever-expanding world of software, it can be difficult to keep up with the latest programs on the market, especially if limited funds are a concern. So whether you personally support open source options or you work with those that prefer software that comes without a price tag, this app can help you to interact with friends or clients that use OpenOffice.
And the development of a mobile tool that allows you access to OO docs on the go could just be the impetus you need to download open office type software. At the very least it’s worth checking out, not only because it’s completely free, but because so many people are already using it. And you never know; it could just become your go-to software for both personal and professional usage.
Thanks to Evan Fischer for this guest post. He is a freelance writer and part-time student at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, California.