Microsoft Office Vs Apache OpenOffice

By | October 7, 2013

It is important for any organization to have software to increase productivity and accuracy. Office suite is one such software that helps organizations like schools, hospitals, small businesses, public organizations and individuals in their work. Office suite provides its users with word processors, calculation spreadsheets, presentation tools and database managing tools.

In the present market there are many office suites available from different developers and among them Microsoft Office is the most popular office suite. But, due to its high cost, many free office suites are developed and shared for free on the Internet. Among such free office suites, Apache OpenOffice is a well-known office suite .

Let us compare some basic differences between Microsoft Office and Apache OpenOffice in this article.


  • Microsoft Office: Microsoft Office suite is a paid tool. The cost of Microsoft Office 2013, ranges from $50 to $450 (Rs 4,000 to Rs 35,000 in India) and moreover they work only on one computer. If you increase the number of computers, the cost multiplies. Updates are sometimes free, but for some updates you need to pay.
  • OpenOffice: This is an open source suite available for free and can be used on any number of computers and can be shared with any number of people. Updates are available for free on many forums, groups and related websites.


  • Microsoft Office: Microsoft Office suite is not easy to understand and work with. A person who does not have knowledge about it may need special training or support to work on Microsoft Office. Even the “super users” need to upgrade themselves with every update as the techniques they know may change with every update.
  • OpenOffice: OpenOffice is almost similar to Microsoft Office. The whole software is freely available for you to make changes or improve its functionality to meet your requirements.


  • Microsoft Office: Microsoft Office is only compatible with Windows and Mac platforms (newest version, MS Office 2013 is just restricted to Windows 7 or later only). Also, it is not possible to open Microsoft Office 2003 documents (.doc format) in Microsoft Office suite after 2007 version (which supports .docx format). Upgrading the software is compulsory to make the software compatible.
  • OpenOffice: OpenOffice works on all platforms and it is capable of opening, reading and writing to any format and also the Microsoft Office documents.


  • Microsoft Office: It is professionally supported and is officially provided by Microsoft to its licensed partners through call centers, books, documents and resources from the Internet.
  • OpenOffice: OpenOffice support is a community based support (not official) generally sharing information on forums and groups. Abundant resources like documentation and information are available on the Internet for free.


  • Microsoft Office: It alerts the licensed user of any threats. It recommends its user to upgrade with latest updates and patches in order to protect the computer from possible threats and for securing critical information.
  • OpenOffice: Warnings are received from the forum or group members. Whoever detects them first will pass the information to their co-users (not official though).

Interfaces of both Microsoft Office and Apache OpenOffice are almost similar. Both work well with system specifications. (OpenOffice works well on older systems).

Some key features make Apache OpenOffice best suited to small, medium and non-profit organizations, and also for private use, as the software is free of cost and easy to learn.