- Grammar checking. Microsoft Word has a built-in grammar-checking tool. The Open Office community has provided a few add-ons that you could install to provide grammar checking, but they’re generally considered to be less robust than Word’s default options.
- Document-viewing options. The options to view documents are not as powerful in Open Office’s Writer as they are in Word. You can only choose to see a “Web View,” which doesn’t show all the formatting that you’ve included for a printed document, or a full-page layout that shows the entirety of the page including headers, footers, and margins. Word gives you several more choices, including a nice view that preserves the page layout without showing margins or headers.
- Conditional formatting. Both spreadsheet packages offer conditional formatting (the ability to automatically format cells based on the properties of the data within them), but Microsoft offers a lot more flexibility and control in this realm.
- Microsoft Office’s “Smart Art” diagrams. Word, PowerPoint, and Excel all introduced a new feature in the 2007 version: Smart Art, a useful feature that allows you to easily create diagrams in a many common formats (like pyramids, cyclical diagrams, org charts, and more). OpenOffice doesn’t offer anything that comes close to the diagramming power
On the other hand, OpenOffice tends to be somewhat simpler to understand, and can output to some more useful file formats. For instance:
- A single interface for the whole suite. OpenOffice provides an overall gateway to easily get to any of the individual components. Using Microsoft Word, you need to open each application separately.
- File size. OpenOffice’s native format generally creates much smaller files than Microsoft Office. When saving files out into Microsoft’s file formats, however — for instance, to create files that can be opened in Word — the file sizes are similar to Microsoft’s.
- HTML production. HTML purists tend to favor Writer’s markup to Word’s, though few people with knowledge of HTML use either editor in producing web pages. For simple tasks, Writer’s Web Wizard makes it incredibly easy to produce pages with HTML, PDF, and images.