Help a Solver Succeed -

Posted by Connie French on Oct 28, 2009 11:26:43 AM

OpenOfficeIn today's installment of “Help a Solver Succeed” (HASS), where we ask InnoCentive experts to provide resources that they think might be helpful to you in solving Challenges, Marilyn Toomey introduces

As a member of Client Services, I spend a lot of time scanning and organizing the many submissions received for our posted Challenges.  When asked to blog about a service or technology that might be of interest to our Solver community, my first thought was “OOOOOOO”….. sort of like when you are excited and don’t know what to say!!   In this case, I know exactly what to say, so I'm going to shorten my "OOOOOOO" to OOo ( which is the official name of the open source office suite called Open

What is

I was first introduced to by my husband and we have used it on our home computer ever since.  It's a free downloadable suite of applications that includes a document editor, a spreadsheet, presentation software, a graphics tool and a database.  I know some of our Solvers are using as some of our submissions come in with a .odt extension. While Open Office defaults to saving documents using the .odt extension, it also can read and write files that are created by many existing software products.  By using the Save As command from the  tool bar, a document can be saved in various formats that can be read by all the popular office suites. It’s easy to learn and can be used for any purpose by just about anyone.  There is one interface where you can start what you want ….a new document, new spreadsheet, new presentation, new drawing or new database from the same dropdown list. In addition to offering great products and applications, there is a whole open source community developing improvements and modifications to the code. Anyone can report a bug or offer enhancements.  It all seems to be a meritocracy so start contributing and you will get recognized.

Did I mention, it's free?

When I first started using computers I used “free” software to sell the expensive hardware we were offering so I am sort of attached at the hip to “free” software.    The price is right. You can find the download at is in its third version, has always been reliable when I have used it, and is currently celebrating its ninth birthday!  It works on multiple platforms and is available in 80 different languages!

Another great free tool

Before writing this blog I was familiar with the document writer and spreadsheet.  I didn’t know they had a graphics tool and so I was also going to suggest XnView, which can be downloaded at  XnView is also a free download for private, non-commercial, or educational use. I really enjoy using this graphics tool for my photographs and would suggest it to all, even if you're already using the  graphics tool in  It’s a pretty cool tool to have in your pocket.  However, I am now going to explore the Draw tool in to see what it has to offer!  I'd love to hear from other people who have tried this application - please let me know if you are an OpenOffice user and if you use the Draw feature!!!


Topics: Solvers

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