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I decided to set up a few machines, and installed Microsoft Office 2003 Professional (£352.99), Tesco Complete Office (£19.97) and OpenOffice (Free).
Testing every function of these office suites is nigh on impossible. But I have tried to test a range of scenarios that are commonly encountered. I focused on the Word and Excel equivalents as these are the most commonly used components.
To test their spreadsheet ability, I used an Excel file from one of my graphics card group tests. This contained quite a lot of numbers, formatting and colours (for my benefit) as well as formulas and graphs.
Both Spreadsheet (Complete Office) and Calc (OpenOffice) opened up my sample Excel file, but things weren't perfect. Neither supported any of my macros, although both support their own basic system. On top of this, Graphs didn't look much like the originals at all and Spreadsheet didn't get my border colours right.
I then went on to the word processors, which in my eyes is the key application and most commonly used. I made a word document that involved a short letter, a photo, a table and a piece of word art.
Tesco Complete Office Write.
Both programs opened up my Word document and there was very little difference between them. The image was inserted with an anchor so I could move it around the page. However, Write obviously doesn't support this feature as it came left justified and couldn't be moved. The only way I could centre it was to align it as you would text.
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