I am testing out OpenOffice.org version 2.0 “CALC” program

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For those of you who are familiar with my “Stuff For The Taking” category .. you probably will note that I prefer to use EXCEL for Microsoft Windows 95 Version 7.0

I have purchased the latest version and have most of the other components installed with the later 2002 version, including WORD. But, when I started to use it for my business .. I found the latest version was not print friendly when it came to printing negative numbers used for accounting purposes. So I downgraded.

Although I use various computer programs to prepare information, I prefer to just draft my “typed” final financial statements on Excel. I used to use Caseview, for Dos .. and was just getting tired of the amount of time it took to format statements into the Windows version. Then, I stopped using Caseware altogether preferring my Microware as the accounting software of choice. With my color printers, which prints my letterhead pretty nice, thank-you-very-much … I can make the statements look professional-looking using Excel.

Excel version 7.0 displays information perfectly, in my opinion. Of course, I’ve made up a little example of a simple financial statement with losses .. to show you what I mean…

Unfortunately, a lot of my clients are using the latest Excel version 2002 or higher. If they send me a spreadsheet file .. my Excel version 7.0 will NOT open it, as it is a lower version. Instead I went to Microsoft where you can download a Microsoft Excel Viewer program that allows you to read any excel version, which is a higher version than what you have (translation: For free). It is a nice little utility because although I am unable to change any modification of a client’s spreadsheet prepared on a higher version, I can at least read it and see what’s in it and look at the results. Then, if I need to pursue it further, I usually just ask my clients to SAVE-AS a lower version 7.0 format for me to play with.

Then I met Douglas, from Service Untitled, who reminded me that there is an alternative out there ..

Meet OpenOffice.org version 2.0 – “CALC” Program

I was weary at first, downloading 100 MB installation file, although with a tons of hard drive space and broadband DSL it only took me 12 minutes to download it…

I did a “CUSTOM” install and only installed the “CALC” program – for now – as I don’t need or want any other module. My intial reaction to using this program is very very positive – because it helps me.

It helps me because I can read any version of Excel now – plus – be able to modify and see all of the calculations and even save and print! Of course – it prints pretty crappy if you ask me …

… and the printing and formatting options are whacky .. but, it could be that I am not used to using this program. I know I can’t just load my excel 7.0 and print it normally – and I need to do some massaging first.

But, that’s not why I like it – I like it because I can now read the later version excel data spreadsheets. That’s all. I have no plans to stop using my Excel version 7.0 and use this one ..

But – if you need a spreadsheet program, and don’t have Excel – I’d highly recommend you check this out.

I will work with this program for the summer, and hopefully (if I remember) write a better and formal review of how I found this program .. as well as any tips that I might have discovered.

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