Mar 8, 2007
OpenOffice is a powerful suite of productivity applications with functionality that rivals Microsoft's Office suite. We use it extensively at Saugus, as it is part of our default computer image for both PCs and Macs. One of the most common questions we get about it is "where can I get a good manual or tutorials." Luckily, there are quite a few great resources for help with OpenOffice.

One of our favorite printed books is Point and Click from Prentice Hall, which is available from, or your favorite online bookseller. It's a very easy read and does a great job of covering all the primary applications in the suite. It even includes some video tutorials on CD with the book. The videos are also available online (for free) at the NewsForge site. Based on the whiteboards in the background of the videos, I would bet that the writer of this great book is a teacher.

For users who are looking for more detailed information on making the switch, another solid book is 2, Firefox and Thunderbird for Windows All in One by SAMS, which covers three of the most used open-source programs available today. Don't let the name fool you - OpenOffice is the same whether you are on Windows, Mac, or Linux so this book is good for everybody. It's quite a bit thicker and more in depth than Point and Click (more than 750 pages,) covering each component of OpenOffice in great detail.

There are also several online tutorials. One of the up-and-comers for newer users is the Tutorials for OpenOffice site at The site contains some good introductions to the four main OpenOffice modules, and is a great place to start if you are new to to the suite.

For those who prefer video style tutorials, Digital Distribution's e-Learning for is a great site with Flash based tutorials for Writer (word processor,) Calc (spreadsheet,) and Base (database.) They also have free downloadable guides for Windows, which I would imagine would work equally well for any platform. Curiously, as of this writing there are no tutorials for Impress, but I would imagine that they are coming soon.

A new site with a lot of potential that is currently under development is At present, they have both web and video tutorials for Impress (OpenOffice's presentation package) and web tutorials for Calc (the spreadsheet,) with tutorials for Writer (word processor) coming very soon. There are plenty of examples and screen shots one every page to help with understanding.

OpenOffice is a great resource for education as well as business, and with the help of these and other great resources, you too can be a successful OpenOffice user.


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  1. Thank you for providing us with such an abundance of resources related to Open Office. I will encourage teachers at my school site to review the information and to begin using the programs.

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