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Microsoft Office and Open Office: Office Suite Applications

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  • 0:05 Typical Software Use
  • 2:10 Benefits
  • 3:29 Different Office Suites
  • 5:05 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Paul Zandbergen

Paul has a PhD from the University of British Columbia and has taught Geographic Information Systems, statistics and computer programming for 15 years.

Office suite software is a collection of commonly used applications. It typically includes word processing, spreadsheet, presentation and database software. Learn how these applications work together to increase productivity in this video lesson.

Typical Software Use

Consider yourself working in the marketing department of a large organization. You are the manager of one of the units in the department, and your unit is responsible for updating sales reports. Let's look at how you spend a typical day.

Throughout the day you use your e-mail. In the morning, you receive an e-mail from one of your staff members - she is working on a quarterly report and needs your feedback. You open up the report in your word processor software, add some comments and then send the report back to her. A little bit later, you get a phone call alerting you that the new sales figures have been updated. You open up your database software to check the latest numbers. You take last week's data and export it to spreadsheet software to make a graph of the trend in sales of selected products.

You have a meeting later in the day, and so you copy and paste the new graph into your presentation software to prepare a slideshow so you can share your sales analysis. Back in your office after the meeting, you type up your meeting notes in your word processing software, include the graph from the spreadsheet software and send this all around to the staff. It was another fine day at the office.

The various types of software that you have used each have their own specific functionality. However, they are often used in combination and it makes sense to bundle them in an office suite or productivity suite. An office software suite is a collection of software applications that are distributed together and are designed to interact with each other. Applications typically included in a software suite are word processing, spreadsheet, presentation, and database software.

Many other software applications can be bundled into an office suite - for example illustration software, photo editing software, software to create diagrams, collaborative software tools, and several others. However, these are less common and whether they are included or not depends on the type of office suite.

Benefits

There are a number of benefits to using an office suite instead of a series of independent software applications:

  • The various software applications have a similar interface. This makes it easier to learn the software and to switch between them.
  • The software is designed to work together. This makes it easier to insert documents of one type into another. For example, if you can copy a graph from a spreadsheet into a presentation, you are still able to edit the graph because the programs are linked.
  • The cost of an office suite is often much less than the sum of the various applications combined.

Typically, when an organization adopts office suite software, most employees will end up using the software from the same company. This can reduce training costs and facilitate sharing of documents. Remember the example where you open a report written by one of your staff members, added some comments on it and then returned it to her? That's a lot easier if you are both using the same software.

However, even if you are not using the same software, you can still collaborate with each other on the same documents. Office suites have built-in tools to convert different formats, so you can open up a document in your software even if it was created using software from a different company.

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