Checklist for Decision Makers

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This checklist contains a list of the key requirements to consider when evaluating office software products, split between Mandatory (must have) and Optional (nice to have). Each requirement has a very brief description of why it is important in italics. The requirements are listed in typical priority order (most important first), although clearly each decision maker will need to check whether these are appropriate in their particular circumstances


  • must support the main five office applications (spreadsheet, word processing, presentations, graphics, and database)
  • must have a familiar user interface
  • must be able to read and write all commonly available file formats
  • must integrate easily with other typical desktop applications (email, web browser) to avoid lock-in to one supplier
  • must be available on all leading computing platforms to allow you to change platforms in future
  • must store files in an ISO approved file format to ensure your ownership of your intellectual property in your office documents
  • source code must be freely available for inspection
  • must be capable of adding functionality seamlessly with a simple extensions mechanism


  • should be capable of being translated by local volunteer teams into minority / endangered languages
  • should have a variety of support options both community-based and commercial
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