Important Information About SASL and CSSA Downloadable File Formats


Many SASL and CSSA documents are in Microsoft Word and Excel formats for Microsoft Windows or Macintosh OS. Microsoft Word and Excel can be purchased separately or purchased as a suite of applications called Microsoft Office that usually also includes Outlook and PowerPoint.

Don't have Microsoft Office, Word or Excel?

OpenOffice is a free downloadable alternative to Microsoft's suite of word processor, spreadsheet and other applications. OpenOffice applications can open Word and Excel documents and save documents in those formats too. Of course it is cross-platform too, which means OpenOffice will work equally as well on Microsoft Windows, the Macintosh OS, Sun Solaris and Linux too.

Visit
OpenOffice.org for a free download or OpenOffice suite of applications or System Requirements for more information.

Note that if you want to use OpenOffice and your computer does not have the Java Runtime Environment (JRE), version 1.3 or higher, you will also need to download that software also (see
System Requirements). JRE is also a free download from Sun Microsystems, Inc. on their Java Website.

Visit the
Java Download Page and look for Java Runtime Environment (JRE). Note that you do not need the full Java Development Kit (JDK) to only run Java applications although the JDK also includes the JRE in its download.

Note that the latest version of Java is 1.6, also known as Java 6 (don't ask me why Sun Microsystems, Inc. do that!). It was recently released.

How do you know if you have Java already installed or not, and what version?

In Windows, you can open a Command Window and will be at an MS-DOS prompt. On a Macintosh, you can open the Terminal and be at a UNIX prompt. If you're on a Solaris or Linux computer, you're already at a UNIX prompt! At whatever prompt you're now at, type the following command:

java -version

If you do not have Java installed (unusual on a Mac or any other UNIX computer these days) you will get a "bad filename" or "command not found" type of error message. If you do have Java installed, you will see something like this:

java version "1.5.0_07"
Java(TM) 2 Runtime Environment, Standard Edition (build 1.5.0_07-164)
Java HotSpot(TM) Client VM (build 1.5.0_07-87, mixed mode, sharing)


This tells me I have Java 1.5 (also known as Java 5...) installed and I'm good to go to download and use OpenOffice. If it had said something like
java version "1.3.1_05" then I would need to uninstall that version of Java and download and install the latest version.

At least one SASL manager has been successfully using OpenOffice. Here is his recommendation:

I have been using OpenOffice for about six weeks or so. I also have Microsoft Office 2003 on my system, but have been using more of the OpenOffice applications lately just to become more familiar with them.

I would definitely recommend OpenOffice to those that don't want to shell out the $400+ to purchase Microsoft Word and Excel. I have many Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint files and have been able to open them with OpenOffice with no problem. I've also used OpenOffice to create and save files in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint format. People receiving these files from me are completely unaware that they were created with a non-Microsoft application.

One Caution: When installing OpenOffice the install wizard asks if you want to make OpenOffice your default application suite. Answer "No" to this question if you also run Microsoft Office on your system, since the process for reversing this decision later is very complex.

Walter Wright, Team Manager
Hamden United S.C.