24 of 29 people found the following review helpful
The only way to go for scientists...,
This review is from: Microsoft Office XP Standard for Students and Teachers (CD-ROM)
First of all let me state that I'm in the 3rd year of a chemistry degree and use spreadsheets every week (this review deals with Excel as pretty much all word processors do the same thing whereas spreadsheets vary greatly).
I've tried out most of the competition (Lotus 1-2-3, Corel Quattro, Sun StarOffice etc.) but none can compare with the Data Analysis and Graphing capabilities of Excel. It has the most advanced XY graphs of any of the office packages, with the ability to add X and Y error bars (with the exception of Quattro, the most anyone else offers is Y error bars, and most offer none) and also has the easiest to use Regression Line options including displaying the equation on the graph (useful for experimental data as the value of the regression line on the graph can be different for the data analysis toolpak regression add-in).
The Data Analysis Toolpak is a must for anyone doing serious scientific research with ANOVA and Regression options amongst others. These format all the output data in an easy to read way with headings and bold print etc.
The only minor quibble I have is that the Analysis Regression is static and so doesn't update with a change in the data (OpenOffice's regression, although less easy to read as it doesn't put the headings in, does update with a change in data).
That quibble aside, until OpenOffice.org implements X-error bars and displaying the trendline regression data on graphs, MS Office is simply the best for scientific analysis (or at least a cost-effective one for students).