As a parent if you’re looking for an office suite that’s especially designed for kids (age 7-14), with simplified menus, icons, tool-bars etc then OOo4Kids is an excellent software that’s absolutely free and can be used in MS Windows, GNU/Linux and Mac OSX.
It’s based on OpenOffice it comes with a four main software applications: Writer, Calc, Draw, Impress and Math. But as said the interface has been redesigned so kids can use it with ease (including ‘user level’ options that further simplifies the interface).
*. Writer (for creating documents):
The Writer program for instance originally comes with a lot of built in features such as: Change fonts, Sizes, add images, spell checking, Add special characters, add mathematical formulas, line numbers, change page settings etc.
Kids can change between three “user levels” (go to: “Views” -> “User Levels” ->…). Beginner, Average and Expert. The higher the experience level you choose the more “complex” the program interface becomes (adds more menus, tool-bars etc).
*. Draw (for drawing):
The Draw suite is for kids to draw stuff. Comes with complete set of tools (pencils, arrows, smiley faces, callouts, stars, add text, images etc) to draw anything from scratch to insert a picture and edit it then save it into PDF format if they like … it’s pretty balanced with features.
*. Impress (for creating slide shows):
They’ve added few templates for ease of use and a kids friendly window with tool-bars are also integrated (with above mentioned smiley faces, stars etc). Other features such as slide show effects, media player, add audio file to slides, change fonts related settings, add texts, change slide runtime settings etc are all there.
*. Calc (for creating spreadsheets):
This lets kids to create spreadsheets by adding/removing cells, copy & delete, add charts and comments, mathematical functions (calculating sums, special equations etc), a paint brush for selecting cells and many more.
Kids can change between the user levers in ‘Calc’ too.
*. Math (for creating mathematical notations):
From creating simple equations to other somewhat advanced mathematical notations, this is a clean looking UI with built in tool-bars for ease of use.
Well that’s about it. I mean it has a whole lot of other options but I just wrote a very few for getting a basic idea here.
If interested you can get it from this official OOo4Kids home page (for Windows, Mac OSX and GNU/Linux). But under GNU/Linux they have only “.rpm” packages there. So if you use something like Debian or Ubuntu then follow the below instructions.
To install OOo4Kids in Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot, 11.04 Natty Narwhal, 10.10 and 10.04 (including other older versions), by first getting the “.deb” packages.
1. Get the 32-bit packages form this page and 64-bit packages from this page. Make sure to use the appropriate language version before downloading (“OOo4kids-en-us-…” for US English, “OOo4Kids-ru-…” for Russian etc).
Then after the downloading completes double click on it and Ubuntu Software Center should install it for you. That’s it.
Now considering newer Ubuntu versions (since they come with LibreOffice) I don’t know whether there could be some collusions between OOo4Kids office suit (since it’s based on OpenOffice) and LibreOffice. But at least while I was using it (Ubuntu 11.10) they worked quite fine.