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The simplest way to make databases in OpenOffice.org

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Do you need to make a database, but fear it’s too much of a pain or you don’t have the right tools? Don’t worry: it’s easy, free, and useful, too. Use the free OpenOffice.org office suite to get your data in shape for mail merges, queries, or useful analysis of your business data.

What’s the point of making a database?

Not everyone needs a database. But sooner or later, anyone who has to keep track of and retrieve important information is going to benefit from one. Databases are for storing data, of course, but their benefit comes in letting you get at the data you want, and in displaying or printing it the way you want. For instance, once you have a database, you can, of course, do mail merges—whether it’s a letter to each of the 500 people you met at a free software convention or printing labels for each of the 870 legal DVD backups you own. Databases are also necessary for setting up data entry or data viewing forms; creating relations between tables so you can print connected data; or for creating a list that shows the average number of items your customers bought per purchase during the holiday shopping season.

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