by May 7, 2008 0 comments

The latest version of Open Office comes with a slew of new features for the
money conscious office and home users. It provides support for the latest MS
Office XML format. Plus, with a look and feel that’s similar to MS Office 2003,
it becomes a whole lot easier to migrate your docs, spread sheets, etc from MS
Office. There have been several enhancements to the different components,
whereby most of the older bugs have been fixed. ‘Base,’ for instance supports MS
Access 2007 files.

The word processor, i.e. Writer now includes an easier way to write in
multiple languages other than the default language. Earlier, whenever you used
multiple languages to write a document, it was very difficult to switch from one
language to the other and to tell Writer which spell checker to use. Now you
have three easy ways to run spell check on your doc. Just right click on the
wrongly spelt word, go to ‘Select language for selection’ and select the
language you want. Here, unlike earlier days when you had to select the word or
the para and navigate all the way to the Font tab under Format > Character
option, you can now simply switch amongst languages. Backreference has also been
introduced in the ‘Replace with option,’ a useful feature that was earlier
available only with the Search option. For example, you can change the data
written in mm-dd-yyyy format to yyyy-dd-mm across the whole document. You can
also select rectangular area of text in your document, similar to the ‘Alt’ +
Click selection in MS Word.

Price: Free
Meant For: Office users
Key Specs: Word processor, spreadsheets,
Pros: Supports the MS Office 2007 file format
Cons: Still no substitute to MS Outlook
SMS Buy 130598 to 56677

Now you can export Draw and Impress page directly to PDFs and create
bookmarks as per the name of the page, which will help easy navigation through
pages. For example in Impress you can create slide names as bookmarks. Plus, new
transition effects have been added. These include Flipping Tiles, Outside
Turning Cube, Turning Helix, Rochade, etc.

The comparison
There are some differences between MS Office and OpenOffice. Here we make a
comparison. The programmes in ‘MS Office Student and Home, (SAH) and OpenOffice
are almost the same. But there are some uncommon applications between them, such
as MS OneNote in MS Office SAH 2007 and Database (like MS Access) in OpenOffice.
Again, MS Access 2007 is not included in MS Office student and home 2007 office
suite. While OpenOffice is available for almost all platforms, like, Windows,
Linux and Solaris, MS Office is available on Windows only.

MS Office 2007 uses less memory than OpenOffice 2.4. However, there is hardly
any time difference between the two to load up (less than 1 sec).

Memory consumption of OpenOffice apps is
higher than MS Office. However, there wasn’t much difference in the loading
times of both

MS Word Vs OpenOffice Writer
Ribbons in MS Office 2007 provide easy navigation across different menu
items. OpenOffice Writer supports the DOCX format of latest MS Word but you need
to download ‘ODF converter-integrator’ to read/write a DOCX file. File
compatibility issues exist between the two Office suites. We prepared a Word
document with graphs; drew a bar chart, type ‘Clustered Pyramid,’ tables and a
box, and when we opened the document in OpenOffice the bar chart and the box
didn’t appear. But there were no changes as far as texts and tables are
We saved a file in DOC format in Writer and tried to open it in MS Word, it
opened as it was. OpenOffice supports DOC format but MS Word 2007 does not
support the ODF format, Plus ‘SmartArt’ of MS Office 2007 is not supported by

A document in MS Office 2007 is created with
a Word Art and a table and is opened in OO. The table got left aligned and
the Word Art didn’t appear at all. The text remained as it is.

MS Excel Vs OpenOffice Calc
Compatibility issues are also there when it comes to Excel and Calc. We
created a table in MS Excel with one Bar chart and one Pie chart. The table and
the charts opened perfectly fine, but the layout of both graphs changed a bit.
Then we saved the file in XLS file format and reopened the file in MS Excel
2007. Both graph didn’t show up in MS Excel 2007, the chart area was blank.
After that, we created a spreadsheet in MS Excel 2007, and opened it Calc. The
spreadsheet opened fine.

The compatibility issue is clearly visible
in the above screenshot. The cone bar chart appears as 3D bar chart, and
sliced pie chart appears as solid pie chart in OO, while the table remains
the same

MS PowerPoint Vs OpenOffice Impress
PowerPoint and Impress are also not without the compatibility issues. We
created a slide with arrows, similes, text and 3D images, and applied slide
design to it. We opened the presentation in Impress, everything appeared fine
except the similes which didn’t appear at all. Then we inserted a bar chart in
our presentation, and saved in PPT format. While opening the presentation in
PowerPoint, everything appeared fine, including the bar chart.

From a cost alone perspective, Open Office is of course a better choice
because you get so many features for free. But if you’re working in an
environment where you have to share files with a lot of external people (which
you most probably are), then your choice depends upon what everyone else is
using. That’s because there are incompatibilities between the two, as we just

Bottomline: The latest version of Open Office is
a good choice, given all its enhancements.

Getting a Taste of OpenOffice 2.4

Open Office is now more user friendly for home and office users. To install
this productivity suit on a Windows system you need to have Windows 98 or above,
a Pentium PC with 64 MB RAM and 250 MB free hard disk space. In Linux, the
hardware specification is same as Windows, but you have to install Glibc 2.2 or
higher version and X Server. Java is required for both Linux and Windows; the
minimum version of Java to be installed is 1.3.1.

Open Office 2.4 has now support to export documents to new PDF/A-1 format. In
Impress, you can insert background images. However, you can also change the
yy-mm-dd date format to mm/dd/yyyy format using the ‘Find and Replace’ box.
Installation of this suite is easy. In this hands on, we show you how to
implement some of the new features of OO 2.4.

Create an XY scatter chart from Insert >
Chart option, select ‘XY (Scatter)’ option from the ‘Choose a chart type’
chart option, and click on ‘Finish’
Once a chart is created, click on the
spreadsheet, double click on the chart image, navigate to Insert >
Statistics option. Now
select any regression curve from the ‘Regression curve’ option


You can also choose to show standard
deviation from the ‘Error category’ list. After selecting all options, click
on the ‘OK’ button to create the regression curve
Create a bar chart; select the sample data
on the sheet and navigate to Insert > Chart option and then select chart
type as bar chart


Double click on the chart, navigate to
‘Format > Axis option, and then select ‘X-Axis’ (or Y Axis). A window will
appear, choose the style you want and click on ‘OK’
Again navigate to the ‘Format > Axis option
and go to the scale’ tab. Check the ‘Reverse direction’ option and click on
the ‘OK’ button


To change the yy-mm-dd date format to mm/dd/yyyy
open the ‘Find and Replace’ box from Find and Replace, and write exactly the
same as shown in the screenshot above
Open Office 2.4 has now support to export
documents to new PDF/A-1 format. Go to File > Export to PDF, check the
‘PDF/A-1’ checkbox and click on the ‘Export’ button


To convert CSV to columns, select the CSV
column, and navigate to Data > Text to columns option. Check the ‘Comma
check box’ in ‘Separated by’ option and click on ‘OK’
In Impress, you can insert background
images. Right click on the slide you want to insert on, select Slide > Set
Background Picture, choose the image and click on ‘OK’ button

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