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November 21, 2003

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OpenOffice 1.1 -- A Complete Office/Productivity Software Suite

It's a free office suite for GNU-Linux, FreeBSD, MAC, MS-Windows, Unix, and more

Mike Angelo -- 21 November 2003 (C) -- Page 3

Article Index
For more about why Linux is so much a better choice, please see our article Gaël Duval Tells Why Mandrake Linux Is Better Than MS Windows

To learn how to run MS Windows-based software and accessories in GNU-Linux, please see our article Crossover Office 2.1 Runs MS Windows Software on GNU-Linux Systems

Migrating from MS Office to OpenOffice

The other main issues involved in deciding to migrate from MS Office to OpenOffice are functions and features. Can you do anything that you do with MS Office with OpenOffice? Are those things as easy to do in OpenOffice, as they are to do in MS Office?

The answers to these questions are somewhat of a mixed bag. As mentioned above, OpenOffice does not have a grammar checker and MS Office does have one. Also, the spelling checker in MS Office seems to be better than the one in OpenOffice.

There are some features and functions that are similar in MS Office and OpenOffice but work slightly differently, are found in different menus, or have different names. For example the get a word count in MS Word, you go to the main menu bar and click on Tools > Word Count.

To get a word count in OpenOffice Writer, you go to the main menu bar and click on File > Properties > Statistics. Moreover, in MS Word you can get a word count for just a block of selected text as well as a word count for the entire document. In OpenOffice Writer, you only can get a word count for the entire document.

In MS Word, you can highlight a string of text and change the capitalization among choices of sentence case, lower case, upper case, title case, and toggle case. OpenOffice Writer 's case changing feature lets you change only to either all lower case or all upper case.

These are just a few examples of some features and functions that are similar in MS Office and OpenOffice but work slightly differently, are found in different menus, or have different names. There are lots more.

There are lots of identical and very similar features and functions in MS Office and OpenOffice too.

Migrating from MS Office to OpenOffice will take some learning. And you will find there are some features in MS Office that are not available in OpenOffice.

However, OpenOffice is free, does not have consumer un-friendly licensing, and does not have Microsoft's horrible Product Activation mechanism. Microsoft Office pricing, licensing, and product activation tip the scales in favor of OpenOffice.

MozillaQuest Magazine highly recommends that you grab a copy of OpenOffice 1.1 if you do not already have a copy of it. Give it a try. Chances are that you will find it a very usable and a very easy to use office/productivity software suite.

By grabbing a free copy of OpenOffice 1.1, you can see for yourself if it will serve as a replacement for MS Office for you and the things you do with office/productivity software.

Nevertheless, as mentioned above, because OpenOffice does not have a grammar checker nor is it able to provide word counts of selected text blocks, MS Word 2000 was used to put the finishing touches on this article before it was moved to the layout phase. Thus for this writer, unfortunately, OpenOffice does not serve as a complete replacement for MS Word.

While AbiWord does not have a grammar checker either, it does have the ability to provide word counts for selected blocks of text. Thus for this writer, that makes AbiWord the preferred word processor and MS Word still necessary for grammar checking. OpenOffice Writer comes in third. The deal-breaker here is grammar checking. If OpenOffice Writer had a grammar checker, that would put it in first place for this writer.

On the other hand, so far this writer has been able to do everything that he does with spreadsheets with OpenOffice Calc. Thus for this writer, OpenOffice Calc does serve as a complete replacement for MS Excel.

And that is exactly the point stated above. You are going to have to try OpenOffice 1.1 to see if it can do everything you need to do with office/productivity software. Because OpenOffice is free software, that's a very easy and practical thing to do.

Figure 1. A simple newsletter created to test OpenOffice Writer as a DTP application. Please see text on page 1 for an explanation.

Resources


Article Index
There is a #OpenOffice channel on EFNet IRC (Internet Relay Chat) network. If you want to discuss OpenOffice with other OpenOffice users, need some help with OpenOffice, or want to help others better use OpenOffice, hang out there. Simply connect your IRC client to an EFNet IRC server and /join #OpenOffice.


To let the OpenOffice.org people know how you think they can make OpenOffice even better, Louis Suarez-Potts asks that you let them know at usersATopenoffice.org. (Substitute @ for AT)


AbiWord

Comparison of OpenOffice 1.1 and StarOffice 6.1

KDE


lingucomponent

OpenOffice.org

OpenOffice.org CDs

OpenOffice.org Downloads

OpenOffice.org Spport Information


PDF Open Specification

ScanSoft PDF Converter

PcLinuxOnline's annotation of our SUSE Linux 9.0 Professional Only $50 for Students, Teachers, Schools article


SUSE - Education Program

SUSE Linux Professional 9.0

SUSE Desktop Linux

SuSE Web Site


Books


The Business and Economics of Linux and Open Source, Martin Fink, Prentice Hall, ISBN: 0-13-047677-3. $27


OpenOffice.org 1.0 Resource Kit, Solveig Haughland and Floyd Jones, Prentice Hall, ISBN: 0-13-140745-7. $40.

Special Edition Using StarOffice 6.0, Michael Koch, Que. ISBN: 0789728338. $36

StarOffice 6.0 Office Suite Companion, Solveig Haughland and Floyd Jones, Prentice Hall, ISBN: 0-13-038473-9. $40.


Using Microsoft Office 2003 (Special Edition), Bott and Leonhard, Que, ISBN: 0-7897-29955-5. $40


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