Migrating to Apache OpenOffice
What is Apache OpenOffice?
Apache OpenOffice (AOO) is a freely-available, full-featured office productivity suite. It includes the following components.
Writer (word processor)
Impress (presentation graphics)
Draw (vector graphics)
Math (formula editor)
What are the advantages of Apache OpenOffice?
Here are some of the advantages of Apache OpenOffice over other office suites:
- No licensing fees. AOO is free for anyone to use and distribute at no cost. Many features that are available as extra cost add-ins in other office suites (like PDF export) are free with AOO. There are no hidden charges, and all future upgrades are free.
- Open source. You can distribute, copy, and modify the software as much as you wish, in accordance with AOO's Open Source license.
- Cross-platform. AOO 4.0 runs on several hardware architectures and under multiple operating systems, such as Microsoft Windows, MacOS X, Linux, BSD Unix and Sun Solaris.
- Extensive language support. AOO’s user interface is available in over 25 languages and the AOO project provides spelling, hyphenation and thesaurus dictionaries in over 70 languages and dialects. AOO also provides support for both Complex Text Layout (CTL)and Right to Left (RTL) layout languages (such as Hindi, Hebrew and Arabic).
- Consistent user interface. All the components have a similar “look and feel”, making them easy to use and master.
- Integration. The components of Apache OpenOffice are well integrated with one another.
- All the components share a common spelling checker and other tools, which are used consistently across the suite. For example, the drawing tools available in Writer are also found in Calc, with similar but enhanced versions in Impress and Draw.
- You do not need to know which application was used to create a particular file (for example, you can open a Draw file from Writer).
- Granularity. Usually, if you change an option, it affects all components. However, options can be set at a component level or even document level.
- File compatibility. AOO includes PDF and Flash export capabilities, as well as support for opening and saving files in many common formats including Microsoft Office, HTML, XML, Word Perfect and Lotus 123 formats.
- No vendor lock-in. AOO 4.0 uses OpenDocument, an XML(eXtensible Markup Language) file format developed as an industry standard by OASIS (Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards). These files can easily be unzipped and read by any text editor, and their framework is open and published.
- You have a voice. Enhancements, software fixes and release dates are community-driven. You can join the community and affect the course of the product you use.
You can read more about Apache OpenOffice, its mission, history, licensing and other organizational information here: https://www.ApacheOpenOffice/about.html
How does Apache OpenOffice compare?
Apache OpenOffice can match and exceed the feature set of competing officesuites. The following table lists the main components of AOO and compares them with their equivalents in two leading office suites,Microsoft Office 2003 (MSO) and WordPerfect Office X3(WP).
|Word processor||Writer||Word®||WordPerfect® X3|
|Spreadsheet||Calc||Excel®||Quattro Pro® X3|
|Presentation Graphics||Impress||PowerPoint®||Presentations™ X3|
|Database||Base||Access® 1||Paradox® 2|
|Math or Formula Editor||Math||yes||no|
1Professional version only.
2Professional and Student and Teachereditions only.
The following tables list some important features of Apache OpenOffice and compare them with two leading office suites,Microsoft Office (MSO) and WordPerfect X3 (WP).
Styles and formatting
|Styles and Formatting window|
|Keyboard support for paragraph styles|
|Support for page, frame, and list styles|
|Spelling and language proofing modules|
|Formula or equation tools|
1“Outline View” in Word offers a subset of the features of AOO’s Navigator.
2Requires an additional license for the Multilingual User Interface Pack.
|PDF export capability|
|Flash export capability|
|XML export capability|
|OpenDocument XML format|
|Import/Export Microsoft Office files|
|Import WordPerfect files|
|Import Lotus 123 files|
|Connect to external databases (MySQL, Oracle, Access, etc.)|
|Languages available (localizations)|
|Supported operating systems|
|Unicode language support|
1Requires additional third-party software, such as PDF Writer or PDF Converter.2Microsoft Office: Macis not feature compatible with Microsoft Office 2003.
Macros are programs which automate tasks and can be embedded in a document. The following table lists the languages available for macro development in each office suite.
Beyond simple macros, some office suites can be extended to include new features. This capability usually takes the form of plug-ins. In the case of Apache OpenOffice, it can also be done through changes to the source code.
|C and C++|
|Source code available!|
|Secure paths for macro execution|
New features in version 4
Apache OpenOffice 4.0 delivers hundreds of improvements and new features. Here are some of the major enhancements.
What are the minimum requirements?
Apache OpenOffice 4.0 requires one of the following operating systems:
- Microsoft Windows Windows 2000 (Service Pack 2 or higher), Windows 2003, Windows 7,8, 10 and Windows 11
- GNU/Linux Kernel version 2.2.13 and glibc 2.4.0 or newer
- Mac OS X 10.3.x (10.3.5 recommended), Mac OS X 10.4.x, plusX11
- Solaris version 8 or higher
Some Apache OpenOffice features (wizards and the database component) require that the Java Runtime Environment (JRE) be installed on your computer. Although Apache OpenOffice will work fine without Java-support, some features will not be available. You can download the latest version from https://www.java.com or from https://adoptium.net/.
For a more detailed (and up-to-date) listing of requirements, see: https://www.openoffice.org/dev_docs/source/sys_reqs_20.html
How do I get the software?
You can get the Apache OpenOffice installation package in any of these ways:
- Download a copy from the project’s homepage: https://www.openoffice.org.
- Download a copy using the Peer to Peer client, BitTorrent. The instructions are here: https://www.openoffice.org/distribution/p2p/.
- Purchase a copy on a CD-ROM or other digital form from a third partydistributor.
- The Apache OpenOffice Porting Project has links to versions of the software that have been, or are currently being “ported” to run under various operating systems. https://www.openoffice.org/porting/index.html.
How do I install Apache OpenOffice?
Information on installing and setting up Apache OpenOffice on the various supported operating systems is given here: https://www.openoffice.org/download/common/instructions.html
You can also download the more detailed Setup Guide (in several languages) from https://www.openoffice.org/documentation/setup_guide2/index.html
How do I get support?
AOO comes with an extensive Help system. This is your first line of support for using Apache OpenOffice.
To display the full Help system, press Tools → Options → General).or select Apache OpenOffice Help from the Help menu. In addition, you can choose whether to activate tooltips, extended tips, and the Help Agent (using
If tooltips are enabled, place the mouse pointer over any of the icons to see a small box (“tooltip”) with a brief explanation of the icon’s function. For a more detailed explanation, select Help → What's This? and hold the pointer over the icon.
Free online support
The Apache OpenOffice community not only develops software, but provides free, volunteer-based support. Users of Apache OpenOffice can get comprehensive online support from community venues such as newsgroups, forums or mailinglists. There are also numerous websites run by users that offer free tips and tutorials.
|Free Apache OpenOffice support|
|User FAQ||Frequently Asked Questions for Users|
|Users Mailing List||Free community support provided by a network of hundreds of experienced users. You must be subscribed to post messages. To subscribe, send a blank email to users subscribe
Listarchives are here: https://mail-archives.apache.org/mod_mbox/
|Documentation Project||Templates, user guides, how-tos, and other documentation. https://www.openoffice.org/documentation/|
|Native Language||[Edit needed]|
|The Apache OpenOffice Forum||https://forum.openoffice.org/en/forum/|
Read more about the support options for Apache OpenOffice at: https://www.openoffice.org/support/index.html
Paid support and training
Alternatively, you can pay for support services. Service contracts can be purchased from a vendor or consulting firm specializing in Apache OpenOffice.
A list of independent consultants and the services they offer, listed alphabetically by region and then by country, is provided on the Apache OpenOffice website. (Edit needed)
Other resources and add-ons
Several websites provide additional free resources and add-ons to enhance Apache OpenOffice. The following table lists a few of these websites.
|Free AOO templates, artwork and other add-ons|
|OpenOffice.org Macros||A repository for AOO macros and addons, and documentation about writing macros and/or extending Apache OpenOffice. https://sourceforge.net/projects/ooomacros/files/|
|Open Clip Art Library||An archive of clip art that can be used for free for any use. openclipart.org|
|Apache OpenOffice Macro Information||Andrew Pitonyak, the author of Apache OpenOffice Macros Explained, maintains this site which provides extensive documentation on AOO's macro capability. Many good referral links are also provided at: https://www.pitonyak.org/oo.php|
What is involved in the initial migration?
See Sharing Files with Microsoft Office Users in this guide for information about opening and saving files of various formats.
How do I import other files used in Microsoft Office?
See Importing other Microsoft Office Files in this guide for information about importing custom dictionaries, AutoCorrect entries and AutoText entries into Apache OpenOffice.
What changes do I need to make in the way that I work?
While the interfaces of Apache OpenOffice and Microsoft Office are sufficiently similar to allow immediate productivity, they are not identical. Some functions are based on different underlying concepts.The chapters in this guide will to help you with these differences.
In general what is different in use between Microsoft Office and Apache OpenOffice?
See General Differences in Use between Apache OpenOffice and Microsoft Office in this guide first, as it gives an overall view of differences; the other chapters build on the information presented in that chapter.
What are the specific differences in use between Word and Writer?
See Differences in Use between Writer and Word in this guide for specific information related to text documents.
What are the specific differences in use between Excel and Calc?
See Differences in Use between Calc and Excel in this guide for specific information related to spreadsheets.
What are the specific differences in use between PowerPointandImpress?
See Differences in Use between Impress and PowerPointin this guide for specific information related to presentations.
How can I change Apache OpenOffice to make it work even more like the way I have worked in Microsoft Office?
See Customizing Apache OpenOffice in this guide for information about changing Apache OpenOffice to make it work your way. That chapter includes links to macros that were written to help ease the transition.
How do I use the Math Object editor (Apache OpenOffice’s equivalent to Equation Editor)?
What about that database functionality?
Is there an equivalent to WordArt?
Yes. See Chapter 15 “Using Fontwork” in the Getting Started guide.
What are the issues when migrating from WordPerfect to Writer?
Can I open WordPerfect files in AOO?
Yes, a WordPerfect filter is now available in the standard Apache OpenOffice installation.
How is Apache OpenOffice licensed?
Apache OpenOffice is distributed under the Open Source Initiative (OSI) approved Apache Licence Vers. 2, (ALV2). License information can be viewed on the Apache website at: Apache License Page
For more general information on AOO’s licensing, please refer to: https://www.openoffice.org/license.html.
What is “open source”?
The ideals of open-source software can be explained by the four essential rights, which are embodied within the Free Software Foundation’s General Public License (GPL):
- The right to use the software for any purpose.
- Freedom to redistribute the software for free or for a fee.
- Access to the complete source code of the program (that is, the“blueprints”).
- The right to modify any part of the source, or use portions of it in other programs.
Another view of this philosophy comes from the Open Source Definition:
“The basic idea behind open source is very simple: When programmers can read, redistribute, and modify the source code for a piece of software, the software evolves. People improve it, people adapt it, people fix bugs. And this can happen at a speed that, if one is used to the slow pace of conventional software development, seems astonishing.”
For more information on Free and Open Source software, visit these websites:
OpenSource Initiative (OSI): https://www.opensource.org
FreeSoftware Foundation (FSF): https://www.fsf.org
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