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This is Chapter 1 of Getting Started with 3.x, produced by the OOoAuthors group. A PDF of this chapter is available from this wiki page.

What is (OOo) is both a software product and a community of volunteers that produces and supports the software.

Documentation note.png Because someone else owns the trademark OpenOffice, the correct name for both the open-source project and its software is

The software is a freely available, full-featured office suite.

OOo 3.0 was a major upgrade of an already feature-rich office suite, and later releases have added more features. If you have used previous versions of OOo, you might want to look over the new features lists for OOo3.0, OOo3.1, and OOo3.2.

OOo’s native file format is OpenDocument, an open standard format that is being adopted by governments worldwide as a required file format for publishing and accepting documents. OOo can also open and save documents in many other formats, including those used by several versions of Microsoft Office.

OOo includes the following components.

Writer (word processor)

Writer is a feature-rich tool for creating letters, books, reports, newsletters, brochures, and other documents. You can insert graphics and objects from other components into Writer documents. Writer can export files to HTML, XHTML, XML, Adobe’s Portable Document Format (PDF), and several versions of Microsoft Word files. It also connects to your email client.

Calc (spreadsheet)

Calc has all of the advanced analysis, charting and decision-making features expected from a high-end spreadsheet. It includes over 300 functions for financial, statistical, and mathematical operations, among others. The Scenario Manager provides “what if” analyses. Calc generates 2-D and 3-D charts, which can be integrated into other OOo documents. You can also open and work with Microsoft Excel workbooks and save them in Excel format. Calc can export spreadsheets to Adobe’s PDF and to HTML.

Impress (presentations)

Impress provides all the common multimedia presentation tools, such as special effects, animation, and drawing tools. It is integrated with the advanced graphics capabilities of OOo’s Draw and Math components. Slideshows can be further enhanced with Fontwork’s special effects text, as well as sound and video clips. Impress is compatible with Microsoft’s PowerPoint file format and can also save your work in numerous graphics formats, including Macromedia Flash (SWF).

Draw (vector graphics)

Draw is a vector drawing tool that can produce everything from simple diagrams or flowcharts to 3-D artwork. Its Smart Connectors feature allows you to define your own connection points. You can use Draw to create drawings for use in any of OOo’s other components, and you can create your own clipart and add it to the Gallery. Draw can import graphics from many common formats and save them in over 20 formats including PNG, HTML, PDF, and Flash.

Base (database)

Base provides tools for day-to-day database work within a simple interface. It can create and edit forms, reports, queries, tables, views, and relations, so that managing a connected database is much the same as in other popular database applications. Base provides many new features, such as the ability to analyze and edit relationships from a diagram view. Base incorporates HSQLDB as its default relational database engine. It can also use dBASE, Microsoft Access, MySQL, or Oracle, or any ODBC- or JDBC-compliant database. Base also provides support for a subset of ANSI-92 SQL.

Math (formula editor)

Math is OOo’s formula or equation editor. You can use it to create complex equations that include symbols or characters not available in standard font sets. While it is most commonly used to create formulas in other documents, such as Writer and Impress files, Math can also work as a stand-alone tool. You can save formulas in the standard Mathematical Markup Language (MathML) format for inclusion in webpages and other documents not created by OOo.

Content on this page is licensed under the Creative Common Attribution 3.0 license (CC-BY).
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