Migrating to Apache OpenOffice

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What is Apache OpenOffice?

Apache OpenOffice (AOO) is a freely-available, full-featured office productivity suite. It includes the following components.

Writer (word processor)

Documentation writer icon.png
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)

Documentation calc icon.png
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 AOO documents. You can also open and work with Microsoft Excel workbooks and save them in Excel format. Calc can export spreadsheets to Adobe’s Portable Document Format (PDF) and to HTML.

Impress (presentation graphics)

Documentation impress icon.png
Impress provides all the common multi-media presentation tools, such as special effects, animation, and drawing tools. It is integrated with the advanced graphics capabilities of the 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 save your work in numerous graphics formats including Macromedia Flash (SWF).

Draw (vector graphics)

Documentation draw icon.png
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 AOO’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)

Documentation base icon.png
Base offers tools for day-to-day database work within a simple interface. It can create and edit forms, reports, queries, tables, views and relations, so 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 used BASE, 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)

Documentation math icon.png
Math is AOO’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 AOO.

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:http://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).


Function
OpenOffice.org
Microsoft Office
WordPerfect Office
Word processor Writer Word® WordPerfect® X3
Spreadsheet Calc Excel® Quattro Pro® X3
Vector Graphics Draw no no
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.

Features

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

Feature
OpenOffice.org
Microsoft Office
WordPerfect Office
Navigator
yes
limited1
no
Styles and Formatting window
yes
yes
no
Keyboard support for paragraph styles
yes
yes
no
Support for page, frame, and list styles
yes
no
no
Word completion
yes
Excel only
no
Spelling and language proofing modules
70+
50+2
25
Formula or equation tools
yes
yes
no

1“Outline View” in Word offers a subset of the features of AOO’s Navigator.

2Requires an additional license for the theMultilingual User Interface Pack.

Interoperability

Feature
OpenOffice.org
Microsoft Office
WordPerfect Office
PDF export capability
yes
yes1
yes
Flash export capability
yes
no
yes
XML export capability
yes
yes
yes
OpenDocument XML format
yes
no
no
Import/Export Microsoft Office files
yes
yes
yes
Import WordPerfect files
yes
yes
yes
Import Lotus 123 files
yes
yes
yes
Connect to external databases (MySQL, Oracle, Access, etc.)
yes
yes
yes
Languages available (localizations)
40+
35+
30
Supported operating systems
Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, Solaris
Windows only2
Windows only
Unicode language support
yes
yes
no

1Requires additional third-party software,such as PDF Writer orPDF Converter.2Microsoft Office: Macis not feature compatible with Microsoft Office 2003.

Programmability

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.


Language
OpenOffice.org
Microsoft Office
WordPerfect Office
Basic-derived language
OpenBasic
VBA
VBA
Beanshell
yes
no
no
Java
yes
no
no
JavaScript
yes
no
no
Python
yes
no
no

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.


Feature
OpenOffice.org
Microsoft Office
WordPerfect Office


C and C++
yes
yes
yes
Java
yes
no
no
Python
yes
no
no
Source code available!
yes
no
no

Security

Feature
OpenOffice.org
Microsoft Office
WordPerfect Office
Digital signatures
yes
yes
yes
Strong encryption
yes
yes
yes
Secure paths for macro execution
yes
yes
no

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?

ApacheOpenOffice 4.0 requires one of the following operating systems:

  • Microsoft Windows Windows 2000 (Service Pack 2 or higher),Windows XP or Windows 2003, Windows 7 and Windows 8
  • 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 databasecomponent)require that the Java Runtime Environment (JRE) beinstalled on yourcomputer. Although AOO will work fine without Javasupport, some features will not be available. You can download thelatest versionfrom http://www.java.com.

Fora more detailed (and up-to-date) listing of requirements,see:[1][2]

How do I get the software?

Youcan get the Apache OpenOffice installation package in any oftheseways:

  • Download a copy from the project’s home page:http://www.openoffice.org.
  • Download a copy using the Peer to Peer client, BitTorrent.Theinstructions are here:[3].
  • 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.http://porting.openoffice.org/index.html.

How do I install Apache OpenOffice?

Informationon installing and setting up Apache OpenOffice on thevarious supported operating systems is given here:http://download.openoffice.org/common/instructions.html

Youcan also download the more detailed Setup Guide (in several languages) fromhttp://documentation.openoffice.org/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 AOO.

To display the full Help system, press F1 or select ApacheOpenOffice Help from the Help menu. In addition, you can choosewhether to activate tooltips, extended tips, and the Help Agent(usingTools > Options > General).

If tooltips are enabled, place the mouse pointer over any of theiconsto see a small box (“tooltip”) with a brief explanation ofthe icon’s function. For a more detailed explanation, selectHelp > What's This? and hold the pointer over the icon.

TheHelp menu

Free online support

The Apache OpenOffice community not only develops software, butprovides free, volunteer-based support. Users of AOO can getcomprehensive online support from community venues such asnewsgroups, forums or mailing lists. There are also numerous websitesrun by users that offer free tips and tutorials.


Free Apache OpenOffice support
User FAQ Frequently Asked Questions for Users
Users Mailing List subscribe]

Listarchives are here: [Edit needed]

Documentation Project Templates, user guides, how-tos, and otherdocumentation.[4]
Edit needed]


The Apache OpenOffice Forum Edit needed
AOO KnowledgeBase A collection of questions and answers that users canquery.[5]

Readmore about the support options for Apache OpenOffice at:http://support.openoffice.org/index.html

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 addons

Several websites provide additional free resources and addons to enhance Apache OpenOffice. The following table lists a few of these websites.


Free AOO templates, artwork and other addons
OOExtras Provides templates, samples and macros in severallanguages.[6]
AOOMacros A repository for AOO macros and addons, and documentation about writing macros and/or extending AOO.ooomacros.org
Open Clip Art Library An archive of clip art that can be used for free for anyuse.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:http://www.pitonyak.org/oo.php

What is involved in the initial migration?

Sharing files

SeeSharing 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?

SeeImporting 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?

SeeGeneral 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?

SeeDifferences 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 guideforspecific 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?

SeeCustomizing 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)?

SeeMathObjectsin theWriterGuide.

What about that database functionality?

SeeGetting Started with Base in theGetting Started Guide, andtheDatabaseGuidefor details on the new Base component of Apache OpenOffice.

Is there an equivalent to WordArt?

Yes.See Chapter 15 “Using Fontwork” in the Getting Startedguide.

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 ApacheOpenOffice 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: http://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’sGeneral 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):http://www.opensource.org

FreeSoftware Foundation (FSF): http://www.gnu.org

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



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