OpenOffice 3 review

Impress does a good job of mimicking PowerPoint’s tools, however, right down to the array of custom slide layouts and animation tools, which even include custom motion paths for controlling object movement.

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The Draw program is interesting, offering a standalone tool for preparing and editing vector graphics to use in Writer, Calc and Impress files. It’s technically very proficient, offering full bezier tools, ‘sticky’ connectors and dimension lines for annotating plans and blueprints, for example. It supports object transparency too, but then it doesn’t anti-alias the display – it’s an odd mixture of the modern and the archaic.

Good value

What is exciting in OpenOffice is the provision of a full-blown relational database tool. The equivalent in Office is Access, but this is only available in the more expensive configurations. If you want to learn about relational databases, here’s a free application to do it. In true OpenOffice style, it delivers all the tools needed in a straightforward no-frills fashion.

We’ve always rated OpenOffice highly here at PC Pro as a free alternative to Microsoft Office. And version 3 continues that tradition, though the cracks are beginning to show. While OpenOffice 3 successfully challenges and largely matches Office 2007 in a technical sense, visually it’s now very much the poor relation. That might not matter much in technical and academic circles, but in the business world appearances count, and while Office 2007 can make anyone look like a pro in minutes, with OpenOffice you risk looking like an amateur instead.

Details

Software subcategory Office software

Operating system support

Operating system Windows Vista supported? yes
Operating system Windows XP supported? yes
Operating system Linux supported? yes
Operating system Mac OS X supported? yes

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