OpenOffice 3.0 beta is now available for you to download and give it whirl. If you don’t know what beta means, beta means it’s in testing and it’s not a final version.
OpenOffice.org is like Microsoft Office. However, it is a free alternative that runs in Windows, Linux, Mac OS X and OpenSolaris. It might not have all the features of Microsoft Office but it has enough to make it an effective alternative.
Here’s a list of programs that make up OpenOffice.org:
- Write (Word equivalent)
- Calc (Excel equivalent)
- Impress (Powerpoint equivalent)
- Draw (Publisher equivalent)
- Base (Access equivalent)
- OpenOffice.org Extensions
Here are some of the new features you’ll find in OpenOffice.org:
- A Start Center (shown below)
- A New Zoom Control in the Status Bar
- A New Solver Component in Calc
- Spreadsheet Collaboration through WorkBook Sharing
- Increased Columns to 1024 per WorkSheet
- Writer has an improved Notes feature
- Writer displays multiple pages while editing
- Will support upcoming OpenDocument Format (ODF) 1.2 standard
- Reads and Writes Office 2007 Documents
- Reads and Writes Office 2008 for Mac OS X
- Creates PDFs
- More and more and more – feature list here
Even though this is in beta, what I like to do is create a simple document in Microsoft Word 2007, save it and open it up in OpenOffice.org Write program and make sure everything came over or converted the way it’s suppose to look from Microsoft Word. You can do this in all the OpenOffice.org applications that have a Microsoft Office equivalent.
Then, I browse over to Microsoft Templates and pick a pretty good template that has quite a bit of formatting in it and test it by viewing it in Microsoft Word and then in OpenOffice.org Write. This will show you immediately how OpenOffice.org Write converts Microsoft Word documents.
This is important because if you’re going to use OpenOffice.org Write as your word processing program then you want to make sure Word documents that you receive from other people render correctly and also get formatted correctly when you save an OpenOffice.org Write document that you might end up sending off to someone else who works exclusively in Microsoft Word.