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Microsoft Office to OpenOffice Migration Guide
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What are the advantages of OpenOffice.org?

Here are some of the advantages of OpenOffice.org over other office suites:

  • No licensing fees. OOo 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 OOo. There are no hidden charges now or in the future.

  • Open source. You can distribute, copy, and modify the software as much as you wish, in accordance with either of OOo's Open Source licenses.

  • Cross-platform. OOo 2.0 runs on several hardware architectures and under multiple operating systems, such as Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, and Sun Solaris.

  • Extensive language support. OOo’s user interface is available in over 40 languages and the OOo project provides spelling, hyphenation and thesuarus dictionaries in over 70 languages and dialects. OOo 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 OpenOffice.org 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. OOo includes PDF and Flash export capabilities, as well as support for opening and saving files in many common formats including Microsoft Office, HTML, XML, WordPerfect and Lotus 123 formats.

  • No vendor lock-in. OOo 2.0 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 OpenOffice.org, its mission, history, licensing and other organizational information here: https://www.openoffice.org/about.html

How does OpenOffice.org compare?

OpenOffice.org can match and exceed the feature set of competing office suites. The following table lists the main components of OOo and compares them with their equivalents in two leading office suites, Microsoft Office 2003 (MSO) and WordPerfect Office X3 (WP).

Function

OOo

MSO

WP

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

1 Professional version only.

2 Professional and Student and Teacher editions only.

Features

The following tables list some important features of OpenOffice.org and compare them with two leading office suites, Microsoft Office 2003 (MSO) and WordPerfect X3 (WP).

Styles and formatting

Feature

OOo

MSO

WP

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 OOo’s Navigator.

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

Interoperability

Feature

OOo

MSO

WP

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

1 Requires additional third-party software, such as PDF Writer or PDF Converter.
2 Microsoft Office: Mac is 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

OOo

MSO

WP

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 OpenOffice.org, it can also be done through changes to the source code.

Feature

OOo

MSO

WP

C and C++

yes

yes

yes

Java

yes

no

no

Python

yes

no

no

Source code available!

yes

no

no

Security

Feature

OOo

MSO

WP

Digital signatures

yes

yes

yes

Strong encryption

yes

yes

yes

Secure paths for macro execution

yes

yes

no

New features in version 2

OpenOffice.org 2.0 delivers hundreds of improvements and new features. Here are some of the major enhancements.

  • Simplified installation. Installations are now performed by platform-native installers with no need to use command-line switches (or flags) for multi-user installations. You can also specify which version of Java (if any) is to be used by OOo from the installation interface.

  • New database component. In the new stand-alone database component, you can create forms, reports, queries, tables, views and relations. OOo now includes HSQLDB, a small, fast, relational database engine that supports a subset of ANSI-92 SQL, along with an easy to use interface. Additionally, it is now easier than ever to use other databases (dBASE, MySQL, Oracle, among others).

  • New file format. OOo 2.0 uses the new OpenDocument standard XML file format (standardized by OASIS, https://www.oasis-open.org/home/index.php) as its default file format. This new file format is also used in StarOffice, IBM Workspace and KOffice, and will be used by other products in the future. OOo 2.0 can still read and save files in formats previously supported by
    OOo 1.x, including Microsoft Office formats.

  • Native system theme integration. To further integrate OpenOffice.org with the underlying operating system, all user interface elements (such as buttons and scrollbars) have the same look as those used in other native applications for each platform.

  • Digital signatures. Digital signatures provide authentication of the true author or editor of a document. This feature provides further security with running macros.

  • Enhanced encryption. Implementation of the new XML (eXtensible Markup Language) encryption algorithm offers additional document security.

  • Usability improvements. Redesigned toolbars are more usable, and display only selected default tools and related options. The usability of the Menus tab of the Tools > Customize dialog has been improved. Several features have been renamed to conform with common office suite terminology (for example, “AutoPilot” is now a “Wizard”).

  • Thumbnails. The new plug-in for the the native file explorer provides a thumbnail preview of an OOo file. Some of the more common file system explorers that can use this new feature are Nautilus (Gnome), Konqueror (KDE), and Microsoft Windows Explorer.

  • Import and export filters

    • Improved PDF export filter now includes PDF bookmarks, PDF notes, and more.

    • Import and export of Microsoft Office 95 and Office 97 spin buttons and scrollbars have been added to the Word filters.

    • The import filter for Microsoft PowerPoint documents now creates text objects having font-independent line spacing enabled.

    • Enhanced export to HTML produces valid “XHTML 1.0 Strict” documents. XHTML export has been enabled for Calc, Draw and Impress.

    • You can now open Microsoft Office password-protected documents.

    • New import filters for WordPerfect and Lotus 123.

  • Send document as e-mail. OOo 2.0 makes it easier to use your email client to send the active document as an attachment.

  • Enhanced mail merge feature. Enhancements include better management of databases and saving into one single file.

  • Drag and drop selections to create styles. Drag and drop a text selection into the Styles and Formatting window to create a new paragraph style or character style.

  • Form controls. Form controls can be embedded in all OOo documents that support a form layer.

  • New keyboard shortcuts. You can now use the keyboard to perform the actions found under Edit > Paste Special. Multiple selected sheets in a spreadsheet can be deselected using the keyboard. Paragraph and other styles can be assigned to key combinations.

  • Auto recovery of files and the workspace environment. The OOo Error Reporting tool and the document recovery features have been combined. Now if OOo crashes, the active documents are saved. You can recover the documents, and send an error report.

  • Enhanced features in Calc. These enhancements include improved number recognition, an improved Hyperlink function, conditional arrays, a greater selection of predefined headers and footers, more options for defining how to print sheets, new options for the DataPilot feature, and support for right-to-left languages.

  • Calc row limit increased. The number of spreadsheet rows has been increased to 65536, the same number of rows as Microsoft Excel.

  • Enhanced multimedia. The multimedia presentation model uses the W3C’s Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language (SMIL) standard. Now Impress can render nearly all of the Microsoft PowerPoint animation effects. Two new task panels provide access to shape and slide transition effects.

  • Programmatic control of menu and toolbar items. Third-party developers can write plugins to manipulate menu bar and toolbar layouts to their needs. Developers can now insert, remove, and modify menu items, context menus, and toolbar items at runtime.

  • Scripting framework. The scripting framework allows you to write macros in a number of languages other than OOo Basic. You can assign these macros to menu items, keyboard combinations, application and document events, form controls within documents, and various objects within documents.

For a complete, detailed listing, go to the OpenOffice.org 2.0 Office Suite, Guide to New Features located at https://marketing.openoffice.org/2.0/featureguide.html#enduser

Microsoft Office to OpenOffice Migration Guide
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