Thursday, March 19, 2009

THREE reasons to upgrade to openoffice.org3

If you're still using openoffice.org 2.X... oh, waitaminute, you don't know what openoffice.org is? It's a free (free as in "free beer" and also free as in freedom!) office suite: writer for letters, theses, etc (think "Word"); impress for presentations (think "powerpoint®"); calc for spreadsheets (think "Excel®" or "1-2-3®"); draw for, uh, drawings... I think there's a database, too -- but I just use mysql. Why spend hundred$ to pay for Mi¢ro$oft equivalents?

OK, here are three reasons to upgrade to openoffice.org3 if you're still using 2.x
  1. Vastly superior display of Notes (M$word calls these "comments") -- see this link for further details.

    This is what drove the upgrade on our Linux boxen at home.

  2. Better handling of the new mi¢ro$oft XML-based file formats (files named "drivel.docx" or "ennui.pptx", etc.). I mean, neooffice 2.x lost everything on a pptx file, but OOo3 had no problem with it

  3. this most annoying of issues: suppose you have a paragraph style with a ½-inch indent on the first line. In OOo2.x, if you were at the start of the first line and hit the backspace key, the paragraph style for that paragraph got zapped -- the first-line indentation would become zero rather than the ½-inch or 1cm or whatever, and it was annoying to restore the correct formatting. This is happily fixed in OOo3. Yippee!

    This did, however, lead to a usability issue at our house. We have a document template with a "Text body" style (indented first line) and a "Text body first paragraph" style (you guessed it -- no indentation on the first line). If you delete the first paragraph of a chapter, the formerly-second paragraph has its first line indented. To un-indent that line, OOo2.x let you just backspace -- voilà, no more indentation... but that was a bug! Since OOo3 has the bug fixed, what you must do instead is position cursor in that first paragraph, and then change the paragraph style. Easiest way is to change paragraph style in the current style window (see this picture for example). Select "Text body first paragraph" and Bob's yer uncle.

This was such great news that I wanted to pass it along.

1 comment:

v said...

I always hated the zoom function in OO but the sliding bar in v3 is awesome!
Its quick, handy, exactly what I wanted.

When I got my Dell Mini, it came with OO2.4 and after using it for 4mins I had to find out how to get OO3 just for the zoom option.