OpenOffice How To, Configuration, and Installation

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Show #76:

  • Date: 2008-05-05
  • Subject: OpenOffice How To, Configuration, and Installation
  • Duration: 20:56
  • Format: MP3
  • Size: 8,624 kb

Topics Discussed:

  • My Comments
  • Background
  • Components
  • Download and Install
  • Misc

Additional Information:

~~ Background

OpenOffice ( ) is the leading 100% free open-source office software suite available on Linux, Macintosh, and Windows Operating systems available under the GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL). The project and software are informally referred to as OpenOffice, but this term is a trademark held by another party, requiring the project to adopt as its formal name. It has word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, graphics, and databases. Additionally it supports the new International ISO standard OpenDocument Format (ODF) as its default file format, Microsoft Office 1997-2003 formats, as well as many others. It also has the ability to create PDF files in a standard read only format.

Back in August 1999 Sun Microsystems purchased a program called Star Office from StarDivision and OpenOffice was originally derived from that. The source code of the suite was released to compete with Microsoft Office by providing a free high-quality open source alternative. Sun now releases Star Office which is based upon builds from OpenOffice with additional components.

~~ Components has a standard collection of applications that mirror what you see in suites like Microsoft Office and contain the features expected from an office suite. The components available include:

  • Writer - A Microsoft Word comparible word processor offering a comparable range of functions and tools. It includes the ability to export PDF files, and also function as an editor for creating and editing web pages.
  • Calc - A spreadsheet application similar to Microsoft Excel. Calc provides a number of features not present in Excel, including a system which automatically defines series for graphing, based on the layout of the users data. Calc is also capable of writing spreadsheets directly as a PDF file. Unfortunately for power users of Excel you will find calc lacking in many of its feature set. General users will find it more than acceptable but advanced users will be challenged.
  • Impress - A Microsoft PowerPoint equivalent presentation program. It can export presentations to Adobe Flash (SWF) files, includes the ability to create PDF files. Impress does have some template support but it is not as extensive as Microsoft PowerPoint even though you can download more via the Internet.
  • Base - A database program similar to Microsoft Access. With Base you can create and manipulate databases, build forms, and create reports for end-users. Base can be used as a front-end to a number of different database systems, including Access databases (JET), ODBC data sources and MySQL/PostgreSQL. Compared to Microsoft Access, Base is lacking in the advanced functionality but will work for good general usage.
  • Draw - A vector graphics editor comparable in its feature set to early versions of CorelDRAW or Microsoft Visio. It features versatile "connectors" between shapes, which are available in a range of line styles and facilitate building drawings such as flowcharts. It also has similar features to Desktop publishing software such as Scribus and Microsoft Publisher.

~~ Download and Install

Download and install is not really that hard. Go to and download that latest version and then install it. Be sure that if you have Microsoft Office installed that you do not replace the default file types. I have seen issues with that and you can always change it later.

~~ Misc

-- Open Office Extensions - New functionality, tweaks, or new features to the Open Office user interface. (e.g. Report builders, extended language support, eFax ability, clip art gallery, etc.) -

-- Portable - A complete office suite including a word processor, spreadsheet, presentation tool, drawing package, and database packaged as a portable app. This way you can take all your documents and everything you need to work with them wherever you go -

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