Review of the New OpenOffice 3 beta

Our favorite office app, OpenOffice has just released the OOo 3.0 beta version. My review can be summed up in two words: it rocks! Ok, now you can go back to your other activities.

Just kiddin, let’s dig a bit deeper. First, since this isn’t a stable release you might not want to install this version yet as your main office application. But, so far the tests I’ve done were without crashes.

The first thing you’ll probably notice is their new Start Center which gives you a fast access to all of the different programs inside OOo, and a few other setup options.

OOo 3 beta startup

Second eye candy will be the new icon set, a needed visual improvement to say OpenOffice doesn’t look that ugly anymore.

OOo icon set

In Writer, the text editor application, you can now navigate through your document with a multi-page view:

OOo multiple pages

Setting by zoom level that you select from a bar that sits on the bottom right of the screen.

OOo zoom

What else is new? Still in Writer you can now have a better support for viewing notes. In Calc you now have a limit of 1024 columns (instead of 256), and improvements in chart options. In Draw and Impress finally you have the option to crop images, but I still wanted to see a “set transparent background” option.

Mac users should be really happy as this release can be installed without the complicated X11. I tried to convert a Mac user before without success, now I can finally try again.

Also, with document formatting OOo will now support ODF 1.2, and even import files from Microsoft Office 2007 . Of course, import here isn’t going to be perfect but it is an easy way for you to view those docx and pptx files even older versions of MS Office can’t open.

A feature that is much expected but will come at a later release is PDF import. This feature is promised for the final 3.0 release, we’ll wait to see.

I installed and ran OpenOffice 3.0 beta on my Windows machine. It installed right beside my main OOo installation, didn’t upgrade the earlier version I had installed. But, this is actually smart so you can still have the stable release in case any problems happen.

A very good release with some important changes. I can’t wait for the full stable release.

14 thoughts on “Review of the New OpenOffice 3 beta

  1. Well, let’s not exaggerate: OOo3 does NOT rock !!! Main flaws are still the same as ever. Bad support for other languages than English, is my main complaint. Try writing in French or Spanish and you’ll understand why. Spell checking a bilingual document is impossible (or too complex for my grasp). Spell checking in a language other than English is (near) impossible as well.

    There are other issues as well, but those I can live with. All in all it’s a very nice text processor, which I use on a daily basis.

  2. But, don’t you like the new features that are coming out soon on the next stable release? It is their first beta from what I can tell.

    Unfortunately I haven’t tested much in other languages (although my native language is Portuguese).

  3. @Hans: When writing in Polish or German, spell checking works just fine. What’s so different in Spanish or French that makes them impossible to work with in OpenOffice?

  4. I have used OOo 3 beta in spanish and have no problems so far. Actually it is great that the language of each section can be different and it is noted on the information bar. Double clicking allows to change the language to use the right spellchecker. Maybe is OK because I set the default as spanish, but I have worked with documents in english and had no problem either.

  5. Really interesting. IMO, “import files from Microsoft Office 2007” is the most relevant feature. However there are some things i think should be corrected about importing .doc files (not talking about .docx as it is not yet ready). Being able to work with .doc files the same way as Micro$oft does I think is the best way to bring those users to the OpenOffice world. For this reason i think it is important the look of open office too (I don’t care about it but most users do).

  6. I used OpenOffice 2 to format a 300-page book, and I can tell you, it was hell. The OO user interface is a flawless example of design by committee. I believe the underlying engine is just fine – I’ve experienced few crashes with OO, but it’s deeply flawed for production formatting work. I spent countless hours merely finding out HOW to do simple formatting (add headers, format them for facing pages, create page styles, blah blah). If I were a company or an end user billing for time, I would never, ever use or recommend OO. Just check the keyboard customization page – it looks like it was thrown together by enterprise IT techies who had far more pressing things to do. OO – yuck. My next book will be formatted with LaTeX!

  7. I already download OO 3.0 beta, and also do : sudo dpkg -i *.deb at my ubuntu Hardy Heron, normally the shortcut of my OO will placed at my menu but it don’t, so what should i do to add the shortcut to menu?

  8. You think it took long to figure out, well let me just ask this, how long did it take you to figure out MS Office? Just a question and I’ve had no problems, its the best free office suite available in my opinion. Of course its not as good for writing essays and stuff, but its just as good, if not better for certain other things, say science pracs for example. Just what I think…

  9. I have to agree with previous comments OO is just not as good a Office 2007.
    Not far off but not quite there. The UI needs to be improved the office 97 style should be long gone. I don’t mean copying the office ribbon I mean going one step better. People are quite fickle if OO get the same or greater feature set that Office and if the UI is prettier then people will move in their masses. Its a shame as I believe this is the only block preventing Linux becoming the OS of choice.

  10. OpenOffice is my favorite one and it’s free and open, i like new features there. ;d

    p.s.
    Also use Google Documents but only when i want to share with my friends : )

  11. This was a actually fantastic post. In theory I’d like to write like this also – taking time and genuine effort to make a good post… but what can I say… I procrastinate alot and never seem to get something carried out.
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