- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
Let's face it, Microsoft Office is getting to be an expensive proposition. Maybe you're an individual or a small business with one copy of Office -- and three computers that need productivity software. Maybe you're a school or nonprofit with kids to teach and other priorities for your cash. Maybe you don't like Microsoft but need to exchange files with a world that does. Or maybe you're running Linux. (Short of WINE hacks, Microsoft Office isn't even an option for you.) If there were a free, compatible suite that did the stuff you'd like to do with Microsoft Office, you'd at least take a look, wouldn't you? That software is here, and it's called OpenOffice.org 1.0.
This is the open source sibling of Sun's StarOffice 6.0, stripped of proprietary software that can't be given away free. So, for example, there's no database component, and far fewer templates than are bundled with StarOffice. Oh, and while lots of people are contributing gallantly to the OpenOffice.org online documentation, it sure doesn't come with a manual.
But what's here is quite impressive. Sure, rough edges remain. But this is all the productivity software most folks will ever need. And you can get a manual -- a really good one. It's The OpenOffice.Org 1.0 Resource Kit, by Solveig Haugland and Floyd Jones.
Haugland and Jones, who've been in the middle of the StarOffice and OpenOffice.org communities for years now, have an extraordinary familiarity with the nooks and crannies of this software. More important, they know the easiest ways to get the best results with OpenOffice.org. In fact, Haugland and Jones answer hundreds of the questions that show up most often in OpenOffice.org forums -- including many of the questions you're most likely to ask, too.
The book contains in-depth coverage of all four primary OpenOffice.org applications: Writer/Web for producing text documents and web content; the Calc spreadsheet program; Impress, OpenOffice.org's PowerPoint clone; and Draw for both vector graphics and image editing. It also covers OpenOffice.org's mini-applications, such as its support for charting and equations, as well as its support for connecting to external databases -- for example, in building mail merges. (Unlike StarOffice 5.2, unfortunately, OpenOffice.org doesn't come with its own database or address book.)
You'll probably spend the most time in Writer, and that's where Haugland and Jones spend the most time. You'll find practical coverage of formatting, styles, and document templates, as well as a full chapter on adding graphics, tables, and other elements to your document. There are also simple explanations of Writer's long-document features, including page numbering, master documents, cross-referencing, indexes, and tables of contents, as well as "version control" for managing the revisions process.
Several chapters on Calc take you from the absolute basics (creating a new spreadsheet, entering data, and formatting your data) all the way to sophisticated features like Scenarios, which allow you to store multiple sets of data within the same cells, choosing amongst them to quickly assess the impact of different choices or events.
Haugland and Jones cover Impress and Draw in comparable depth, covering both the basics and such advanced features as slide transitions and handouts, creating HTML presentations to be published on the Web, and some surprisingly sophisticated image editing techniques.
There's thorough coverage of OpenOffice.org's extensive customization features -- everything from changing the default path where OpenOffice.org stores documents to improving security, controlling how many "Undo"s are kept in memory to turning off annoying features (another way in which OpenOffice.org resembles Microsoft Office). You'll also find a detailed chapter on printing -- including printing in Linux and Solaris operating environments, which may require a little twiddling on your part.
The accompanying CD-ROM not only contains the latest Open Office.org official distributions for Windows, Linux, and Solaris -- it also provides a library of automated macros plus the latest MacOS developer distribution, which is really coming along now. (Once they get the Quartz version stable they're going to work on the Aqua redesign, which should be spiffy.) Friendly and complete, OpenOffice.org 1.0 Resource Kit is a solid resource for every OpenOffice.org user. Bill Camarda
Bill Camarda is a consultant, writer, and web/multimedia content developer. His 15 books include Special Edition Using Word 2000 and Upgrading & Fixing Networks For Dummies®, Second Edition.