OpenOffice 3.1

The latest version of the open-source office suite 3.1 has just arrived, and it's a good one.

  • Review
  • Specs
  • Images
  • User Reviews
  • Buy Now 1
OpenOffice 3.1
  • Expert Rating

    4.50 / 5


  • Free, can match Microsoft Office in many areas


  • Impress is not as good as PowerPoint

Bottom Line

We've been using OpenOffice for years now. With these performance and appearance improvements, we can see more users moving to this free office suite. In particular, we think anyone who does spreadsheets every day owes it to themselves to compare Calc and Excel. You'll be impressed.

Would you buy this?

  • Best Deals (Selling at 1 store)

  • 14mm T3.1 ED AS IF UMC VDSLR (3/4) Lens 432.00

While some of the improvements to OpenOffice 3.1 are visible to the naked eye, we found that the most important changes were hidden under the hood.

What is it? 3.1 is a set of office productivity applications: Writer (word processor), Calc (spreadsheet), Impress (presentation manager) and Base (database manager). It's missing an Outlook substitute, but otherwise it's a complete replacement for Microsoft Office. The suite is available as a free download for Linux, Mac OS X, Solaris, and Windows; there are versions for most major languages.

OpenOffice 3.1: What does it do?

The first thing you'll notice about the new OpenOffice 3.1 is that it just looks better. Thanks to its use of anti-aliasing, the program menus, letters and images it displays are sharper and clearer. (You can see examples at Sun's engineering blog.)

We tested the OpenOffice 3.1 suite on a Windows XP system and one running MEPIS 8, a Debian-based Linux distribution. What really caught our attention after a few minutes of using the various apps was how much faster this version is than version 3.0.

This was especially clear on when we ran it on a Windows XP system. It used to take about 12 seconds to launch Writer; now it takes just over 6 seconds. We saw similar performance boosts when running the various other applications of OpenOffice 3.1. It's almost like running on a brand new machine.

Another good feature, if you're considering OpenOffice 3.1 for office use, is that it now has its own OS-independent file-locking system. Now Jack in marketing, who uses a Mac, can't overwrite a change that was just made by Jill in the (Windows-based) comptroller's office.

We tried to mangle a shared document (that existed on a Windows Server 2008 file server) by editing it from our Linux desktop and also from the XP desktop. We couldn't do it. The file-locking mechanism preserved the document from our best attempts to make a complete mess of it.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Cool Tech

ASUS ROG Swift PG279Q – Reign beyond virtual world

Learn more >

Xiro Drone Xplorer V -3 Axis Gimbal & 1080p Full HD 14MP Camera

Learn more >

Crucial® BX200 SATA 2.5” 7mm (with 9.5mm adapter) Internal Solid State Drive

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

D-Link TAIPAN AC3200 Ultra Wi-Fi Modem Router (DSL-4320L)

Learn more >

D-Link PowerLine AV2 2000 Gigabit Network Kit

Learn more >

Gadgets & Things

Lexar Professional 2000x SDHC™/SDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >


Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Lexar Professional 2000x SDHC™/SDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

ASUS VivoPC VM62 - Incredibly Powerful, Unbelievably Small

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Lexar Professional 2000x SDHC™/SDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Best Deals on Good Gear Guide

Latest News Articles


GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy


First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni


For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell


The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi


The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott


My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?