The latest version of the open-source office suite OpenOffice.org 3.1 has just arrived, and it's a good one.
- Free, can match Microsoft Office in many areas
- Impress is not as good as PowerPoint
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.
OpenOffice 3.1: What's cool about it?
OpenOffice 3.1, like the Mozilla Firefox web browser, can use extensions to increase its functionality. For example, Writer's existing grammar checker framework can now be augmented with extensions like LanguageTool.
It won't significantly improve your writing, but it will save you from some of the more idiotic grammar errors. We've been waiting for this feature since OpenOffice.org first showed up. (Although we did encounter some Java run-time errors when we tried to run it.)
In Calc, OpenOffice 3.1's answer to Excel, performance has been given an incredible boost. (Complicated spreadsheets that in the past allowed me to take a five-minute coffee break while they finished their calculations now run in five seconds.) In the past, we kept a copy of Excel around for taking care of heavy-duty spreadsheet jobs. We won't need to do that anymore.
OpenOffice 3.1: What needs to be fixed?
It's not all good news. Much as we dislike sitting through PowerPoint presentations, we know that many people rely on PowerPoint every day to get their points across. Impress, OpenOffice 3.1's presentation manager, is good, but it's not PowerPoint good.
There are some improvements, thanks in large part to anti-aliasing making the graphics sharper, but it simply doesn't offer as many features. If you just do presentations once in a blue moon, Impress is fine. If you make your living with PowerPoint, you won't be impressed with Impress.
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PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
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