A Look Into OpenOffice.org 3.0: new features, pleasant surprises

While everyone is looking forward to the launch of OpenOffice 2.4, I am already looking at the latest development project: OpenOffice 3.0, that promises better usability, Web 2.0 collaboration and enhanced interoperability with other office suites and format.

OpenOffice 3.0 is still in development stage and there are plenty of bugs yet to be solved (over 2000 issues, and counting), but if you are keen to test out the beta release, you can download the Ooo-Dev_DEV300_m3 from the OpenOffice ftp mirror.

New features in OpenOffice 3.0

  • New Personal Information Manager
  • New Chart engine with new chart wizard and types
  • PDF import and export
  • Presenter console for Impress with multi screen support
  • Web 2.0 support with blogging & wiki component
  • MS Office XML 2007 import
  • New report engine for Base
  • Improved Pivot tables and new Solver in Calc
  • Improved extension management… and many extensions
  • New Platform: Mac OS X

Some of the features found in the beta version

New Splash screen

openoffice3-splash.jpg

There is a change of the splash screen to reflect the new OpenOffice version

Start Center

openoffice3-start-center.jpg

When you start OpenOffice without a document or module, it will load the start center where you have a one-click access to any of the module.

multiple page view and zoom slider

openoffice3-2pages-viewthumb.jpg

openoffice3-sliderr.jpg

There is a set of icons at the bottom right hand corner of Writer to allow you to toggle the view of your document and a zoom slider to change the size of the document.

notes taking in the margin

openoffice3-note.jpg

You can now take note in the side margin in Writer

translucent highlighter in calc

openoffice3-calc.jpg

The highlighting in Calc has changed from black to translucent blue.

Conclusion

These are just few of the changes already included in the current OpenOffice 3.0 beta release. More features will be ready as the days go by. Judging from this release, There are great improvement over the current OpenOffice version and most of them are useful, with some new features that come as pleasant surprise. Overall, I am impressed with OpenOffice 3.0, even though it is still in beta version. I am definitely looking forward to the final release.

OpenOffice 3.0 is scheduled to release in September 2008.