£ Free commercial app, worth £60
Platform: Windows XP
License: Time limited demo
Number of downloads: 14236
If you're an existing Microsoft Office user, StarOffice 7 ships with good compatibility with existing Office files. StarOffice can import Word .DOC, Excel .XLS and PowerPoint .PPT files into its own word processor, spreadsheet and presentation packages. And there's support for reading all kinds of other document and graphics formats, too: dBase (dBF), SYLK (slk), Lotus 1-2-3 (wks), AutoCAD (DXF), MathML (mml) are just some of the more unexpected examples.
The suite also includes a simple HTML editor and drawing program. And there's a database component within most applications, which lets you (for example) connect to a data source, then build queries to populate a spreadsheet. Plenty of features, then, but strong integration makes the program particularly easy to use. Click File > New in the spreadsheet, say, and you can create a text or HTML document, graphic or presentation, without having to open another application.
Working with individual documents is very straightforward. If you're used to Office, then you'll feel at home right away, as the menu structures are quite similar. Applications like the StarOffice Spreadsheet provide all the functions and formulae you need, so you'll be quickly producing useful documents with just a few minutes of exploration.
And the benefits don't stop there. When you've finished work, StarOffice lets you save any document in Adobe's PDF format, something Microsoft Office still can't manage without help. And graphics or presentations can alternatively be exported as Macromedia Flash (SWF) files, very useful if you need to develop web animations, and a feature that could justify installing StarOffice all on its own.
Note, ignore the ‘time limited demo’ reference on this page. You’ll need to get your serial code from ww w.avanquest.co.uk/vnu/staroffice/register
UPGRADE OFFER - Save £15 on StarOffice 8
Sun's latest word in productivity software offers improved compatibility with Office documents, even if they're password-protected. There's also support for saving files in the new OpenDocument format, as used by IBM, Novell, Red Hat, and more. Documents can be digitally signed for extra security, the new Mail Merge wizard makes short work of any bulk mailing task, and StarOffice can even convert Microsoft Office macros into its own Basic language.
The regular price for StarOffice 8 is £49.99, but take advantage of our special offer and you'll receive a healthy £15 discount. Visit http://shop.avanquest.com/uk/prod.php?pid=1064 &tr1=AQ_UK_AF_VNU and use the promotional code STAROFFICE to reduce the price from £49.99 to £34.99, including VAT!