OpenOffice.org has unveiled the third iteration of its open source productivity suite. The software is available as a free download for PC users and as a native Mac OS X application for the first time.
Version 3.0 builds on the functionality available in a set of existing basic components, which include word processor, spreadsheet, presentation, graphics, formula and database capabilities.
New features for the Writer word processor include a slider control for zooming which allows multi-page display while editing, multilingual support, improved notes capabilities and the ability to edit wiki documents for the web.
The Calc spreadsheet can now cater for up to 1,024 columns per sheet and packs in an improved equation solver and a collaboration feature for multiple users to work on a spreadsheet simultaneously.
The Draw graphics applications can now deal with poster-sized graphics of up to three square metres, while the Impress presentation module now boasts a fully featured table designer inside a presentation.
A growing number of additional features from different developers include an Impress presenter console, support for business analytics, PDF import, creation of Hybrid PDF documents and a new way of supporting additional languages.
OpenOffice has been hailed by many as the best alternative to Microsoft's Office suite. It has a very similar look and feel, and comparable features and functionality, but is free to download and is based on open file standards.
The suite has also proved very popular as a standard installation on most netbooks and other mini-laptops.
"As government after government, and enterprise after enterprise, adopt the Open Document Format [the ISO-approved format used natively by OpenOffice.org] they frequently adopt OpenOffice.org and love it," said Louis Suárez-Potts, community manager of OpenOffice.org.
"With version 3.0, the application is more interoperable with Microsoft Office, more capable, more extensible. It frees the desktop from vendor lock-in. "
OpenOffice.org has published a full list of new features, and OpenOffice.org 3.0 is now available for download.
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