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The StartX Files: Between the Sheets With Star Calc - page 3

Digressing Into Font Land

  • December 14, 2001
  • By Brian Proffitt

It seems as if columnists have an endless fascination with comparing Linux applications to Excel. Many people reject this notion, because it seems to give Microsoft some sort of validation that they are number one. They are not always, though Office products are very prolific.

While I would contend that there are quality areas where Microsoft products can outdo Linux applications (for now), Calc would certainly not be one of those times. This is a fast, stable, and very powerful spreadsheet application that could hold its own in any corporate office.

If only it didn't look so bad on screen.

If you look at the screenshot with this article, you can see what I mean. Fonts, even ones available in the environment and OpenOffice, are much to widely and irregularly spaced. Again, if the printer is configured correctly, then this problem is not a factor on hard copy. But getting a WYSIWYG version of exactly what the printout will look like is impossible.

Nor is it a big problem if the document is shared with Office users. They will see the fonts exactly as they should.

So, in the grand scheme of things, this font issue is nothing more than an annoyance for the person actually working with the workbook in Calc, right?

Yes, but you and I know that the average user is going to take a look at that on-screen display and thing there's something wrong with Calc. Yes, this is a superficial aesthetic issue, but it is one that is hampering OpenOffice.

If there is a fix to this that I missed or if there's one coming, I welcome the addendum from the OpenOffice team. Calc should not be held back by something like this. This component of OpenOffice, even more than its Writer counterpart, has a definite place on the corporate desktop.

All it needs is a better look.

Available from: http://www.openoffice.org
Version reviewed: OpenOffice 641b, Calc component
License: LGPL, SISSL
Cost: Free

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