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A First Look at OpenOffice.org 1.0 - page 5

Evaluating the OpenOffice.org 1.0 Production Release

  • May 8, 2002
  • By Rob Reilly

PowerPoint seems to be a pretty popular presentation package in the Windows world. StarOffice and OpenOffice.org have the Impress presentation application. I've generally been happy with the StarOffice 5.2 version of Impress and was able to pull in my old PowerPoint files with very little trouble. It was comforting to see that OpenOffice.org Impress was just like my old familiar StarOffice version (see Figure 5).

As you might have guessed, some of the same issues cropped up in Impress that appeared in OpenOffice.org Writer and Calc.

The importing of PowerPoint files with the TrueType "comic sans" font again showed up. Anywhere I used that font, it appeared as the italic script style I mentioned earlier. With slides, that means you'll have to go to each one, highlight the text and then change it to an appropriate font. I suppose I could have fixed the problem with an adjustment to the way X handles TrueTypes or doing a font replacement, I just didn't pursue it for this review. Exporting my OpenOffice.org example presentation files to MS PowerPoint format (.ppt) resulted in virtually no loss of data or formatting when viewed with PowerPoint on the Windows 2000 machine.

Individual applications (Writer, Calc, Impress, Draw) need to have their default units set prior to use. Even after changing to inches in the Writer program, I found that I was editing my imported Powerpoint presentation in centimeters. A quick switch under the Tools, Options, Ppresentation, General menu selections made my particular units' world right again.

Impress has numerous features that make doing presentations a snap. I checked most of the familiar operations such as slide transitions, object animation and special effects and they seemed to function just like they always did in StarOffice and PowerPoint.

One feature that any business person can use is the ability to convert their pitch to Web pages. OpenOffice.org will export Web pages with simple controls (built in) for moving forward and backwards through the slides while you are in your favorite browser. My eight-slide 110K PowerPoint file exported to 18 html and jpg files with a total disk space of around 288k. I didn't have to edit a single line of html code and the rendering was great under Netscape Navigator.

Want to put some process or flow diagrams in your presentation? Would you like to connect those boxes, circles and text with lines to show what influences what? Wouldn't it be nice if the lines stayed connected in the right places no matter where you moved the shapes on the slide? Theses features work great in the OpenOffice.org presentation program.

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