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StarOffice 8: Office Killer? - page 6

Alternatives to Microsoft Office

  • March 6, 2006
  • By Martin C. Brown

Impress starts up by default with a presentation wizard. You get to select from a huge range of sample styles and backgrounds, or you can build your own on the fly by selecting backgrounds and other components. Sadly, in terms of creating the slideshow I didn't find anything that I am not already familiar with within other packages, PowerPoint included.

There are some improvements over the previous versions--most of the vector drawing capability we now find in StarOffice Draw is also available directly within Impress, and we can import outlines and content from other packages, including charts and tables from Calc, simply by dragging and dropping the content into your presentation.

Where Impress shines is the ability to export your presentation not only to PowerPoint, but also as a PDF (including slides and handouts) as an HTML presentation and a Macromedia Flash file. The latter produces a self-running animation of the presentation, which could make Impress a viable alternative for some simple Flash applications. Supporting Flash in this way will certainly make distributing presentations online much easier than converting to HTML--although as I said Impress handles this process well too.

For the HTML formats you can select bare HTML (with self navigation), a frame-based interface (showing an outline and slides), and automatic slide view (auto-advancing through pages). You can also generate a webcast using ASP or Perl to provide the content automatically to the user. This approach allows a speaker to control the output of web pages so that you can do a presentation over a speaker phone while viewers watch the presentation live on the Internet. As presenter you retain full control over the slides that are shown at all times.


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