OpenOffice.org 3.0 is 167 days away, but who's counting? Maybe the software developers are counting because they have a whopping 2,278 issues targeted for this release. Even though OpenOffice.org 2.4 is not yet out the door, let's see how far they've come with OpenOffice.org 3.0.
The redesigned splash screen and about dialog:
Please keep in mind this article is based off an alpha release, so many things will change before the final release.
When OpenOffice.org 3 starts without a document and without a module (such as Writer), it presents the new Start Center.
View multiple pages in Writer
One of the most ever voted issues is viewing multiple pages in writer. Notice the two new controls in the statusbar (bottom-right-hand corner) of the first screenshot: the "View Layout" mode selection and the zoom slider. The "View Layout" control switches between a single page, several pages side by side, and book layout.
Pretty notes in the margin
The much anticipated improvement called Notes2 is nearly ready. It will refresh the look, introduce rich formatting and spell checking, aid accessibility, and boost usability while displaying notes in the margin.
The current DEV300_m3 alpha release only supports marking a single point with a note; a later version will allow marking a selection of text with a note. However, 3.0 will not track changes in the margin.
Microsoft Office 2007 file format support
Microsoft Office 2007 (also called Office Open XML) file formats include .docx, .pptx, and .xlsx. Despite the similarity in names, these formats are significantly different than the Microsoft Office formats used since 1997. OpenOffice.org 3 offers native import.
OpenOffice.org 3.0 DEV300_m3 converted this reference .docx document with mediocre quality. The notable problems were tracked changes, a comment, columns, an image, and an embedded Excel document. For comparison, the same document is shown rendered in Word 2007 and in OpenOffice.org 3.0 DEV300_m3.
Surely the quality of conversion will improve before September's final release.
Solver in Calc
It's the perfect solution for your linear optimization needs. The feature announcement explains:
Calc now has a linear optimization solver. It finds a set of input values that maximize or minimize an objective function, while satisfying a set of constraints.
A linear programming model is defined by formulas in spreadsheet cells, the objective and constraints are specified in a dialog. Input variables can be defined to be integer or binary (mixed integer linear programming).
Need a solver now? See Kohei's solver.
New theme in Calc
Calc 3.0 paints selections with translucence and renders column and row headers with a glass effect. Version 2.4 is shown first for comparison.
Native tables in Impress
Impress 3.0 has native tables. The new Table Design panel (shown on the right) makes it easy to apply colors.
Error bars in charts
Don't make any mistakes about it: OpenOffice.org is serious about improving charts for scientific uses. OpenOffice.org 3.0 has error bars in charts.
OpenOffice.org 2.4 also made progress in charts:
More columns in Calc
Calc 3.0 extends the maximum columns from 256 to 1024.
Wait, that's not all! Download now and you'll also get:
- Official support for Mac—using the pretty Aqua interface
- Performance improvements
- Simultaneous editing of spreadsheets by multiple users
- Cross-references to headings
- Updates to embedded fields in mail merges from Calc
- Displaying PostScript OpenType fonts on Linux and Solaris
- Titles for secondary axes in charts
- OpenDocument Format 1.2
- ...and much more! Issue Tracker: Issues marked fixed for 3.0 (number of issues will increase as September approaches)
With months left to go, there's several pieces still missing.
- Importing standard PDF files
- Hybrid PDFs: fully editable PDFs with embedded OpenDocument files (issue 65397)
- Presenter view in Impres
- Dictionaries as extensions (to replace DicOOo)
- Macros in Base documents
- Bug testing
A year ago in OOoCon 2007's keynote address, Louis Suárez-Potts, Community Manager of OpenOffice.org, touched on many ideas for OpenOffice.org 3.0. Many are already fulfilled ahead of schedule in 2.4 or earlier: rectangular selection, wiki export, new chart module, and the Pentaho report engine.
However, one feature you may not see this year is an Outlook replacement. For years, there have been talks of including Mozilla's Thunderbird and Lightning (calendar) application with OpenOffice.org. However, not much as come of it yet. Perhaps with the financial resources of the new Mozilla Messaging Corporation, the Mozilla Calendar will get the boost it needs.
OpenOffice.org 3.0 will be an excellent release. To make it better, please see Top 12 reasons to test the OpenOffice.org 2.4 release candidate for a guide to testing any version of OpenOffice.org.
OpenOffice.org 3.0 downloads (marked DEV300 or BEA300, not OOH) are available from: Developer snapshots OpenOffice.org mirrors in the developer/DEV300_* subdirectory Pavel Janik's site Mac OS X port download page with Intel and PowerPC 64-bit Linux versions are not yet available. Caution: this is an alpha build and is not intended for everyday use. It may cause problems, so use it only for testing purposes.
UPDATED: Download the latest, stable release.
- OpenOffice.org 3.0 beta?
- Galaxy icon set in OpenOffice.org 3.0
- Desktop start icon in OpenOffice.org 3.0
- Interactive picture crop in Draw and Impress in OpenOffice.org 3.0
- PDF import and hybrid PDFs as a new extension for OpenOffice.org 3.0
- New features in OpenOffice.org 2.4
- New Features in OpenOffice.org 3.1, an Early Look