Sure, Microsoft Office may be the de facto standard for word processing, spreadsheets and all that sort of work-related thing, but does it have to be? After all, even the student edition sets you back $126.99 – isn’t that cash safer and happier in your pocket, or even spent on one of our regularly updated bargain Toys?

If you’re looking for an alternative, there’s a new free toy in town, where NeoOffice.org has introduced a new version of popular, OS X-friendly, open source office suite, NeoOffice.

This adds Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard support, and includes NeoOffice Mobile, which provides a way to securely share NeoOffice files with other users and other computers.

“In Mac OS X 10.6, Apple made many changes that caused all previous versions of NeoOffice to fail to install or fail to launch,” the team of developers in charge with the suite says. “This release is the first NeoOffice release that should install and launch on Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard.”

NeoOffice is a fully-featured set of office applications (including word processing, spreadsheet, presentation, and drawing programs) for Mac OS X.

Based on the OpenOffice.org office suite, NeoOffice incorporates dozens of native Mac features and can import, edit, and exchange files with other popular office programs such as Microsoft Office. Unlike previous releases (bar v.3) it doesn’t require use of the X11 windowing system.

Here are some key features of "NeoOffice":

· Uses the Native Mac OS X Spellchecker
Unlike OpenOffice.org, NeoOffice has an enhanced spellchecker that uses the Mac OS X spellchecking dictionary. With this enhanced spellchecker, users no longer need to download and install spellchecking dictionaries if Mac OS X already has a dictionary for their language.

· Uses the Native Mac OS X Address Book
NeoOffice has included the ability to use the Mac OS X address book as a data source. This feature, which was developed by OpenOffice.org, is expected to be in their OpenOffice.org 2.3 release.

· Handles Most Microsoft Office 2007 Word, Excel, and PowerPoint Files
NeoOffice includes the ODF Add-in for Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. The ODF Add-in is an open source project that makes it possible for NeoOffice to open, edit, and save most files in the Office 2007 Word, Excel, and PowerPoint formats. This feature is not available in current Mac versions of Microsoft Office and will not be available until Office 2008 for the Mac is released.

· Handles Macros in Excel Files
NeoOffice includes the Excel macro support developed by Novell’s ooo-build project. The ooo-build project is an open source project that continually develops feature enhancements to OpenOffice.org.

· Uses Mac OS X fonts
NeoOffice uses the same fonts that all of your other Mac OS X applications use.

· Handles international keyboards
Unlike OpenOffice.org, NeoOffice will use any keyboard layout that you use. Also, if you switch your keyboard layout while NeoOffice is running, NeoOffice will automatically switch as well.

· Native printing support
NeoOffice supports printing using Mac OS X’s native printing functionality. Like other Mac OS X applications, you can use NeoOffice to print, preview, or save a document to a PDF file.

· Native copy and paste support
NeoOffice supports copying and pasting using Mac OS X’s native clipboard so you can copy and paste text and images between NeoOffice and other Mac OS X applications.

· Native drag-and-drop support
NeoOffice supports native drag-and-drop so you can drag and drop text and images between NeoOffice and other Mac OS X applications.

There you have it – fewer bells, whistles and extra features you’ll never see or use, but a whole heap cheaper on your pocket, NeoOffice 3.0.1
 

About the Author