Using KOffice

The KDE Office (KOffice, shown in Figure 7.2) package is a popular open-source office package that's associated with KDE, although it's not wed to KDE—you can use KOffice even if you run GNOME, XFce, or a "bare" window manager as your desktop environment. KOffice runs on Linux and most other Unix-like platforms. You can learn more about the package at http://www.koffice.org. This section describes KOffice 1.2.1.

Chapter 2

Improving Disk Performance r

Figure 7.2: KOffice provides many of the same features as Open-Office.org, but it isn't quite as sophisticated.

Chapter 2

Improving Disk Performance r

Figure 7.2: KOffice provides many of the same features as Open-Office.org, but it isn't quite as sophisticated.

Major KOffice components include:

KWord This program is the KOffice word processor. It's a frame-based program, which means that text and other features are entered in elements called frames that you can move around on the page. KWord's Microsoft Word import/export filters are competent for simple documents, but they tend to fall down with more complex files.

KSpread This spreadsheet is not as complex as OpenOffice.org's Calc, but it's good enough for many less-demanding uses.

KPresenter As the name implies, this program is a presentation program. Several examples of presentations created with KPresenter are available at http://www.kde.org/kdeslides/.

Kivio This program is similar in concept to the Windows program Visio; it creates flowcharts.

Kugar This program helps generate business reports. This function is rare in Linux office suites.

Karbon14 Roughly equivalent to OpenOffice.org's Draw, Karbon14 creates vector graphics. As of KOffice 1.2.1, Karbon14 is rudimentary compared to many other vector graphics programs. This program used to be called Kontour, so you may see references to it by that name.

Krita This program is a bitmap graphics tool. The KOffice web page likens it to the GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP; described more fully in Chapter 8, "Miscellaneous User Tools"), but Krita is not nearly as mature as the GIMP.

KChart KOffice's graphics tools are rounded out by KChart, which generates charts, graphs, and so on from data files.

The KOffice suite includes more major components than OpenOffice.org but fewer than GNOME Office (as described next). To some extent this fact is an arbitrary matter; programs don't need to be part of the same suite to work together, and even programs that are part of the same suite can sometimes be installed separately and used without their suite-mates. The KOffice tools were developed as an integrated group; as such, they tend to work well with each other and present very similar user interfaces. These tools are packaged together, so installing one without the others isn't practical, but of course you can use one component without the others.

KWord is gaining respectability as a major Linux word processor. Although not as sophisticated as OpenOffice.org's Writer, the program is quite capable for many tasks, and it's slimmer and faster than Writer. These characteristics make it a good choice for use on systems that are a year or more behind the times, in terms of memory and CPU speed. Its frame-based nature also makes it a good choice for light desktop publishing. As a general rule, other KOffice components aren't as sophisticated, but many are useable, and they're improving all the time. KOffice 2.x, 3.x, or some other future version, could possibly compete strongly with OpenOffice.org in terms of its feature list.

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