OpenOffice.org is an entire office suite for Linux that was built from the ground up to compete with Microsoft Office. Because of this, you'll find much of the functionality of Microsoft Office is replicated in OpenOffice.org, and the look and feel are also similar. The major difference is that OpenOffice.org is open source and therefore free of charge.
OpenOffice.org Writer (Applications > Office > OpenOffice.org Word Processor), shown in Figure 11-1, is the word processor component. As with Microsoft Word, it's fully WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get), so you can quickly format text and paragraphs. This means the program can be used for elementary desktop publishing, and pictures can be easily inserted (using the Insert menu).
Writer's toolbars provide quick access to the formatting tools, as well as to other common functions. The vast majority of menu options match those found in Word. Right-clicking the text itself also offers quick access to text-formatting tools.
A number of higher-level functions are provided, such as mail merge and spell-checking, (found on the Tools menu). You can perform spell-checking on the fly, with incorrect words underlined in red as you type.
As with all OpenOffice.org packages, Writer is fully compatible with Microsoft Office files, so you can save and open .doc files. Just click File > Save As, and click the arrow alongside File Type to choose a document format. The only exception is password-protected Word files, which cannot be opened. You can also export documents as PDF files (using File > Export As PDF), so they can be read on any computer that has Adobe Acrobat Reader installed.
■Note Although compatible with Microsoft Office 2003 (and below) file formats, OpenOffice.org isn't compatible with Office 2007's Open XML file format at the time of writing. However, this will almost certainly change, which is another reason to regularly update your Ubuntu system.
OpenOffice.org Writer is covered in more detail in Chapter 23.
Was this article helpful?