PermaLink Book Review - Point And Click OpenOffice.org! by Robin "Roblimo" Miller11/18/2005 10:09 PM
Written By : Tom DuffCategory : Book Reviews

I recently received a draft manuscript copy of the book Point & Click OpenOffice.org by Robin "Roblimo" Miller.  This is a nice book geared towards helping the non-techie in your life realize that they don't have to dump a ton of money on Microsoft Office...

Contents:  First Things First; OOo Writer: Text Documents with Pizazz; OOo Impress: Slide Shows That Will Impress Almost Anyone; OOo Draw: Documents with Imagination; OOo Calc: Spreadsheets and More; Slick OpenOffice.org Writer Tricks; Draw: Not Your Father's Drawing Board; OOo Impress: Smooth, Sophisticated Slide Shows; Make Calc Spreadsheets Dance for You; OOo Database "Front End": Your Free Pass; Sharing Files Between OpenOffice.org and Microsoft Office; OpenOffice.org as a Community Effort; About Firefox and Thunderbird; Light up the World Wide Web with Firefox; Thunderbird Saves the Email Day; About the CDs; OpenOffice.org Resources; Index

The main thing to keep in mind with this book is that it's not meant to be a comprehensive tutorial guide to all the products in the OpenOffice suite.  At 200 pages, you're not going to go very deeply into any one area.  But that's OK.  What this book does is show average users of Office how OpenOffice.org can give them nearly (and in many cases, all) the same capabilities as Office without the huge cost.  In fact, they make a point of the ability to open Microsoft files and save into Microsoft formats, enabling you to interact with your friends who are plugging away with the "other" software.  They also touch on the support for the OpenDocument format which is starting to become a requirement in some organizations.  Since Microsoft doesn't (yet?) support OpenDoc, OpenOffice.org is an easy way to transition over.  The thing that all readers will come away with is the knowledge that if you've worked with Microsoft Office, the learning curve for OpenOffice.org is nearly nonexistent.  If you know one, you can easily adapt to the other...

I'm not sure I would have included the Firefox and Thunderbird material in the book, as it's not directly related to OpenOffice.org.  I understand why they did it, as OpenOffice.org, Thunderbird, and Firefox make up the main alternatives to Microsoft (Office, Outlook, and Internet Explorer) in the typical Windows desktop environment.  Still, it's a bit off-topic.  No harm, just off-topic...

So...  If you have a student who wants something more than Notepad for school reports and who doesn't want to trade running Office for eating Top Ramen for months at college, turn them on to this book.  Same goes for Uncle Joe who wants "that software I use at work" but who doesn't want to pony up hundreds for a legal copy.  The alternatives will be clear, and your student will be able to afford a pizza once in awhile...
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