Software

NeoOffice for the Mac: The Right Tool for the Job?

TechRepublic's Erik Eckel searched for productivity applications that provide high compatibility not only with Microsoft Office applications but for use on Macintosh platforms. Erik found NeoOffice version 2.2.1, available both for PowerPC- and Intel-powered Apple computer users. Here's a summary of what he discovered when he put NeoOffice to the test.
The Job TechRepublic's Erik Eckel searched for productivity applications that provide high compatibility not only with Microsoft Office applications but for use on Macintosh platforms. The Tool

Erik found NeoOffice version 2.2.1, available both for PowerPC- and Intel-powered Apple computer users. Here's a summary of what he discovered when he put NeoOffice to the test.

NeoOffice for the Mac

NeoOffice's strengths

NeoOffice delivers excellent office tools, especially for the price (free as part of an open source project):

  • A powerful word processing tool in Writer
  • A highlight compatible spreadsheet tool in Calc
  • A powerful presentation program in Impress
  • A strong diagramming tool in Draw
  • A potent database program in Base
NeoOffice, of course, isn't perfect:
  • Support isn't available at the same level as for Microsoft's Office platform
  • The NeoOffice applications don't provide perfect compatibility with Microsoft Office
  • The NeoOffice applications aren't compatible with the new Microsoft Office 2007 file formats
The Right Tool For The Job?

Mac users seeking a free, highly compatible suite of office productivity applications will find NeoOffice the right tool for the job. With potent word processing, spreadsheet, presentation, database and drawing tools, NeoOffice provides Mac users with a competitive alternative that's highly effective in meeting most office's productivity application requirements.

Read Erik's comprehensive screenshot review of NeoOffice for the Mac.

7 comments
tekichan
tekichan

Apple software is not as expensive as Microsoft's. iWork is the excellent tool of Office Replacement on Mac platform. By the way, Neo Office is a clone of Open Office for Mac, isn't it? How about Open Office on Mac/Intel? How about Star Office?

dwstclair
dwstclair

Micro$oft does seem to provide pretty good backward compatability but forward can be a little dicy. In the past I've had occasions where Micro$oft Office Mac 2003 and 2004 could not open Micro$oft document sent from Word or Mac. However, NeoOffice did. On those occasions I also tried OpenOffice on the same documents and just like NeoOffice it opened the troublesome docs. These folks did a pretty thorough comparison of open source "office" products. NeoOffice isn't included but the information is still worth reading.

rickb
rickb

That's an understatement. NeoOffice is great if you can (a) ensure all users at an office are using it, or (b) you don't have to worry about collaborating with anyone else. But it really fails badly when you try to share documents back and forth with any leel of formatting or graphics. For basic work it could be used collaboratively with MS Office users, but on anything more than basic formatting the compatibility is a big limitation IMHO.

shahramgz
shahramgz

I am slightly confused or should I say ignorant as to what exactly is the difference between NeoOffice and OpenOffice, they definitely don't seem to be the same productivity suite? So which came first the egg or the chicken? At our school last year we switched from MS Office to OpenOffice and still have quite few people crying out loud how terrible they feel about OpenOffice.

si
si

Maybe I'm in a minority but... Isn't the point of collaboration to improve the actual information in the document? While formatting can enhance the presentation of information, it is only the final stage (fluff) once the vast majority of collaboration has taken place. Also, isn't it more sensible for one or two writers (using the same platform) to deal with the 'tarting up' at the end. Everyone else can then comment on the resulting PDF, which is what you will have to use to distribute the document if you want consistant rendering on any potential platform. The real test is how "track changes" works between suites as this is really the heart of cross-app collaboration.

jk2001
jk2001

It's good software if your primary task (or company's primary business) is not to produce documents for others. Cross-app compatibility is so-so at best, but this is the case with any office suite in my experience. (OO is better than most.) Functionality, however, is fine, and I find it a little easier to use than MS Office. So if you're in a niche that doesn't require heavy document interchange, OOo is better than MSO.

usuls
usuls

Neo Office is a aqua interface enabled (i.e. looks more like MAC OS apps) version of OpenOffice. Open office suite is a Unix based suite which relies on X windows to run on the Mac. NeoOffice has a Mac specific front end glued to open office, rather than X windows. I use Neo, and love it, but the downside is that OpenOffice will always be a bit ahead of neo office, in terms of the latest tweaks. There's also the danger that neo will diverge so much from the open core that it will become a distinct product (which it already has, really.)

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