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StarOffice Essentials

StarOffice is a full-featured office suite that you can use to create text documents and Web pages, spreadsheets, slide presentations, and drawings and images. Its three main distinguishing characteristics are that it handles (opens and creates) Microsoft Office formats, as well as nearly 200 other formats; its price is microscopic compared to Microsoft Office; and it runs on Linux, Lindows, and Solaris as well as Microsoft Windows. And for anyone who's experienced Microsoft's licensing fees and regulations, StarOffice and OpenOffice.org are a breath of fresh air on that front too.

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Most of what's true about StarOffice is applicable to OpenOffice.org, too. For specifics about OpenOffice.org platforms, see OpenOffice.org Essentials on page 8.

Applications and Features

There are four main applications:

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  • Writer/Web for producing text documents and Web pages

  • Calc for spreadsheets

  • Impress for slide presentations

  • Draw for drawings (vector graphics) and image editing (raster graphics)

Built into some or all of the applications are the following great features and add-ons:

  • AutoPilots to guide you through creating new documents and importing data

  • Charts and equations

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  • Data source connection capabilities for easy mail merges and access to your existing databases

  • XML file formats for easy opening by other applications, plus extremely small file sizes

  • Easy, high-quality conversion to and from Microsoft Office and other files

  • HTML hotlinks from text or buttons

  • A huge gallery of clip art you can use in your documents, modify, and add to

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  • Animation in presentations, plus animated GIFs

  • Available in many languages, plus Asian language support

Licensing and Pricing

StarOffice is, in general, $75. You can use it yourself but you can't, of course, make copies for anyone else. Schools and educational institutions can receive StarOffice 6.0 office suite for the cost of media and shipping. For more details, go to Sun's StarOffice Education Web site. You can order StarOffice from http://www.sun.com/staroffice, Amazon, or buy it from retailers like Best Buy and CompUSA.

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