Prepared by Colin Charles, – An Introduction

This open source productivity suite has the technology of Sun Microsystems's StarOffice Productivity Suite. It has a word processor, a spreadsheet, a drawing tool and even a presentation suite. In short, its a competition to Microsoft's Office package, and would generally win hands down since it supports running on Linux, Windows and even MacOSX. – Writer

This portion of the package is the equivalent to the popular Microsoft Word from the Microsoft Office package. Functionality wise, most of the features are similar to Word's abilities, with just a few minor differences between the two applications.


  1. Open up Writer.sxw in the OOo folder.

  2. Change the background color of the whole table to a color of your choice. Do not save the file yet.

  3. Save the file as Writer-myedit.sxw. Now continue editing.

  4. Change the font color of the whole table to a color of your choice.

  5. Use Search and Replace the string “Microsoft ®” with “Microsoft®” (notice that there's no space between the two). Also make sure that the ® is super-script, and aligned similarly to the others.

  6. In the MSOffice folder, open up the Writer.doc. Compare the two files – are there any significant differences?

  7. Go over to the Alternatives folder and check out Writer.rtf. Now compare the three documents, and check to see if you notice any difference. – Calc

This portion of the package is the equivalent to the popular Microsoft Excel from the Microsoft Office package. Upon first glance, one would notice that the spreadsheet look and feel is all available; with saving to and from Excel files, with or without macros, this software is generally safe to run, free from Excel macro viruses. Having only one major difference in the sense that Excel supports 64,000 rows, while Ooo's Calc only does 32,000 – a change that will be implemented soon enough.


  1. Open up Calc.sxw from the OOo folder. We will be playing with a semi-actual sheet that we use to check on OSS-101 trainers!

  2. In cell C5, there is a sum of 24 in the total. To achieve this sum, the results from cell's B6 to G6 should be computed. For sanity checking, this should go till B18 to G18. Create the total sum of students in column H.

  3. Save the file as Calc-mystuff.sxc. Now continue editing.

  4. Now that you know the total number of students is correct, let's do a little bit with the median. In column I, create the median value of the response on a per response basis.

  5. If you notice in cell B26, there's a formula there. Cell B27 doesn't quite have it, neither does cell's B33-37 have it. Create an appropriate formula that basically sums up what it's meant to. Don't forget to make them percentages. (Hint: look at what C33-37 have, and so on!)

  6. Add a table border to the entire spreadsheet – so all rows and columns have bold lines in between them.

  7. Go to the MSOffice folder and open up the Calc.xls file. Do you notice its similarities?

  8. Save the Calc-mystuff.sxc file (the one you've just been doing) as an Excel document and later (most likely when you're home), see how it would open up in Excel – it should be just fine!

  9. Go to the Alternatives folder and notice the Calc.csv file? Thats a standard among all spreadsheet applications to use – comma separated values. – Draw

Draw is a simple line drawing application that generally has many of the same features Impress (your next topic) has. Some may say that Draw is the cousin to Microsoft's Visio, something that is not part of their Office offering.


  1. Open up Draw.sxd from the OOo folder.

  2. Things are divided into layers in Draw. Get to the layer view, copy the picture of the penguin, and paste it in the document again. You should now see two penguins.

  3. Save the file as Draw-mystuff.sxd and continue with this exercise.

  4. Add some text to the document. (Hint: The text insert button is on the left pane)

  5. Change the properties of the existing object – the big yellow bubble. – Impress

Impress is what we'd describe as the PowerPoint killer. It may be missing out on templates by default, but if the power of the Internet is harnessed, all will be well in the world of Impress. Its presentation software with all the bells and whistles that any other package can offer you.


  1. Open up Impress.sxi from the OOo folder.

  2. You'll notice a simple presentation that doesn't quite need much changes. Let's change the background color of all the slides.

  3. Save your file as Impress-mystuff.sxi.

  4. Change the color of the headings from Slide 2 onwards (its currently a tinge of red).

  5. Re-label the Slides from Slide 1 – 5, to an appropriate name (the title could be placed here, so its easier to find which slide has what content from the tab itself).

  6. On the last slide, with the Thank You notice, change the slide format, so the “Click to add outline” is not displayed anymore.

  7. Go to the MSOffice folder and notice the Impress.ppt – thats the PowerPoint equivalent to the file.