OpenOffice 4.0 adds Sidebar, enhanced drawing tools

OpenOffice 4.0 adds Sidebar, enhanced drawing tools

The Apache Software Foundation has announced the
release of Apache OpenOffice 4.0, a major update with plenty of
interesting new features and enhancements.

The most obvious interface addition is the sidebar, a Lotus
Symphony-sourced panel which provides quick access to options most
relevant to the current editing task (setting fonts, text style and
alignment in a text box, tweaking brightness, colours and contrast for
an image, and more).

A host of “Interoperability Improvements” further improves the suite’s compatibility with Microsoft Office documents.

The Draw Gallery gains a lengthy list of new themes (Arrows, Computers,
Diagrams, Environment, Finance, People, School & University,
Symbols, Textshapes, Transport). It can also use SVG files for the best
quality vector results. And if the new graphics aren’t enough, then you
can even add your own.

Enhanced conversion to bitmap graphics now properly applies
transparencies and antialiasing. This comes in particularly useful
whenever you’re exporting objects, so for example copying a chart to the
clipboard should now deliver the original, high quality, fully
antialiased image.

This improved graphics handling is the power behind a new Bitmap
FillType, which allows you to fill the backgrounds of pages, chart bars
and more with vector graphics.

Elsewhere, full antialiasing means the Print Preview dialog gives you a more accurate view of your printed page.

And you also get redesigned selection handles and styles, new drag and
drop options to set graphic or fill styles, SVG import/ export
improvements, PNG transparency support, some new Calc functions
(including XOR), various rendering performance increases and a wide
range of bug fixes.

This may not be enough to win over many new converts, then, but if
you’re already a fan then the new release looks like an essential

OpenOffice 4.0 is available now as a free, open-source download for Windows, Mac and Linux.

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