Documentation/OOoAuthors User Manual/Getting Started/New features in version 2

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OpenOffice.org 2.x delivers hundreds of improvements and new features. Here are some of the major enhancements.

  • Simplified installation. Installations are now performed by platform-native installers with no need to use command-line switches (or flags) for multi-user installations. You can also specify which version of Java (if any) is to be used by OOo from the installation interface.
  • New database component. In the new stand-alone database component, you can create forms, reports, queries, tables, views, and relations. OOo now includes HSQLDB, a small, fast, relational database engine that supports a subset of ANSI-92 SQL, along with an easy-to-use interface. Additionally, it is now easier than ever to use other databases (dBASE, MySQL, Oracle, among others).
  • New file format. OOo 2.x uses the new OpenDocument XML file format (standardized by OASIS) as its default file format. This new file format is also used in StarOffice, IBM Workspace, and KOffice, and will be used by other products in the future. OOo 2.x can still read and save files in formats previously supported by OOo 1.x, including Microsoft Office formats.
  • Native system theme integration. To further integrate OpenOffice.org with the underlying operating system, all user interface elements (such as buttons and scrollbars) have the same look as those used in other native applications for each platform.
  • Digital signatures. Digital signatures provide authentication of the true author or editor of a document. This feature also provides security with running macros.
  • Enhanced encryption. Implementation of the new XML (eXtensible Markup Language) encryption algorithm offers additional document security.
  • Usability improvements. Redesigned toolbars are more usable and display only selected default tools and related options. The usability of the Menus tab of the Tools > Customize dialog has been improved. Several features have been renamed to conform with common office suite terminology (for example, the "AutoPilot" is now a "Wizard").
  • Thumbnails. The new plug-in for the the native file explorer provides a thumbnail preview of an OOo file. Some of the more common file system explorers that can use this new feature are Nautilus (Gnome), Konqueror (KDE), and Microsoft Windows Explorer.
  • Import and export filters
    • Improved PDF export filter now includes PDF bookmarks, PDF notes, security, and more.
    • Import and export of Microsoft Office 95 and Office 97 spin buttons and scrollbars have been added to the Word filters.
    • The import filter for Microsoft PowerPoint documents now creates text objects having font-independent line spacing enabled.
    • Enhanced export to HTML produces valid XHTML 1.0 Strict documents. XHTML export has been enabled for Calc, Draw, and Impress.
    • You can now open Microsoft Office password-protected documents.
    • New import filters for WordPerfect and Lotus 123.
  • Send document as e-mail. OOo 2.x makes it easier to use your email client to send the active document as an attachment.
  • Enhanced mail merge feature. Enhancements include better management of databases and saving into one single file.
  • Drag and drop selections to create styles. Drag and drop a text selection into the Styles and Formatting window to create a new paragraph style or character style.
  • Form controls. Form controls can be embedded in all OOo documents that support a form layer.
  • New keyboard shortcuts. You can now use the keyboard to perform the actions found under Edit > Paste Special. Multiple selected sheets in a spreadsheet can be deselected using the keyboard. Paragraph and other styles can be assigned to key combinations.
  • Auto recovery of files and the workspace environment. The OOo Error Reporting tool and the document recovery features have been combined. Now if OOo crashes, the active documents are saved. You can recover the documents and send an error report.
  • Enhanced features in Calc. These enhancements include improved number recognition, an improved Hyperlink function, conditional arrays, a greater selection of predefined headers and footers, more options for defining how to print sheets, new options for the DataPilot feature, and support for right-to-left languages.
  • Calc row limit increased. The number of spreadsheet rows has been increased to 65536, the same number of rows as Microsoft Excel.
  • Enhanced multimedia. The multimedia presentation model uses the W3C's Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language (SMIL) standard. Now Impress can render nearly all of the Microsoft PowerPoint animation effects. Two new task panels provide access to shape and slide transition effects.
  • Programmatic control of menu and toolbar items. Third-party developers can write plug-ins to manipulate menu bar and toolbar layouts to their needs. Developers can now insert, remove, and modify menu items, context menus, and toolbar items at runtime.
  • Scripting framework. The scripting framework allows you to write macros in a number of languages other than OOo Basic. You can assign these macros to menu items, keyboard combinations, application and document events, form controls within documents, and various objects within documents.

For a complete, detailed listing, go to the OpenOffice.org 2.0 Office Suite Guide to New Features.

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