OpenOffice.org Updated With New Look

The first major release of the 3.0 series of open source office suite OpenOffice.org, version 3.1, is now available with big improvements in usability and the user interface.

OpenOffice.org now has anti-aliasing making graphics look "smoother" on screen and dragging objects now displays a "shadow" of the object, rather of a dotted outline.

General text formatting improvements include "overlining" in addition to regular underlining, subtle highlighting of background text and better grammar checker integration.

The OpenOffice.org spreadsheet, Calc, can now rename sheets with a double-click, the zoom slider control arrives, improved sorting of cells, more functions for statistical analysis, and formula hot hints which keeps the syntax of a formula displayed next to the cell as you type.

Calc has had performance "bottlenecks" removed, resulting in "dramatic" performance improvements, according to the project.

The charting application, Chart can now position axes with better flexibility and missing data points can be managed.

For database developers, Base adds SQL syntax highlighting and macro support for creating database applications.

"This is an important enhancement for people wishing to create complete 'packaged applications' in Base," according to OpenOffice.org.

For people collaborating on documents version 3.1 has improved file locking to prevent people accidentally overwriting other people's changes, and it is now possible for many document editors to have a structured conversation through comments by right-clicking on a Comment and selecting "Reply".

The Search facility now also searches the text of comments.

OpenOffice.org version 3.1 is cross-platform and can be downloaded from the Web site.

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