PC-BSD Day 13: The KOffice workspace
Where Kontact is a shell around various communications applications for the KDE desktop, KOffice is a shell around the productivity applications. During install PC-BSD gives you the opportunity to install OpenOffice.org and that you need to do. The good thing about OpenOffice.org is that it is available for multiple platforms (Windows, Mac OSX, Linux and BSD) and there is a portable version for Windows that runs from a USB stick. However, don’ t forget to install KOffice as well. KOffice gives access to more applications than OpenOffice.org.
Going through a day with KOffice
What applications are covered by KOffice? You have you word processor (KWord), the necessary spreadsheetprogram (KSpread) , the powerpoint clone (KPresenter), the flowcharter (Kivio), programs to create charts (KCharter) and vector drawings (Karbon14). With KFormula you design your mathematical formulas and with Krita you can work on your pictures. There is a ton of work you can do from the KOffice workspace including managing all that work (KPlato).
The graphical interface is divided in four sections. From left to right you can find the taskbar to add various types of frames, the taskbar with quick access to the other KOffice modules, the navigator window and the main screen. Each new document -no matter the type- gets its own tab along the bottom of the main screen. This saves a lot of alt-tabs when you work on multiple documents at the same time. When you work -for instance- on a presentation or edit some picture the desktop real estate comes at a premium and a lot of space is used for other functions.
The standard spreadsheet is a lot smaller than in Excel, so I wouldn’t count on an easy import of large and complex Excel sheets. You can’ t even save you spreadsheets in Excel format (though you can save your text documents in .DOC format). Similarly, you can not save your presentations in .PPT format. This would make it difficult to use KOffice in an environment where most of your friends and workmates are shackled to Microsoft Office and closed source formats. The tide is changing and it could well be that within a few year open standards have become the norm. For that KOffice is well prepared. It supports the OASIS Open Document standard and uses that as the default.
Suitable for whom?
There is plenty to say about the various applications, but the overall impression is that they provide those functions that most casual users will use in their day to day tasks. A program like Krita shows that this could still imply a lot of functions and a lot of strength. Koffice is somewhere between Microsoft Works and Microsoft Office. There is a solid market for Works and that market is perfectly suited for KOffice as well. Personally, I am more of a power user and regularly run into the limitations of OpenOffice.org. But I also know that this is not true for most of the people around me that work with Microsoft Office every day. For them, KOffice is more than sufficient. Together with Kontact it could suit all their needs and most of their wants.