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Office shootout: OpenOffice.org Impress vs. Microsoft PowerPoint

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OOo

How does the current version of OpenOffice.org (OOo) compare with Microsoft Office in its ability to produce slide presentations? The last time I tried to answer that question, two years ago, both OOo Impress and Microsoft PowerPoint had features that the other lacked. To see how the two programs compare now, I installed Microsoft Office 2007 and OpenOffice.org 2.3, and went through the process of designing a slide show from start to finish. To my surprise, the results were more decisive than in my last comparison. They're not enough to award a knockout victory, but, even based on points, the winner is clear.

Starting the creation of a presentation in the Office 2007 version of PowerPoint is different in several ways from earlier versions. First, the Autosummarize feature in Microsoft Word is no longer part of the default interface, so you can no longer easily create a slide show from the outline headings in a text document. Microsoft TechNet explains that Autosummarize was removed because it was a "low use feature." Personally, I am glad that version 2.3 of OOo Writer retains the equivalent Abstract feature.

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