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Note: if you would like to download Star Office 8 free without reading the review skip to the bottom of the page. The link will send you directly to Google for the free download.
Many of you may already be familiar with Sun's Open Office product since they have been offering it as a free open source application. Star Office is Sun's premium Office suite. Google is currently offering Star Office, a $70 value, free of charge. You don't even have to download the entire software pack. Pick and choose only those pieces that interst you. Even if your currently using Open Office I highly recommend upgrading to Star Office while its free for the enhanced features and additional templates.
Much like Microsoft Office, Star Office is comprised of a few different applications. Use Writer for word processing, Calc for spreadsheets, Impress for presentations, Draw for illustrative work, and Base for database activities.
We will start with Writer and detail out each part of the software:
Writer - word processing
Create, convert, and collaborate on documents with Star Office Writer. Unlike Open Office, Star Office comes with a number of additional form templates including sample memos, faxes, letters, and resumes. Easily create documents that include columns, text frames, table of contents, index, tables, nested tables, java applications, and embedded hyperlinks. The mail merge wizard is included for hard copy and email letters. Setup custom macros to automate tasks. A really cool feature is the "Format Paintbrush" which transfers formatting from one set of text or objects to another saving time and headaches. Write is also compatible with Microsoft Office and WordPerfect and allows you to publish Adobe .pdf documents. For those more technical minded folks out there Writer offers extensive XML and XHTML support. Collaborate with others via the records change management function, and compare and merge changes that others have made to a shared document.
Calc - spreadsheets
Star Office Calc offers everything you’ve come to expect from a spreadsheet program. Beyond the basic features we've all come to expect the software also contains a number of additional features. Use the function wizard to create advanced formulas or rely on one of the over 275 pre-defined functions that you get out of the box. The "What if" scenarios give you the ability to do real time what if calculations. Also create pivot tables, charts, and macros. Star Office is compatible with Microsoft Excel, and Lotus 1-2-3. Create Adobe .pdf files to share information without revealing the formulas and logic in your spreadsheets.
Impress - presentations
Star Office Impress includes slide design templates ranging from marketing plans and business reports to collaboration sessions and sales training. Save your own templates and share them with friends. You also have several pre-designed layouts. Drag in spreadsheets and charts from the other Star Office applications. The clip art gallery is helpful when those family pictures just aren’t right for the presentation. You can even add animation and multimedia files to the mix. In fact Impress has its own built in media player. Publish your presentation in a variety of formats including on-screen slides, handouts, HTML, PDF, or Flash. Impress is compatible with Microsoft Office, Flash .swf, and Adobe .pdf.
Draw - illustration
Layout tools including grids, guides, rulers, snap-to, position, and sizing tools let you concentrate on the graphics rather than technology. Star Office Draw gives you advanced vector graphics capabilities. Customize colors, textures and shading until they meet your liking. Use the Fontwork feature to create cool 2-D and 3-D fonts. Delve into the gallery for pictures, animations and sounds. Draw supports all the common graphics file formats including BMP, GIF, JPEG, TIFF, PNG, SVG, WMF, WPS, and more. Publish PDF and Adobe Flash SWF files directly from Draw.
Base - database
Star Office Base supports 11 database formats including Microsoft Access, Sql, MySql, Oracle, dBase and Excel. The "new database table wizard" walks you through creating sophisticated tables quickly without a lot of technical knowledge. They include over 30 predefined table schemas to help in design. Create simple queries without any Sql knowledge. Use the forms wizard to allow users to submit information to your database. The reports wizard and included reports templates will help you summarize and share information with others. Supports enhanced LDAP authentication via SSL to keep your data secure.
Visit the Google Pack site to download Star Office free.