Down With MS Office, Use NeoOffice Instead!

by Matthew Russell

While others are in the midst of blogging about exciting things like Apple TV, iTunes DRM, and other high visibility trends in computing, I'm here blogging about....NeoOffice again ?!? Yes, it's true. This is a product that I follow closely, am very excited about, and is making steady, predictable progress. In fact, I'm blogging about it at this very moment because version 2.1 just hit the streets recently.

While this release just introduced support for MS Office 2007 OpenXML documents, integrated 2.1 updates, added support for MS Excel macros, and incorporated a slew of other minor features, I think you'll be quite pleased with the progress that's being made. Why not take a few moments to go download it and show your support?


Larry Kollar
2007-04-04 20:04:29
Agreed. I do technical writing for a living, and NeoOffice came to the rescue recently when MS Word just didn't want to play nice. Just today, NeoOffice (2.1) opened a Word document for me -- one that "real" Word truncated about halfway in, before it crashed completely. NeoOffice garbled the headers & footers, but I was able to print it so I can hit it with the editor tomorrow.

If you're willing to do a little clean-up, NeoOffice just works better than Word. There are even better ways to work with longer documents on a Mac, but if you need a GUI then NeoOffice can get the job done.

Stephen Antonucci
2007-04-04 20:13:17
I could not agree more. NeoOffice is awesome, and free! Why pay again for Microsoft Office. Especially since Office 2008 for the Mac will lack macros! Get NeoOffice now, y6u will love it.
2007-04-04 20:17:17
I work at a small add agency, about 80 or so macs, I have replaced all but 2 copies of office on all our workstations and laptops, people were reluctant to use it but now most like it better than office. My boss LOVES it.. he hates to pay the M$ tax.
2007-04-04 22:53:00
OpenOffice (which, I know is what NeoOffice is based on) just seems so much snappier. You just have to get over having the X11 app open.
Joshua LaForge
2007-04-05 01:00:22

The only reason I do not use OpenOffice or NeoOffice more is because the programs seem exceptionally slow. Spreadsheets are especially painful in these programs when compared to Excel. Overtime I am hoping that these two applications mature to the point where I do feel the need to launch office, but they are not there yet.

2007-04-05 02:17:21
While previous versions of NeoOffice were based on versions of OpenOffice that made "snappy" a joke, the current version 2.1 is an entirely different kettle of fish. Subjectively, it seems to me to be about twice as fast as the previous versions, especially when it comes to opening spreadsheets.

Plus, if anyone has bothered to produce any macros for OpenOffice spreadsheets (not the Excel macros, but the OpenOffice macros), the connection to the dialog that allows one to specify trusted sources finally works, so you no longer have to click through a warning dialog box upon opening.

2007-04-05 06:40:25
Down with NeoOffice. The have forked OpenOffice, not contributing back to them. They charge for early versions and is SLOW. I'm much more excited about the official OpenOffice port for os x, which is going into alpha in a couple of months and beta by the end of the year ( )
2007-04-05 06:47:45
I agree - why shell out the cash for MS Office when NeoOffice does most everything a regular user needs. Maybe if you're a "power office" user, but for most of the rest of us, especially home users, Neo is a great alternative.
2007-04-05 08:41:32
I found NeoOffice a great way to ge a full office suite. I never used MSOffice at home. I always used StarOffice (even before getting a Mac in 2001).

I'm desperately waiting for a native OpenOffice port. For now I used both Neo/OpenOffice.

Both of them LACKS a major feature: antialias on graphic elements. Even if latest OOo (2.2) provides antialias for text, there is still no solution for graphic elements.

When I want to build presentation or schemas this is a major drawback.

Bruce Stewart
2007-04-05 09:20:36
I'm using it for the first time now, and am very impressed. Thanks for the pointer Matthew! In my initial (very limited) testing, Neo Office doesn't seem any slower than MS Office to me, and seems to have all the functionality I need in an office suite.
2007-04-05 09:25:05
@ Håvard: Very cool pointer. I didn't realize this was actually coming to fruition so soon. I will definitely keep my eye on it, and try to do some objective comparisons as becomes available for Mac and matures. If it's "better", then I'm all for it.
2007-04-05 10:03:14
I did try Matt. NeoOffice is so slow and bad, I can't imagine anyone wanting to use this crap. Probably produced by a bunch of communist amateurs trying to kill MS.
Randy Smith
2007-04-05 12:15:36
I agree. I have always had Microsoft Office installed on my computers but I never use it. I just keep it around in case I get files I need to convert. When I got my new MacBook I decided to remove this albatros from around my neck. I had been a fan of the offering but I decided to go with NeoOffice. Needless to say it is nice to not have Microsoft junking up my drive.
2007-04-05 12:38:24
@Mike: lol! For a (hopefully) interesting view into what has gone into producing NeoOffice, checkout this interview with the lead developer from a while back:

BTW, This article is a bit dated, and a lot has happened since it first aired, so we might do an update/expansion and run it again sometime soon.

2007-04-05 15:58:04
I spend a lot of time in databases, and the Base program looks promising for a GUI - but is slow. I also am searching for a way (free) to open MS Access file on a mac. The project mdbtools looked promising, for use as an ODBC driver for Base, but does not build correctly. Anyone have other solutions?
2007-04-05 18:48:03
I've used MS Office, NeoOffice and Open Office. Currently I use OpenOffice regularly, and honestly, I prefer it over the MS program. The 2.1 version is much faster than the previous versions. I've never bought the MS office - I've always used it on other people's computers. And I never will buy it.
2007-04-06 12:29:32
Unfortunately, NeoOffice just isn't up to the task when working with complex spreadsheets. I have a spreadsheet which is 1.6 Mb that uses about a dozen graphs and lots of calculation cells. Excel launch and open the document in exactly 20 seconds. NeoOffice takes a whopping 4 minutes and 54 seconds to launch and open the same file. Waiting nearly five minutes to open the document just isn't acceptable performance for me. I want to ditch MS Office, but not if I need to sacrifice that much performance.
Simon Hibbs
2007-04-10 04:42:29
Tim: Unfortunately, NeoOffice just isn't up to the task when working with complex spreadsheets.

I can sympathise with this. I use NeoOffice at home, but I wouldn't be without MS Office at work. MS is just much further along the development path in both features and performance and I benefit from having a cutting edge toolset in my professional environment. However at home for the kinds of things my wife and I need to do, NeoOffice is more than enough and although I tried MS Office for Mac it just seemed clunky and awkward, I can't realy say why.

I did have a few hangs in NeoOffice when using Writer, which seemed to be caused by just navigating around the document and cut-n-pasting, but this was when I first adopted it last year and there haven't been any recurrences in the past few months as I do keep up to date. I never lost any data, I just had to force-quit and open the document again and it recovered to the moment before the hang.

I used the spreadsheet tool only once, to fill out an expenses form from my last employer, and it worked fine.