General: Overview | Links | Platforms | File Formats | Languages
Features: Autocorrection | Bibliographical database | Footnotes | Endnotes | Spell-Check | Tables | Thesaurus


The OpenOffice Writer word processor is part of a suite which also includes applications for working with spreadsheets, graphics and presentations. OpenOffice is the free and open source version of Sun Microsystems' StarOffice. The current release of OpenOffice, 1.0, corresponds to StarOffice 6.0.

The OpenOffice word processor is full-featured and stable, with a well-designed and intuitive interface. Vertical and horizontal toolbars can be hidden and/or customized.

Those used to working with WordPerfect or Microsoft Word should find the transition quick and painless. However, while it easily deals with several document formats, including Microsoft Word (doc), OpenOffice cannot open or save files in WordPerfect (wpd) format.

Of course, the downside of features and functionality is that OpenOffice can sometimes seem a little slow and clunky. For a lightweight alternative, try AbiWord.



  • Linux
  • Mac OS X (developer build)
  • Microsoft Windows (all versions)
  • Solaris

File Formats (open and save)

  • Microsoft Word 6.0/95/97/2000/XP (doc)
  • OpenOffice.org / StarWriter Text (sdw, sxw)
  • Plain Text (txt)
  • Rich Text Format (rtf)
  • Web Page (html)


  • Arabic (ar)
  • Hungarian (hu)
  • Catalan (ca)
  • Italian (it)
  • Chinese (zh-cn)
  • Japanese (ja)
  • Chinese (zh-tw)
  • Korean (ko)
  • Danish (da)
  • Polish (pl)
  • Dutch (nl)
  • Portuguese (pt)
  • English (en)
  • Russian (ru)
  • Estonian (et)
  • Slovenian (sl)
  • Finnish (fi)
  • Spanish (es)
  • French (fr)
  • Swedish (sv)
  • German (de)
  • Thai (th)
  • Greek (el)
  • Turkish (tr)



OpenOffice can be set to automatically take care of inserting "smart quotes", creating hyperlinks and adding initial capitals, among other tasks. It also offers to complete words for you, based on a database it compiles as you type. More importantly, these features can all be easily turned off.

Bibliographical database

Can automatically generate parenthetical citations (not full footnotes or endnotes) and bibliographies. Each entry can use up to 31 fields (author, title, etc.), including five user-defined fields. The information is stored in a simple dbase table, meaning it can be easily manipulated in a spreadsheet application and exported in a comma separated values file.


Easy to insert, automatically placed at the bottom of the page. Option to use symbols instead of numbers.


You can choose either to have footnotes placed at the end of a document or to create endnotes which are numbered separately from footnotes.


Dictionaries are currently available for the following languages: Catalan, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English (Canada, United Kingdom, United States), French, German (Germany, Switzerland), Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Latin (for use under another language), Polish, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish

Follow the link given above for information on how to install spell-check dictionaries.


Simple and complex tables can be easily created and edited.


Currently, the only thesaurus available is for American English.