NeoOffice for Mac offers a suite of productivity apps that aim to rival the likes of Microsoft Office and Apple iWork. Using the OpenOffice foundation, this shareware product covers nearly all the bases. The software tries to differentiate itself from its predecessor by adopting OS X features like file versioning, fullscreen support, and trackpad gestures, but leaves one large gaping hole: there is no iWork document support.
Following an installation that requires administrative rights, you will notice that unlike most office suites, NeoOffice for Mac keeps all individual apps under one icon. When launched, you are presented with the suite's text editor, which sadly features a lackluster interface with a design from the early 2000s. There are two toolbars, the editing area, and numerous windows and palettes, which pop up with additional options throughout your workflow. During testing we encountered layering glitches, and some pallets didn't remember their positions, getting in the way as a result. The suite also features a drawing app, a database solution that requires Java, an HTML and XML editor, and a business card designer.
If you have an aversion to the established office suites and want to try something based on a popular open source project, NeoOffice for Mac presents a possible alternative. While the suite provides all the basic tools to complete your work and maintains established interface conventions, its lackluster graphics and lack of iWork document support make it a generally inferior product.
Editors' note: This is a review of the trial version of NeoOffice for Mac 3.4.1.
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