NeoOffice 2.2.4 Feature Comparison

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Last updated: 27 July 2008

N.B. This page compares NeoOffice 2.2.4 (a legacy version of NeoOffice) to 2.4.1 and Microsoft Office 2008. For a comparison between the current versions of NeoOffice,, and Microsoft Office, see NeoOffice Feature Comparison.

The advantages of NeoOffice over other office suites, particularly Microsoft's, are legion. Most importantly, NeoOffice is free and open source software, relieving you of costly licensing fees. There is also a strong community support forum that is frequented by the developers at

At the same time, other office suites also contain features missing in NeoOffice which may be indispensable to your work, and your purchase of commercial software generally assures the software has passed professional quality assurance and typically entitles you to professional technical support.

This page attempts to provide a balanced, but by no means complete, comparison of NeoOffice with two comprable office suites, Microsoft Office and, to help you make a more informed decision when evaluating office software. Some other software developers have similar comparison pages; those we are aware of are linked below.

[edit] NeoOffice vs. Microsoft Office

Apart from these benefits, NeoOffice 2.2.4 has features that outshine Microsoft Office:

FeatureNeoOfficeMS Office 2008 for Mac
Price (standard edition)$0.00$399.95
Runs on Intel-based MacsNativelyNatively
Universal Binary (single application that works on both PPC and Intel Macs)Image:redX.pngImage:check.png
Document contents searchable by SpotlightImage:check.pngImage:check.png
Type ahead word-completion (optional), similar to features found in mobile phonesImage:check.pngImage:redX.png
Support for magnify and swipe gestures on multi-touch trackpadsImage:check.pngImage:redX.png
A logical, safe and suite-wide system for templates, so these are never accidentally updatedImage:check.pngImage:redX.png
Clean HTML code export (compliant with international web standards)Image:check.pngImage:redX.png
Support for international standard ISO 26300 OpenDocument file formatsImage:check.pngImage:redX.png
Support for Microsoft Office 2007 (OpenXML) file formatsImage:check.png*Image:check.png
Support for voice-dictation and similar softwareImage:check.pngImage:check.png(?)
Unified User Interface, reducing learning time and costsImage:check.pngImage:redX.png
Media browser, providing easy access to iLife images, sounds, and videoImage:check.pngImage:redX.png(?)
Localized user interface and help files (number of languages)58†11†
International spelling checkers88‡12‡
Support for text entry in non-Roman scripts including South Asian, East Asian, right-to-left and complex text layout scriptsImage:check.pngSome [1]
Supported scripts or languages:
Chinese (Simplified)Image:check.pngImage:check.png
Chinese (Traditional)Image:check.pngImage:check.png
Devanagari & Gujarati (Indic languages)Image:check.pngImage:redX.png
Roman (Western and Eastern European languages)Image:check.pngImage:check.png
Roman (Hawaiian, Northern Sami)Image:check.pngImage:check.png
Roman (Vietnamese)Image:check.pngImage:redX.png
Writer (word processor):
A logical style system that does not invent styles based on your layout choicesImage:check.pngImage:redX.png
Functional bullet/list numberingImage:check.pngImage:redX.png
The ability to import WordPerfect documents (thanks to the libwpd project)Image:check.pngImage:redX.png
The ability to import Microsoft Works word processing documents (thanks to the libwps and ooo-build projects)Image:check.png††Image:redX.png
Calc (spreadsheet):
More conditional layout options for cellsImage:check.pngImage:redX.png
Style-enabled layout system for text and cellsImage:check.pngImage:redX.png
Support for linear programming extensions for spreadsheets (thanks to the ooo-build project)Image:check.pngImage:redX.png‡‡
Support for Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) macros (thanks to the ooo-build project)Image:check.png††Image:redX.png
Impress (presentation):
The ability to export to Flash animationImage:check.pngImage:redX.png
Superior (3D) font art possibilities.Image:check.pngImage:redX.png
Support for playing QuickTime-supported audio and videoImage:check.png***Image:check.png
* NeoOffice 2.2.4 includes support for Word 2007 (.docx), Excel 2007 (.xlsx), and PowerPoint 2007 (.pptx) files using code from the odf-converter project.
† NeoOffice 2.2.4 only ships with a UI for English; UIs for the other 57 languages are freely available in language packs. All versions of Office 2008 are available in Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian, Spanish, and Swedish [2].
‡ NeoOffice 2.2.4 uses the native Mac OS X spell-checker by default. If there is no native spell-checker dictionary available for a language, NeoOffice will fall back to Hunspell dictionaries. An ever-growing number of writing (proofing) tools for many languages are available from the project [3] using the Dictionary wizard (in the File menu, choose Wizards, then "Install new dictionaries..."). Microsoft Office 2008 ships with proofing tools for Danish, Dutch, English (US/UK/AU), Finnish, French (FR/CA), German (DE/CH), Italian, Japanese, Norwegian (NB/NN), Portugese (PT/BR), Spanish and Swedish [4].
** Because includes support for languages and scripts which do not have keyboard layouts in Mac OS X, and because Mac OS X includes system-level Unicode support for many of these languages even though Apple does not ship fonts or keyboards, it is very likely that NeoOffice will support text entry (and perhaps sorting) in the language/script if one installs third-party Unicode fonts and keyboard layouts. See Tom Gewecke's Your Multilingual Mac for more resources. For instance, there is a report that NeoOffice handles Khmer very well, and there has even been a report of using NeoOffice with characters in Unicode Planes 1 and 2.
†† Experimental support; VBA: all macros may not work perfectly; Microsoft Works documents: not all versions of the format are supported, and some formatting may be lost.
‡‡ Microsoft announced the Solver will return to Excel 2008 by September 2008.
*** Mac OS X 10.4 and higher required for video support.

[edit] NeoOffice vs. for Macintosh (X11)

NeoOffice is far more integrated with OS X than the Mac releases of Rather than relying on X11, NeoOffice uses Java and Cocoa to bridge the gap between the interface code and Apple's OS X. for Mac (X11)
Uses your normal Mac fonts (no conversion required)Image:check.pngImage:redX.png
Smooth font display (Quartz anti-aliasing)Image:check.pngImage:redX.png
Allows international keyboards and input methodsImage:check.pngPartial
Switches keyboards and input methods along with your MacImage:check.pngImage:redX.png
Optimized PDF generationImage:check.pngImage:redX.png
Native Aqua menusImage:check.pngImage:redX.png
Native Aqua open & save dialoguesImage:check.pngImage:redX.png
Aqua buttons, checkboxes, and scrollbarsImage:check.pngImage:redX.png
Native floating palettesImage:check.pngImage:redX.png
Aqua-style icon setImage:check.pngImage:redX.png
Native Mac OS X printingImage:check.pngImage:redX.png
Native (styled) copy and paste supportImage:check.pngImage:redX.png
Drag-and-drop between other applicationsImage:check.pngImage:redX.png
Normal Mac keyboard shortcuts (⌘ key)Image:check.pngImage:check.png*
Mouse wheel scrollingImage:check.pngImage:check.png
Support for magnify and swipe gestures on multi-touch trackpadsImage:check.pngImage:redX.png
Integrated with Finder and major mail clientsImage:check.pngPartial†
Spotlight supportImage:check.pngImage:redX.png
Quick Look supportImage:check.pngImage:redX.png
Uses Mac OS X spelling (and grammar, on 10.5) checker and dictionaries for supported languagesImage:check.pngImage:redX.png
Reads from the Mac OS X Address Book as a datasourceImage:check.pngImage:redX.png**
Reads from the Thunderbird Address Book as a datasourceImage:check.pngImage:redX.png
Usable with accessibility tools such as iListen, Proloquo, ViaVoice, and othersImage:check.pngImage:redX.png
Media supportImage:check.png***Image:redX.png
Media browser, providing easy access to iLife images, sounds, and videoImage:check.pngImage:redX.png
Reads and writes files on AFP and SMB volumes and iDisksImage:check.pngPartial††
Support for Microsoft Office 2007 (OpenXML) file formatsImage:check.pngImage:redX.png
Support for linear programming extensions for spreadsheetsImage:check.pngImage:redX.png
Support for Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) macrosImage:check.pngImage:redX.png
Support for Microsoft Works word processing documentsImage:check.pngImage:redX.png codebase (version)‡‡
Runs on Mac OS X 10.3.9, 10.4.11, and 10.5.xImage:check.pngImage:redX.png‡‡
Runs on Intel-based MacsNativelyNatively‡‡
* Available only with certain settings in Apple X11, and the control key may not work as expected.
† Finder integration provided by a small AppleScript wrapper.
‡ NeoOffice includes the NeoLight Spotlight Importer; users of must build and install the importer themselves. On Mac OS X 10.5, Apple includes OpenDocument Text (.odt) files in the file types natively supported by Spotlight and Quick Look.
** This feature was expected in 2.3 but is not present in that release. Presumably it will appear in a future release.
*** Mac OS X 10.4 and higher required for video support.
†† is missing support for iDisk and webdav volumes and also is missing support for using Base .odb files on any remote volume.
‡‡ The official Mac OS X version of is available as separate binary downloads for several languages; builds of 2.4.1 are available in Danish, Dutch, English, German, Portuguese (PT and BR), and Swedish for Intel Macs and in German, Portuguese (BR) and Swedish for PowrPC Macs and run on Mac OS X 10.4.x and higher. To see which version is available for your language and hardware (PPC or Intel), check here. Builds for other languages, or older versions that support more languages, may or may not be available.

[edit] Still To Do

In all fairness, NeoOffice is not perfect. No software is. Along with relatively large RAM requirements (minimum 512 MB, 1 GB or more recommended), there is always room for improvement. NeoOffice can (and will) get better. Take a look at the following comparison:

Feature NeoOffice MS Office 2008 for Mac for Mac (X11)
Non-Mac keyboard shortcuts Some Some Some
Table drawing options Good Very good Good
Aqua look-and-feel Good Full None

[edit] Other Comparisons

Additional feature comparisons between selected office suites and word processors are available at Mellel: Competitive Comparison (; compares Mellel 2.0 with Microsoft Office 2004, 2.0.x, and Nisus Writer Express 2.7, but not NeoOffice) and Word-Alternativen: Der Test (; compares AbiWord 2.4.5, Mellel 2.2, NeoOffice 1.2.2/2.0.3 Aqua Beta, Nisus Writer Express 2.7, and Apple's Pages 2.0.2 [de]).

[edit] Supported File Formats

NeoOffice can read and write a large variety of file formats, both current and legacy. Current and recent Microsoft Office file formats are just some of the import and export possibilities; for a more complete listing, see the NeoOffice File Formats matrix.

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