NeoOffice 3.0 Feature Comparison

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Last updated: 30 March 2009
This article is not up to date, or it needs structural or stylistic changes to conform with the rest of this wiki.

N.B. This page compares NeoOffice 3.0 (a legacy version of NeoOffice) to Aqua 3.0.1 and Microsoft Office 2008. For a comparison between the current versions of NeoOffice, Aqua, 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 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.

NeoOffice vs. Microsoft Office vs Aqua

As an open source project, NeoOffice is free to incorporate useful code from other open source projects that corporate products often cannot use. In turn, this allows NeoOffice to react to needs of its users in ways that others are unable to match.

NeoOffice is also far more integrated with OS X than the Mac releases of Rather than relying on the vision and goals of Sun Microsystems to determine features, NeoOffice includes many features designed specifically for Mac OS X.

Apart from these benefits, NeoOffice 3.0 has features that outshine Microsoft Office and Aqua:

Price, System Compatibility, and Version

Feature NeoOffice 3.0 MS Office 2008 for Mac Aqua 3.0.1
Price (standard edition) $0.00 $399.95 $0.00
Officially available for both PowerPC and Intel-based Macs Image:check.png Image:check.png Image:redX.png*
Universal Binary (single application that works on both PPC and Intel Macs) Image:redX.png Image:check.png Image:redX.png
Runs on Mac OS X 10.4.11 and 10.5.x Image:check.png Image:check.png Image:check.png codebase (version) 3.0.1 N/A 3.0.1
Mac OS X codebase in use since 2003 2001 2008
Bug fixes released Weekly to biwkeekly Every 2 months Every 3 months
* The official Mac OS X version of Aqua 3.0.1 is officially available in English for Intel Macs running Mac OS X 10.4 or higher, and in 20 other language and CPU combinations. To check availability for your language and hardware (PPC or Intel), look here. Unofficial builds, builds for other languages, or older versions that support more languages, may or may not be available.

Mac OS X Integration

Feature NeoOffice 3.0 MS Office 2008 for Mac Aqua 3.0.1
Aqua look-and-feel Good Full Good
Aqua-style icon set Image:check.png Image:check.png Image:redX.png
Non-Mac keyboard shortcuts Some Some Some
Standard Mac keyboard shortcuts for document navigation Image:redX.png ? Some
Option key available as shortcut modifier key Image:redX.png Image:check.png Partial
Native toolbar buttons Image:check.png Image:check.png Image:redX.png
Native context and overflow menus Image:redX.png Image:check.png Image:check.png
Native floating palettes Image:check.png Image:check.png Image:redX.png
Menus available when no document window is open Image:check.png Image:check.png Image:redX.png
Document proxy icon in the titlebar Image:check.png Image:check.png Image:redX.png
Document contents searchable by Spotlight Image:check.png Image:check.png Image:check.png*
Quick Look support Image:check.png Image:check.png Image:redX.png*
High-quality Quick Look previews Image:check.png Image:check.png Image:redX.png
Uses Mac OS X spelling checker and dictionaries for supported languages Image:check.png Image:redX.png Image:check.png
Uses Mac OS X 10.5 grammar checker for supported languages Image:check.png Image:redX.png Image:redX.png
Support for magnify and swipe gestures on multi-touch trackpads Image:check.png Image:redX.png Image:redX.png
Support for using an Apple Remote when displaying presentations Image:check.png ? ?
Media (audio and video) support Image:check.png Image:check.png Image:check.png
Media browser, providing easy access to iLife images, sounds, and video Image:check.png† Image:redX.png(?) Image:redX.png
Image Capture support, for inserting images from scanners and digital cameras Image:check.png ? Image:redX.png
Reads and writes files on AFP and SMB volumes and iDisks Image:check.png Image:check.png Partial†
Native (styled) copy and paste support Image:check.png Image:check.png Image:check.png
Drag-and-drop between other applications Image:check.png Image:check.png Image:check.png
Support for Mac OS X Services Image:check.png‡ Image:check.png(?) Image:redX.png
AppleScript support Image:redX.png Image:check.png Image:redX.png
Integrated with Finder and major mail clients Image:check.png Image:check.png Partial**
Usable with accessibility tools such as iListen, Proloquo, ViaVoice, and others Image:check.png Image:check.png(?) Image:redX.png
Support for the Mac OS X accessibility framework Image:redX.png Image:check.png(?) Image:check.png
Reads from the Mac OS X Address Book as a datasource Image:check.png ? Image:check.png
Reads from the Thunderbird Address Book as a datasource Image:check.png ? Image:redX.png
* NeoOffice includes the NeoLight Spotlight Importer and the NeoPeek Quick Look importer; Aqua also includes a Spotlight importer. On Mac OS X 10.5, Apple includes OpenDocument Text (.odt) files in the file types natively supported by Spotlight and Quick Look.
† is missing support for iDisk and webdav volumes and also is missing support for using Base .odb files on any remote volume.
‡ Read-only Services are supported.
** Aqua is not able to successfully perform all of the "email document" functions listed in its menus.

General Application Features

Feature NeoOffice 3.0 MS Office 2008 for Mac Aqua 3.0.1
Type ahead word-completion (optional), similar to features found in mobile phones Image:check.png Image:redX.png Image:check.png
A logical, safe and suite-wide system for templates, so these are never accidentally updated Image:check.png Image:redX.png Image:check.png
Clean HTML code export (compliant with international web standards) Image:check.png Image:redX.png Image:check.png
Support for international standard ISO 26300 OpenDocument file formats Image:check.png Image:redX.png Image:check.png
Support for Microsoft Office 2007 (OpenXML) file formats Image:check.png* Image:check.png Partial*
Unified User Interface, reducing learning time and costs Image:check.png Image:redX.png Image:check.png
Optimized PDF generation Image:check.png Image:redX.png Image:redX.png
EPS preview and printing Image:check.png Image:check.png(?) Image:redX.png
* NeoOffice includes support for Word 2007 (.docx), Excel 2007 (.xlsx), and PowerPoint 2007 (.pptx) files using code from the odf-converter project. Office 2008 includes native support for reading and writing OpenXML file formats. Aqua includes support for opening these document types but not for saving them.

Internationalization and Localization

Feature NeoOffice 3.0 MS Office 2008 for Mac Aqua 3.0.1
Localized user interface and help files (number of languages) 59* 11* 92*
International spelling checkers 88† 12† 88†
Support for text entry in non-Roman scripts, including South Asian, East Asian, right-to-left and complex text layout scripts Image:check.png Some [1] Image:check.png
Supported scripts or languages:
Arabic Image:check.png Image:redX.png Image:check.png‡
Armenian Image:check.png Image:redX.png Image:check.png
Cyrillic Image:check.png Image:check.png Image:check.png
Cherokee Image:check.png Image:check.png Image:check.png
Chinese (Simplified) Image:check.png Image:check.png Image:check.png
Chinese (Traditional) Image:check.png Image:check.png Image:check.png
Devanagari & Gujarati (Indic languages) Image:check.png Image:redX.png Image:check.png
Greek Image:check.png Image:check.png Image:check.png
Hebrew Image:check.png Image:redX.png Image:check.png
Inuktitut Image:check.png Image:check.png Image:check.png
Japanese Image:check.png Image:check.png Image:check.png
Korean Image:check.png Image:check.png Image:check.png
Roman (Western and Eastern European languages) Image:check.png Image:check.png Image:check.png
Roman (Hawaiian, Northern Sami) Image:check.png Image:check.png Image:check.png
Roman (Vietnamese) Image:check.png Image:redX.png Image:check.png
Tamil Image:check.png Image:check.png Image:check.png
Thai Image:check.png Image:redX.png Image:check.png
Other Likely** Unknown Likely**
* NeoOffice only ships with a UI for English; UIs for the other 58 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]. Aqua 3.0.1 is officially available in English for Intel Macs and 20 other language and CPU combinations, but unofficial versions are available in 93 different single-language builds each for PowerPC and Intel; see this list.
† NeoOffice 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].
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].
‡ Aqua requires manual selection of an appropriate Arabic script font in order to correctly display Arabic text.
** Because the core code 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 and Aqua 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.

Word Processor

Feature NeoOffice 3.0 Writer MS Word 2008 for Mac Aqua Writer 3.0.1
A logical style system that does not invent styles based on your layout choices Image:check.png Image:redX.png Image:check.png
Functional bullet/list numbering Image:check.png Image:redX.png Image:check.png
The ability to import WordPerfect documents Image:check.png* Image:redX.png Image:check.png*
The ability to import Microsoft Works word processing documents Image:check.png† Image:redX.png Image:redX.png
Table drawing options Good Very good Good
* Thanks to the libwpd project.
† Experimental support; not all versions of the format are supported and some formatting may be lost. Thanks to the libwps and ooo-build projects.


Feature NeoOffice 3.0 Calc MS Excel 2008 for Mac Aqua Calc 3.0.1
More conditional layout options for cells Image:check.png Image:redX.png Image:check.png
Style-enabled layout system for text and cells Image:check.png Image:redX.png Image:check.png
Support for linear programming extensions for spreadsheets Image:check.png* Image:check.png† Image:redX.png(?)
Support for Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) macros Image:check.png‡ Image:redX.png Image:redX.png
* Thanks to the ooo-build project.
† Microsoft announced in August 2008 that the Solver is available again as a stand-alone application that is downloadable for free by Excel 12.1.2 users.
‡ Experimental support; all macros may not work perfectly. Thanks to the ooo-build project.


Feature NeoOffice 3.0 Impress MS PowerPoint 2008 for Mac Aqua Impress 3.0.1
The ability to export to Flash animation Image:check.png Image:redX.png Image:check.png
Superior (3D) font art possibilities. Image:check.png Image:redX.png Image:check.png
Support for playing QuickTime-supported audio and video Image:check.png Image:check.png Image:check.png

Performance Comparisons

Comparison of these office suites performing a number of different tasks can be found on the NeoOffice Performance Comparison page.

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.

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.

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]).

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